March 7, 2007
No. 23 UCLA (7-7) will face No. 16 Mississippi (11-4) in a three-game series beginning Friday, March 9 at 4:30 p.m. (PT). The Bruins and Rebels resume play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (PT) before concluding the series Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT). Mississippi has posted an 11-4 record after having defeated Austin Peay on Tuesday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 7.
The Rebels played six games between the Bruins' most recent game (Feb. 25) and the opener of the UCLA-Ole Miss series. All three games can be followed via CSTV's GameTracker at the UCLA athletics website (uclabruins.com).
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS (2007 STATS)
Friday - UCLA's Tyson Brummett (RHP) vs. UM's Will Kline (RHP)
Saturday - UCLA - TBD vs. UM's - Lance Lynn (RHP)
Sunday - UCLA's Gavin Brooks (LHP) vs. UM's Brett Bukvich (LHP)
A LOOK BACK
Last season, UCLA took two of three games from the Rebels. Junior Hector Ambriz allowed just one run off three hits in 8.0 innings to lead UCLA past Ole Miss, 9-2 in last season's Friday evening opening contest. The following afternoon, the Rebels edged the Bruins, 6-5, as senior Brett McMillan finished 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. In Sunday's series finale, then-junior Tyson Brummett allowed three runs off six hits through 7.0 innings to lead UCLA past Ole Miss, 6-4. The Bruins own a 3-1 advantage in the lifetime series between the two schools (UCLA defeated Ole Miss, 5-2, on April 4, 1969).
BRUMMETT NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK
One week ago, senior right-hander Tyson Brummett (3-1) earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing his second complete game in as many outings on Friday, Feb. 23. Brummett recorded 10 strikeouts to lead UCLA past Cal State Fullerton, 6-2, at Goodwin Field. The highly-anticipated pitching duel featured 22 strikeouts between Brummett and Titan right-hander Wes Roemer. Brummett has pitched into the eighth inning in each of his four starts this season and boasts a 1.34 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched.
BRUINS DROP TWO
After winning 6-2 in Friday evening's game at Cal State Fullerton, the Bruins fell to the Titans, 7-4 and 7-2 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Senior right-hander Tyson Brummett pitched his second complete game of the season to lead UCLA past Cal State Fullerton, 6-2. The Bruins fell behind 6-0 on Saturday, rallied to make the score 6-4 and ended up losing, 7-4. Junior Alden Carrithers and sophomore Brandon Crawford each hit 3-for-5 in game two. The following afternoon, the Bruins' offense managed just two runs off seven hits to lose the rubber game, 7-2, at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Senior right-hander Tyson Brummett and senior outfielder Will Penniall have been UCLA's best players on the road this season. In two road starts (at Miami, Feb. 9 and at Cal State Fullerton, Feb. 23), Brummett has tallied a 1.62 ERA and a 1-1 record. In 16.2 innings pitched, the Salem, Utah, native has struck out 18 batters while issuing just five walks. Opponents are hitting a mere .145 off Brummett in their own ballpark. Penniall has played in four of UCLA's five road contests and boasts a .313 average (5-for-16). The switch-hitting outfielder has stolen two bases and knocked in two RBI.
CARRITHERS IN THE CLUTCH
Junior Alden Carrithers has performed well in clutch situations this season. The transfer from UC Santa Barbara not only boasts a .373 batting average (second-best on the club) but has also tallied a .474 (9-for-19) mark with runners on-base. A talented second baseman, Carrithers is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with runners in scoring position and .833 (5-for-6) with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Last season, Carrithers earned All-Big West second-team accolades at second base and led the Gauchos in batting average (.342), runs scored (60), walks (45) and on-base percentage (.465).
CRAWFORD LEADS THE WAY
Sophomore Brandon Crawford leads the Bruins' offense in multiple categories, including hits (22), RBI (16), total bases (36), slugging percentage (.667), stolen bases (6) and on-base percentage (.484). Crawford earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 12-18, when the Bruins posted a 4-0 record with a sweep of East Carolina and a Tuesday night victory against UC Riverside.
