May 26, 2005
Leading Off: The 2005 season winds to a close this weekend as the Bruins (15-38, 4-7) play host to the Wahington Huskies for the final three games of the campaign. Washington brings an overall record of 30-22 and a Pac-10 mark of 9-12 into the three-game set. Last weekend UCLA posted its first Pac-10 series win this season by taking two of three from Washington State by scores of 4-3, 7-10 and 4-1. However the Bruins slipped two days later in a 3-2 loss to non-conference foe UC Riverside on Tuesday. Six UCLA seniors will be making their final appearances at Jackie Robinson Stadium this Sunday and will be honored during a pre-game ceremony.
This Week In the Media: All the action this weekend can be followed on GameTracker or through a live audio broadcast on uclaBruins.com.
Saying Goodbye: Westwood will say goodbye to six UCLA seniors this Sunday at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Manager Alex Kocol along with players Jonathan Medici, Aaron Markel, Daniel Reid, Bryan Beck and Matt Sharp will be honored in a short pre-game ceremony prior to Sunday's season finale.
On the Bump: UCLA will throw ace right-hander Hector Ambriz (3-6, 3.77) to the mound on Friday, followed by southpaw Brian Schroeder (4-6, 4.68) on Saturday and senior right-hander Bryan Beck (1-10, 5.57) on Sunday.
Fighting the Good Fight: BoydsWorld.com, a statistics-based college baseball website, currently ranks UCLA's 2005 strength of schedule as the toughest in the country. The Bruins have played 18 of their 53 games against top 25 teams. The site also lists the Pac-10 Conference third in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) and fourth in Psuedo-RPI. UCLA's 2006 schedule will not get any easier as the Bruins are slated to play weekend series against the likes of Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Miami, Mississippi and North Carolina State along with Pac-10 opponents such as Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Oregon State.
Last Weekend at Washington State: Behind lefty Brian Schroeder's complete game six-hitter on Sunday, UCLA earned its first Pac-10 series win last weekend by taking two of three from Washington State in Pullman. UCLA edged by the Cougars on Friday night, 4-3, handing right-handed ace Hector Ambriz his first win in nearly three months. Freshman pinch-hitter Mike Metzger roped the eventual game-winning, two-RBI base hit in the sixth inning for UCLA. On Saturday, UCLA outhit the Cougars 15-12 but could not prevent WSU's late surge and eventually fell 10-7. Then on Sunday, Schroeder posted career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts (6) en route to his first career complete game as UCLA won 4-1.
Savage Notches Win No. 100: UCLA Head Coach John Savage earned his 100th career victory on Tuesday, May 10 in ironic fashion as his Bruins defeated his former school UC Irvine, 11-1. Savage is now 2-0 against the Anteaters. Back in 2002 when with UCI, Savage earned his first career head coaching win against UCLA.
We're Going Streaking!: Right fielder Chris Jensen had his 18-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, May 17, bringing to an end the junior's amazing hit parade. Jensen joined the UCLA lineup on April 15 after missing the season's first two months due to injury and recorded at least one hit in every game until Sunday. Still, Jensen is hitting a team best .358 with six home runs and 19 RBI.
Stop... Or Denove Will Shoot: Junior catcher Chris Denove has been proving why Baseball America picked him as the best defensive catcher in the Pac-10 conference. Denove has thrown out 19 of the last 31 base stealers, good for a 61% throw-out success rate. He has also picked off two runners from second base. At the plate, Denove has raised his average over sixty points over the last month. Since April 23 at Arizona State Denove is hitting .309 (21-for-68).
Comeback Bruins: UCLA has gone from a team that had not won after trailing in a game to a team that expects to come from behind. Beginning with UCLA's 3-1 win over UC Irvine on April 26, the Bruins have notched four comeback victories, most recently a 4-3 win against then-No. 21 Stanford on May 14, in which UCLA trailed 3-1 as late as the sixth inning.
I Feel The Need... The Need For Speed: UCLA is 45 of 62 (73%) in stolen base attempts this season. At two points this season the Bruins have stolen eleven and ten bases consecutively without being thrown out. Leading the way on the paths is left fielder Will Penniall and his 11 swipes
Flying Solo: Thirteen of UCLA's 20 home runs hit this season have been solo home runs. The Bruins have two grand slams this season - Brett McMillan has hit both.
Hector's High Honors: All-America candidate Hector Ambriz has pulled double duty for the Bruins all season long as UCLA's Friday night starting pitcher and as the team's designated hitter. The sophomore from Placentia, Calif., has been a leader for the Bruins, posting a team-high .340 batting average and another team best 3.77 ERA. Ambriz is also slugging a team-high .447 and has a team-high on-base percentage of .438 (.885 OPS). He also leads the team with 13 doubles. Ambriz is the only two-way player in the Pac-10 Conference.
Beck-oning for a W: UCLA senior right-hander Bryan Beck had fallen to an undeserving 0-9 record to start the before earning his first win in dramatic fashion on May 14 against Stanford. In that contest, Beck lasted past the eighth inning for the second time in three outings while holding the Cardinal to just two earned runs on eight hits (seven singles). Beck has lasted at least seven innings in seven of his 13 starts this season, including a complete game in a loss on April 30. His overall ERA of 5.57 is fourth and his innings pitched mark (82.1) and strikeouts (52) are second. In his complete game on April 30, Beck fanned a career-high tying seven batters.
Will the Thrill: Left-fielder Will Penniall began this season as UCLA's leadoff hitter but has since been moved around since demonstrating his power. Penniall launched his first home run of the year on May 1 and was inserted into the No. 6 slot in the lineup the next game. The sophomore from La Canada is third on the squad with a .276 batting average and leads the team with 11 stolen bases and three tripes.
B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 31 RBI. The interesting part about that number is that 12 of those RBI have come from just three games. McMillan has posted an unprecedented three, four-RBI performances this season. 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). He picked up the game-winning RBI in UCLA's streak-breaking 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara on April 16. McMillan leads the team with seven home runs, including the game-winner against UC Irvine on April 26.
Smith Out For Season: Junior second baseman Sean Smith will miss the final eight games of the season after undergoing arthoscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Smith sprained that shoulder on April 1 against Arizona and had only played in two games since before shutting it down.