April 6, 2005
UCLA Bruins (7-18, 0-3) at USC Trojans (18-9, 3-3)
Friday-Sunday, April 8-10, 2005 - Dedeaux Field - 7/2/1 PM
Games No. 26, 27, 28
Projected Starters vs. USC
LF Will Penniall (5-11, 180, S/R, So.)
1B Brett McMillan (6-5, 225, L/R, Jr.)
2B Sean Carpenter (6-0, 170, R/R, Jr.)
DH Hector Ambriz (6-2, 210, L/R, So.)
3B Eric Taylor (6-1, 200, R/R, Sr.)
C Chris Denove (6-1, 200, R/R, Jr.)
RF Anthony Norman (6-0, 180, L/L, Jr.)
CF Jarrad Page (6-0, 200, S/R, So.)
SS Tommy Lansdon (6-0, 165, R/R/ So.)
Pitching - UCLA USC Fri. Brian Schroeder (0-2, 5.16 ERA) Ian Kennedy (4-1, 3.59 ERA) Sat. Hector Ambriz (2-2, 2.88 ERA) Jack Spradlin (2-1, 4.09 ERA) Sun. Bryan Beck (0-5, 5.35 ERA) Zack Kalter (2-2, 1.88 ERA)
Leading Off: After dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to No. 13 Long Beach State in non-conference action on Tuesday, UCLA returns to Pac-10 play against arch-rival USC this weekend at Dedeaux Field. The winner of the three-game Pac-10 series will be awarded five Lexus Gauntlet Trophy points. The streaking Bruins have not won since a February 25, 9-0 shutout over Pacific. In that span, the Bruins have been ousted by eight different teams and hold a collective team batting average of .242 while the piching staff has posted an ERA of 7.67. Head Coach John Savage will be facing his former team for the first time as a Bruin.
This Week on TV/Radio: Saturday's contest will be televised live by FSN West with UCLA Magazine host Bill MacDonald and former Trojan and minor leaguer John Jackson in the booth. The telecast marks the only scheduled televised game for the Bruins this season. For those unable to tune into the telecast, all three of this weekend's games will be broadcast live over the internet on uclaBruins.com with Danny Lee and Darren Preston on the call. As a third resort, fans and media can follow all the action live via College Sports' GameTracker through UCLA's official athletic website, uclaBruins.com.
A Look at Last Week: Arizona pitchers held UCLA to a collective .185 batting average last weekend as the Wildcats swept a three-game Pac-10 series from the Bruins by scores of 8-4, 11-0 and 12-2. Jordan Brown's go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning on Friday night spoiled an otherwise solid outing by senior right-hander Bryan Beck. The Bruins led 4-2 heading into the game's final three frames but Arizona outscored UCLA 6-0 from the seventh inning on in the the opener. On Saturday, Arizona's Kevin Guyette tossed a masterful one-hit, complete game shutout as the Wildcats rolled over the Bruins 11-0. Tommy Lansdon picked up UCLA's only hit in the second inning. In the finale, Arizona reliever Eric Berger tossed a nearly perfect final 5.2 innings, facing just one batter over the minimum in that span, as the `Cats rolled to a 12-2 win. In Tuesday's non-conference loss to Long Beach State, the Bruins fell victim to two infield singles and two sacrifices in the bottom of the ninth as the Dirtbags narrowly slid by UCLA 2-1 at Blair Field.
Breakin' Down the Battle for L.A.: Not since 1971 have UCLA and USC met for just a single three-game series, but this season that's just the case. The Bruins and Trojans will face off for the only three games between the two schools this weekend as Pac-10 play continues. USC holds a 108-242 all time advantage over the Bruins dating back to the teams' first meeting in 1928. In 2004, however, UCLA won its first Pac-10 series from USC since 2000 with a dramatic come-from-behind 13-12 win in the finale at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Schroeder vs. USC: Brian Schroeder, UCLA's scheduled Friday starter, is 0-0 against the Trojans in 5.0 career innings pitched and has posted an impressive 1.80 ERA.
Beck vs. USC: Bryan Beck is 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings against the Trojans. Beck started twice against USC in 2004 and was most effective on March 27, allowing just one run on four hits over 5.1 innings.
At the plate vs. USC: Historically, the Bruins have fared well against the Trojans over the last few years. UCLA captains Chris Denove and Brett McMillan are hitting .298 and .302 respectively against USC in their careers. Last year, McMillan drove in five RBI in six games against USC.
Bruins vs. Ian Kennedy: While most teams have struggled against USC's pre-season All-American right-hander Ian Kennedy, UCLA has actually fared quite well. Last season, UCLA hit .308 against the then-freshman. Anthony Norman led the way with a .667 clip (2-for-3) while Jarrad Page hit .333 (2-for-6).
Bruins vs. Spradlin and Kalter: UCLA has never faced Jack Spradlin or Zack Kalter.
Bullpen Blues: While opponents' bullpens have posted a measly 2.73 ERA against UCLA this season, the Bruins' relief core has not faired so well. Bruins out of the bullpen have posted a 6.73 ERA against a 4.72 ERA by UCLA starters. However, Bruin relievers have been on call quite a bit this season, averaging over 3.2 innings of work per game.
No Repeat: The last time UCLA opened Pac-10 play with a sub-.500 record was in 2002. In that season, UCLA entered conference action against California with a 13-17 mark and ultimately finished 26-35 (9-15).
Hector's High Honors: All-America candidate Hector Ambriz has lived up to his billing so far this season. The sophomore, one of several players added to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List in March, is leading UCLA on the mound and at the plate. Ambriz is batting .363 with 29 hits and has posted an equally impressive 2.88 ERA through eight starts. He is averaging six innings per start while also contributing six multi-hit games at the plate. His .474 on-base percentage also tops the squad.
Will the Thrill: UCLA had no clear lead off hitter entering the season but sophomore Will Penniall has accepted the role with open arms. The left fielder is hitting .333, leads the team with three triples and has reached base in 19 of 41 lead off at-bats (.463). The sophomore from La Canada also leads the Bruins with ten stolens bases in 11 attempts. Penniall has also displayed finesse in left field as he has posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 40 putouts through 24 games played. Penniall also leads the team with ten multi hit games.
B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 17 RBI. The interesting part about that number is that 12 of those RBI have come from just three games. McMillan has posted an uprecedented three, four-RBI performances with half of the season left to play. McMillan first did it against Cal State Northridge on February 13 and then blasted grand slams against Pacific (2/25) and Texas A&M (3/11).
Crowd Pleasers: UCLA is averaging 1,466 fans through its first 25 games (home and road). In comparison after 24 games in 2004, UCLA was averaging just 427 fans (home and road).
Early Birds: The Bruins have scored in the first inning in 11 of 25 games this season and have posted a total 22 runs in that first frame. In fact, UCLA is outscoring its opponents 52-37 in the first three innings but then begin to fall off. From the fourth inning on, UCLA is being outscored 120-66 including a 42-16 disparity in the fifth inning alone.
Savage and Gillespie: Bruin Head Coach John Savage has come full circle in the UCLA - USC rivalry. After beginning his collegiate coaching career at the University of Nevada in 1992, Savage joined the Trojan coaching staff under Mike Gillespire in 1997 and helped guid USC to a national title in 1998. Then in 2001, Savage took over as head coach at UC Irvine. In three years with the Anteaters, Savage was 2-4 against USC. This weekend's game will mark the first time Savage has faced the Trojans as a Bruin.