According to Boyd's World, a national strength of schedule ranking service, UCLA faces the third-most difficult schedule in the nation this season. The Bruins play 20 games against teams ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-25 poll. Likewise, 50 of UCLA's 56 regular-season games are against teams either ranked in or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball's preseason "Fabulous 40" poll.
WHAT'S NEXT - LONG BEACH STATE, SAN DIEGO STATE
Following UCLA's three-game road trip at Ole Miss, the Bruins will return home to play Long Beach State on Tuesday, March 13. First pitch at Jackie Robinson Stadium is set for 6 p.m. The Bruins dropped a 14-1 decision to Long Beach State at Blair Field on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Following the March 13 game versus the Dirtbags, UCLA hits the road to play a three-game series at San Diego State (March 16-18). Last season, the Bruins swept the Aztecs in three games at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA outscored San Diego State 35-9 in the series (March 17-19).
WORTH EVERY PENNY
Senior Will Penniall has sparked the UCLA lineup since opening day and currently boasts a .343 batting average, the third-best mark on the team. The La Cañada, Calif., native delivered a clutch pinch-hit double with two outs in the bottom of the eighth in the season opener (Feb. 2). Penniall's double led to a dropped fly ball by Winthrop second baseman Phil Carey, off the bat of Ryan Babineau, and carried the Bruins to victory. Since opening night, Penniall has collected four multi-hit games, scored five runs and stolen two bases.
BLACK AND BLUE
Senior first baseman Tim Stewart has been hit by a pitch seven times in 14 games this season. The former Mater Dei High School slugger was hit once in game two of the Winthrop series and two more times the following afternoon. Stewart reached first base via a hit-by-pitch on Feb. 9 at Miami and once more in the series finale versus the Hurricanes. Against East Carolina, he was plunked on Friday (Feb. 16) and Sunday (Feb. 18).
WALLACE WATCH LIST
Sophomore shortstop Brandon Crawford has been named to the 2007 Wallace Watch List, the College Baseball Foundation announced in November. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Crawford joins nine other Pac-10 baseball players on the 2007 Wallace Watch List. The list of 148 ballplayers will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May. The selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals.
WHO'S THAT MASKED MAN?
Sophomore catcher Ryan Babineau has shown off his arm through UCLA's first 14 games. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. resident has thrown out five of 12 attempted base stealers. Babineau has thrown out 20 of 49 attempted base stealers in his career at UCLA (41.6 percent). A freshman All-America selection by Baseball America in 2006, Babineau has not committed an error in 547 career chances (480 putouts, 67 assists). Last year, he caught 56 of the Bruins' 58 games and helped lead the pitching staff to the second-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 (3.77).
HE'S A NIGHT OWL
While UCLA is hitting just .250 in night games this season, sophomore shortstop Brandon Crawford has excelled under the lights. Through eight night contests, Crawford has posted a .448 batting average (13-for-29) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI. During the day, the Pleasanton, Calif., native is hitting .360 with nine hits in 25 at-bats.
HOME SWEET HOME
Through 13 regular-season games, the Bruins have tallied a 6-3 mark at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA took two of three games from No. 23 Winthrop to open the season (Feb. 2-4), picked up a Tuesday evening victory against UC Riverside (Feb. 13) and swept East Carolina last weekend (Feb. 16-18). The Bruins' three losses at home came on Saturday, Feb. 3 against Winthrop, 6-4 and versus Cal State Fullerton on by scores of 7-4 (Feb. 24) and 7-2 (Feb. 25). Last season, UCLA recorded a 19-12 mark at home. The Bruins have 21 home games remaining.
IN THE POLLS
UCLA has been ranked No. 23 by Baseball America in its March 5 poll. The Bruins began the season ranked No. 13 by Baseball America and have been ranked as high as No. 11 by the prestigious national publication.
BIG LEAGUE BRUINS
With spring training in full swing, nine former UCLA ballplayers have earned a spot on an MLB 40-man roster. Garrett Atkins (Colorado), Eric Byrnes (Arizona), Jeff Conine (Cincinnati), Ben Francisco (Cleveland), Troy Glaus (Toronto), Casey Janssen (Toronto), Adam Melhuse (Oakland), Dave Roberts (San Francisco) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia) will report to their respective teams training facilities as a member of the 40-man roster. Left-hander Jim Parque, who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2003, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners on Feb. 2.
