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UCLA Inclined to Like Its Third Baseman

Scott Cline didn’t know how much he would play for the UCLA baseball team this season, so he set modest goals.

“I was hoping for about 50 at-bats,” said the freshman, a former Camarillo High player.

Cline got his 50 at-bats. Plus 109 more.

The 19-year-old became the Bruins’ starting third baseman early in the year and finished the regular season batting .295 with 5 home runs and 27 runs batted in. In conference play, Cline hit .323. He was also named the Bruins’ top defensive player.

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Said UCLA Coach Gary Adams: “We would not be where we are right now without Scott Cline.”

Where the Bruins are is the NCAA West Regional Tournament, which begins today at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA (39-21) plays Hawaii (41-22) at 3:30 p.m. in the opening round of the four-team, double-elimination tournament. The winner goes to the College World Series.

“It’s been great for me,” Cline said. “I don’t feel like a freshman anymore because I’ve played all year.”

The transition from high school to college has gone smoothly in the field and the classroom. An economics major, Cline has a 3.3 grade-point average.

“The main thing I’ve learned is you have to take the ups with the downs,” he said. “You’ll have your 4-for-4 days, but you’ll also have your 0-for-4 days.”

Cline’s batting average suffered at the end of the season when he bruised a bone in his thumb on his right hand. Still, his season has left him satisfied. “I’ve impressed myself a little bit,” he said.

At Camarillo, Cline quarterbacked the football team to the Southern Section’s Coastal Conference title in 1984. He also led the baseball team in the 4-A Division finals, losing to Fountain Valley, 3-2.

Because he received no scholarship offers in football, the 6-1, 185-pound Cline decided his future was in baseball.

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He said he misses football, but, “I’m happy with the choice of baseball.”

So are the Bruins.


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