March 1, 2006
UCLA at NC State - Doak Field, Friday, March 3 at 4 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (1-3, 4.70) vs. Eryk McConnell, RHP (3-1, 2.86)
UCLA at NC State - Doak Field, Saturday, March 4 at 1 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (1-2, 2.10) vs. Gib Hobson, RHP (4-0, 2.86)
UCLA at NC State - Doak Field, Saturday, March 5 at 1 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (1-3, 5.82) vs. Jason Duncan, LHP (3-0, 3.18)
Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (6-9) will travel 2,550 miles to Raleigh, N.C., for a three-game series with the No. 17/18 NC State Wolfpack (13-1) beginning Friday, March 3 at Doak Field. The Bruins and the Wolfpack will meet for only the second time in series history.
Long Beach State Recap: The Bruins ended a three-game skid with a solid 6-3 win at No. 15 Long Beach State on Tuesday night. Freshman Cody Decker went 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run, and junior Brian Schroeder (2-0) went 7.0 innings in the start with two strikeouts giving up three runs on four hits to earn the win.
About the Wolfpack: The North Carolina State Wolfpack enters this weekend's matchup with some eye-popping numbers. NC State is 13-1 on the season, and is ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Baseball America. The Wolfpack is a perfect 8-0 at home at Doak Field, and has won seven-straight games. NC State's only loss this season was to Nebraska (4-3) on Feb. 17 in Charleston, S.C. The Wolfpack has scored in double-digits nine times this season, including marks of 20 runs or better on two different occasions. As a team, NC State bats .387 (195-504) at the plate with 16 home runs, 42 doubles, 152 RBI, 171 runs scored, a slugging percentage of .585, an on-base percentage of .498, and 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts. NC State is led by sophomore Matt Mangini who hits .673 (37-55) with four home runs, 30 RBI, and 20 runs scored. The Wolfpack pitching staff owns a 2.86 team ERA with 108 strikeouts in 126.0 innings pitched, while holding opponents to a .238 batting average. Head Coach Elliott Avent is in his 10th season at the helm of the Wolfpack program.
The NC State-UCLA Series: Entering this weekend's matchup, the Bruins and the Wolfpack have only meet one other time on the diamond in the history of the two schools, with UCLA holding a 2-1 series advantage. NC State made a visit to Jackie Robinson Stadium in 2003 for a three-game series, losing two games to the Bruins (8-6, 12-5), before taking the final game (9-6).
Game Time Changed: If you pay close attention to uclabruins.com, you should have noticed that Saturday's game time has been changed from a 7 p.m. start to a 1 p.m. go time. NC State changed Saturday's game time in anticipation of a cold front that is supposed to roll in Saturday night, adding another element the Bruins will have to play through this season to go along with fog and rain.
Road Warriors: UCLA is in the middle of a season-long eight-game road swing. The Bruins have traveled to local rivals Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, will travel to NC State this weekend, and to Pepperdine to take on the Waves on March 7. Ironically, if UCLA traveled from Westwood to Fullerton to Long Beach to Malibu back to Westwood in one day, the trip would equal 120 miles - only 2 percent of the 5,100 mile trip the Bruins will make from Westwood to Raleigh, N.C., and back.
No Cupcakes: UCLA has thrown blows with some of the best competition in the nation. When the Bruins take on NC State this weekend, they will be playing against their fourth-consecutive ranked opponent. Five of the seven teams UCLA has played this season have been ranked, and the Bruins have managed to post three wins against ranked opposition.
Home Wreckers: The Bruins did something on Tuesday night that no UCLA team has done in 11 years - beat Long Beach State at Blair Field. Not only was it the Bruins' first win over the Dirtbags at Blair Field since 1995, it was also No. 15 Long Beach State's first home loss of the season after winning five-straight. UCLA will have another chance to hand another ranked team its first home loss of the season as NC State enters this weekend with a perfect 8-0 home mark.
Get Used To It: For the second-straight game, six freshmen (Curtis 3B, Crawford SS, Murray 2B, Decker 1B, Babineau C, Dunlap DH) made it into the starting lineup Tuesday. So far this season, seven different freshmen position players have made a total of 58 combined starts in the lineup.
Throwing The Club Head: Freshman Cody Decker has broken out of a 0-7 start in a huge way. In the last two games as the starting first baseman for the Bruins, Decker is hitting .500 (4-8) with a team-leading two home runs, 3 RBI, 3 runs scored, and a slugging percentage of 1.250. Decker became the first Bruin this season to hit home runs in back-to-back games, and was the first Long Beach State opponent to hit a jack at Blair Field this season.
Back At It: 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 - big deal. Crawford responded with a 2-for-5 performance on Tuesday against the Dirtbags with a RBI double and a run scored. Crawford leads the team with six multi-hit games, and has recorded a hit in 13 of the Bruins' 15 games. On the season, Crawford is second on the squad with a .345 batting average and leads the team with 20 hits.
Mr. Tuesday: Junior Brian Schroeder has proven to be a very valuable commodity in the UCLA pitching rotation. As the Bruins' Tuesday starter, Schroeder is 2-0 in three starts with a 2.45 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 18 innings, becoming the first Bruin to win multiple games this season.
Taking A Dose: UCLA is very good at staying in the box and taking one for the team. In 15 games this season, the Bruins have been hit by a pitch 22 times. Senior Sean Smith leads the team with four doses, with three other players (Ambriz, Murphy, Murray) getting hit three times. In comparison, opponents have only tallied nine 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 return to California for a matchup at Pepperdine on Tuesday, March 7. UCLA will then host Ole Miss for a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium begging Friday, March 10.