Freshman pitcher Charles Brewer has been medically cleared to play - he missed the first four weeks of the season with an illness. Sophomore Blair Dunlap and freshman Jeff Rapoport are unavailable to play due to shoulder injuries. Senior Nolan Rouse suffered an arm injury against Cal State Fullerton and will not play at Ole Miss this weekend.
PAC-10 COACHES PICK UCLA FOURTH
UCLA was selected fourth in the Pac-10 Conference's preseason coaches poll. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona State, Oregon State, and Stanford, respectively. Last season, UCLA was selected eighth in the preseason poll and finished third in the Pac-10 with a 13-10 conference mark (33-25 overall).
ON THE FARM
Five former Bruins were rated as the top prospects in their respective MLB organizations. Dave Huff, last season's ace, has been ranked the No. 10 prospect in Cleveland's organization. Hector Ambriz, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2003, 2005-06), has been tabbed the No. 22 prospect in Arizona's farm system. Wes Whisler, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2002-04), is rated the No. 29 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organzation. Ben Francisco (2001-02) and Paul Oseguera (2005-06) have each earned honorable mention prospect accolades (Cleveland and San Francisco, respectively).
TOP OF THE ORDER
The first, second and third spots in UCLA's batting lineup have produced the most for the Bruins this season. Primarily anchored by junior Alden Carrithers, sophomore Brandon Crawford and senior Tim Stewart, UCLA's 1-3 hitters have recorded a .319 average. The Bruins' leadoff spot has been the most productive, posting a .328 average with six doubles and 10 RBI through the first 14 games. The second and third slots have amassed a .492 and .491 slugging percentage, respectively.
CRAWFO-RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Sophomore Brandon Crawford spent his summer playing for the U.S. National Team and helped lead Team USA to the FISU (International University Sports Federation) World Championship after the club posted a 28-2-1 overall mark. Crawford played in 23 games, starting 10, and hit .257 (9-for-35). He collected two doubles, six RBI, seven runs, three walks and one stolen base.
NOW THAT'S TIMELY HITTING
Four of UCLA's seven home runs have either given the Bruins the lead or tied the game. Brandon Crawford's solo home run at Miami (Feb. 10) put the Bruins ahead, 7-6, in the top of the ninth and gave UCLA its first lead of the game. Justin Uribe's solo blast the following day in Coral Gables, Fla., deadlocked the contest in the eighth inning, 3-3. In game two versus East Carolina, Cody Decker sent a two-run homer over the left-field wall to give UCLA a 2-1 lead in the second inning. Later that afternoon, Crawford belted a two-out grand slam to put the Bruins ahead 9-7.
COAST TO COAST
The 2007 schedule features games in three contentinal U.S. time zones - Pacific, Central (at Mississippi) and Eastern (at Miami). Overall, the Bruins will play at 13 different ballparks during the regular season, including Jackie Robinson Stadium. Aside from the trip to Coral Gables, Fla., and games at Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton, UCLA will play at Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.), San Diego State, Stanford (Palo Alto, Calif.), USC, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Pepperdine (Malibu, Calif.), Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.) and Washington State (Pullman, Wash.).
SEVEN MORE YEARS
Former Bruin Chase Utley signed a seven-year, $85 million contract extension through 2013 with the Phillies, the ballclub announced Sunday, Jan. 21. Utley, who broke into the major leagues in 2003 after Philadelphia drafted the second baseman as the second overall selection in the 2000 MLB Draft, finished his three-year career at UCLA with a .342 average, 41 doubles, four triples, 53 home runs and 174 RBI. Utley ranks fourth on UCLA's career HR list (53) and fifth on the all-time hits list (256).
STAYING IN THE GOLDEN STATE
When the Bruins return to Los Angeles from Oxford, Miss., they will play their next 30 games in California (18 home, 12 road). Over that 30-game span, UCLA will host Long Beach State (1), Pacific (3), Washington (3), Pepperdine (1), Cal State Northridge (3), Arizona (3) and California (3). In-state road games will include San Diego State (3), Stanford (3), USC (3), UC Riverside (1), UC Irvine (1) and Pepperdine (1). The Bruins will not leave California until they play at Arizona State from May 11-13.