Feb. 27, 2006
UCLA at Long Beach State - Blair Field, Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., Brian Schroeder, LHP (1-0, 3.14) vs. Shane Peterson, LHP (0-0, 3.86)
Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (5-9) will travel to Long Beach, Calif., to take on the No. 15/16 Long Beach State Dirtbags (9-4) on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. The Bruins are looking to earn a win over the Dirtbags at Blair Field for the first time since 1995.
Cal State Fullerton Recap: UCLA dropped three-straight to the Cal State Fullerton Titans in a home-and-home series this past weekend. The Bruins fell 7-2 on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, before dropping a 3-1 decision at Goodwin Field on Saturday night, and a 12-6 decision to the Titans at Goodwin Field on Sunday.
About the Dirtbags: The Long Beach State Dirtbags enter Tuesday's matchup with a 9-4 overall record, a No. 15 national ranking in the ESPN Coaches Poll, and a No. 16 national ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The Dirtbags have won five of their last six contests, including a three-game sweep of Illinois-Chicago this past weekend at home. Long Beach State is currently 5-0 at Blair Field this season. As a team, the Dirtbags hit .298 (120-403) with 6 home runs, 64 RBI, 70 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 18 attempts. The Dirtbags are led by junior third baseman Evan Longoria who owns a .439 (18-41) batting average with three bombs, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored. The Long Beach State pitching staff boasts a 2.63 team ERA with 61 strikeouts in 113.0 innings pitched, and has held opponents to a .232 batting average. Head Coach Mike Weathers is in his fifth season at the helm of the Dirtbag program.
The Long Beach State-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, UCLA owns a 35-25 series advantage over the Dirtbags. The Bruins dropped a 2-1 decision to Long Beach State in the teams' only meeting last season at Blair Field on April 5. The Bruins are winless at Blair Field since beating the Dirtbags 5-2 in 1995. Long Beach State has won five of the last seven meetings in this series since 2002.
Get Ready For A Close One: UCLA and Long Beach State have played some very close ball games at Blair Field over the last four seasons. Unfortunately, the Bruins have been on the losing end of the stick each time. The Bruins lost to the Dirtbags at Blair Field 4-3 in 2002, 2-0 in 2003, 2-1 in 2004, and 2-1 last season.
Fresh Faces No More: The UCLA freshmen are gaining valuable playing experience against some of the best competition in the nation. A season-high six freshmen (Curtis 3B, Crawford SS, Murray 2B, Decker 1B, Babineau C, Dunlap DH) were in the starting lineup against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, and eight total freshmen saw playing time in that game. So far this season, seven different freshmen position players have made a total of 52 combined starts in the lineup.
A Tale of Two Teams: As obvious as it may seem, there are some major statistical differences between UCLA's performance when winning ball games in comparison to when the Bruins lose. In the five games that UCLA has won so far this season, the Bruins are batting .302 (49-162) as a team, with a 1.60 team ERA. In the nine games UCLA has lost, the Bruins are batting .232 as a team (67-289), with a team ERA of 4.96.
Throwing The Club Head: Freshman Cody Decker showed his power at the plate versus the Titans on Sunday. Coming into the game, Decker was 0-7 to open his collegiate career and in search of his first career hit. Decker wasted no time against Cal State Fullerton in the start at first base, as he smoked a line-drive single to left center field in his first at bat of the game. Decker would then hit a solo bomb over the left center field wall in the eighth inning for his first career home run.
Got `Er Done: Along with Decker, two other Bruins collected the first collegiate hits in their careers on Sunday against Cal State Fullerton. Sophomore Sam Ray laced a pinch-hit single to right field for his first career hit in the seventh inning, and freshman Eddie Murray collected his first hit on a RBI double down the left field line in the eighth inning to get into the books.
Start Another One: Freshman shortstop Brandon Crawford saw his team-best 11-game hitting streak come to an end on Sunday in a 0-for-5 performance against the Titans. However, Crawford leads the team in hits with 18, triples (3), stolen bases (3), and is fourth on the team with a .340 batting average. Crawford has collected a hit in 12 of the Bruins' 14 games this season.
Stormin' Norman: Senior Anthony Norman continued his hot streak this past week with solid performances in the Bruins' four games. For the week, Norman hit .462 with a team-high six hits, two doubles, a triple, a RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. On the season, Norman is batting .429 (9-21).
Taking A Dose: UCLA is very good at staying in the box and taking one for the team. In 14 games this season, the Bruins have been hit by a pitch 21 times. Senior Sean Smith leads the team with four doses. In comparison, opponents have only tallied eight hit by pitches during that span.
Huffin' and Puffin': Junior Dave Huff has been a constant competitor for the Bruins on the mound as a starter. Huff currently ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 in innings pitched with 30.0, second in the conference with 33 strikeouts, and sixth in the Pac-10 with a 2.10 ERA.
Bring It: This season, UCLA isn't backing down from anyone which shows in the toughness of its schedule. The Bruins are set to play 32 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last season, with 11 teams listed in this year's preseason top-25 rankings.
UCLA will take on 12 teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last year (Miami, Pepperdine, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, NC State, Ole Miss, UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Stanford, and Oregon State), and will have 18 games during the season against NCAA Super Regional participants (Miami, Cal State Fullerton, Ole Miss, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State).
The Bruins' tough schedule was noted with the No. 1 strength of schedule nod by Boyd's World, a baseball statistics internet site.
Up Next: The Bruins will travel to Raleigh, N.C., for a three-game series with North Carolina State beginning Friday, March 3.