No decision in college baseball might have been more important than David Berg's decision to return to UCLA for his senior year and not sign with the Texas Rangers after being a 17th-round draft pick.
As Bruins Coach John Savage said when the 2 p.m. signing deadline had passed on Friday, "To have him back for one more season is special."
What it means is Berg, a closer who set an NCAA single-season record in 2013 with 24 saves during UCLA’s NCAA championship season, will give a major boost to the Bruins’ chances of returning to the NCAA playoffs after missing last season’s tournament because of a series of injuries.
Berg, who has a sidearm delivery, is invaluable in the bullpen, because he can throw almost every day during a weekend series. He started off at UCLA as a walk-on from La Puente Bishop Amat but immediately became a key contributor. He was hampered this past season by a strained bicep muscle and took the summer off from pitching.
"If the Rangers had offered me what I was looking for, I could have changed my mind," Berg said. "The thought process was four years ago, when I was making my decision to go to UCLA, it was a golden opportunity to pitch under Coach Savage. To be able to get a degree from UCLA, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm glad to be back for my teammates."