Right-handed pitcher David Berg did not come to terms with the Texas Rangers after being selected by the club in the 17th round and will return to Westwood for his senior season.
“We are excited to have David back for his senior year," head coach John Savage said. "He is one of the premier closers in all of college baseball and was a key ingredient to our National Championship run in 2013. To have him back for one more season is special. His presence, work ethic and leadership will be a continued staple in our program. We believe he will have a long successful professional playing career after he graduates from UCLA.”
Berg has enjoyed as fine a career as any reliever in the history of college baseball, making a school record 132 career appearances while recording a UCLA record 36 saves. He also owns the NCAA single-season record for saves with 24 in 2013 and tied the NCAA record for most appearances in a season with 51 last year. The 2013 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and 2013 consensus first-team All-American, Berg is the only pitcher in UCLA history to lead the conference in ERA in back-to-back seasons and this season led the Bruins with a 1.50 ERA and 11 saves in 31 relief appearances. In addition, he posted a 3-2 record with 35 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched. Finally, Berg has been named to the All-Pac-12 team three times, joining Garrett Atkins (1998-2000), Trevor Bauer (2009-11), Dennis Delany (1976-78) and Adam Plutko (2011-13) as the only UCLA players to earn All-Conference acclaim in three straight years. He will enter the 2015 season with a career record of 15-5 and a 1.26 ERA.
Meanwhile, three UCLA ballplayers agreed to terms with their respective major league organizations after being taken in the 2014 MLB Draft and will forego their remaining college eligibility. Juniors Shane Zeile (5th round - Tigers) and Max Schuh (7th round - Orioles) and sophomore Jake Ehret (14th round - Reds) all signed professional contracts with their respective clubs.
Zeile started all 56 games for the Bruins this past season on his way to earning All-Pac-12 honors. He batted a team-leading .324 with 25 runs, nine doubles, three triples, two home runs, 28 RBI and five stolen bases, leading the team in hits (70), slugging percentage (.421), on-base percentage (.401), RBI (28) and walks (21, tied with Trent Chatterton) as well. Zeile also had a team-high 21 multi-hit games and recorded five multi-RBI games, all while logging at least one hit in 42 of his 56 games played. Finally, Zeile was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given out to the top collegiate catcher, and behind the plate he threw out 18 of 43 attempted base stealers, tied for the most in the Pac-12.
In three seasons at UCLA, Zeile hit .289 with 58 RBI, helping lead the Bruins to their first NCAA title in program history in 2013. He played in 61 of UCLA's 66 games that season, serving as the team's starting catcher. Zeile has started his Minor League career in the Gulf Coast Rookie League with the GCL Tigers.
Schuh appeared in a Pac-12 leading 37 games in 2014, all in relief. He posted an 0-1 record with a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings pitched, striking out 34 batters as well. Schuh also did not allow an earned run for 22 consecutive appearances from March 7 to April 29 during last season. After joining the baseball team in 2013, Schuh made 49 relief appearances in two seasons, posting a 1.44 ERA and 36 strikeouts. He will begin his Minor League career in Single-A, short-season with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League.
Ehret made 23 appearances in relief in 2014 while serving primarily as a late-inning setup man. He went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings pitched, striking out 15 batters as well. Ehret is the fourth UCLA player to sign with the Reds in the last three seasons, joining former teammates Jeff Gelalich, Beau Amaral and Zack Weiss, and has begun his Minor League career with the AZL Reds of the Arizona Rookie League. In three seasons at UCLA, Ehret went 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA.