March 30, 2005
UCLA opens Pacific-10 Conference play this weekend with a three game series with No. 10 Arizona at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Wildcats opened their conference schedule last weekend by taking two of three contests from Washington. Arizona will enter the series with an overall record of 18-10 and a 2-1 mark in Pac-10 play. Meanwhile, the Bruins bring a record of 7-14 into the series. Pac-10 honorees will pepper the field this weekend as the Wildcats boast back-to-back Conference Pitchers of the Week in John Melancon and John Meloan and this week's Player of the Week Jordan Brown. The Bruins boast Brant Rustich, who was named Pitcher of the Week back on February 15.
This Week on the Radio: All three of this weekend's games will be broadcast live over the internet on uclaBruins.com. Arizona will also offer a broadcast of this weekend's games on KCUB 1290 AM in Tucson. All UCLA home games can be viewed on CollegeSports.com's GameTracker via uclaBruins.com
The Series vs. the Wildcats: UCLA leads 79-70
Last meeting: UCLA split six games with Arizona in 2004 with the Wildcats taking two of three during the Pac-10 series last May.
Fri., April 1 - 7:00 PM, Jackie Robinson Stadium
Sat., April 2 - 6:00 PM, Jackie Robinson Stadium
Sun., April 3 - 1:00 PM, Jackie Robinson Stadium
Over the last four years, UCLA is 2-0 against Arizona in Pac-10 openers at home. In 2001, the Bruins defeated the Wildcats 3-2 in both teams' conference opener on March 9 and in 2003 UCLA opened Pac-10 action with a 6-4 win over Arizona on March 28.
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).
Despite being slightly ouscored by opponents overall this season, UCLA has been doing a number on the other team early in ballgames. In the first three innings the Bruins are outscoring their opponents 49-30, including a 21-13 in the first inning alone.
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 .383 with a team high 26 hits and has posted an equally impressive 1.96 ERA through seven starts. He is averaging over six innings per outing while also contributing six multi-hit games at the plate. His .494 on-base percentage is third best in the Pac-10.
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 .313, leads the team with two triples and has reached base in 16 of 34 lead off at-bats (.471). The sophomore from La Canada also leads the Bruins with nine stolens bases in nine attempts.
UCLA is averaging 1,605 fans through its first 21 games. In comparison after 20 games in 2004, UCLA was averaging just 297 fans.
A Face For Television:
Fox Sports Net West has announced that it will be televising the April 9 contest between UCLA and USC live from Deaduex Field. The Saturday contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.
Savage Closing In:
Head Coach John Savage is just five wins away from career victory No. 100.
UCLA's Projected Lineup Against Arizona
LF Will Penniall (5-11, 180, S/R, So.)
1B Brett McMillan (6-5, 225, L/R, Jr.)
2B Sean Smith (5-11, 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.)
About the Opponent...
With No. 2 Cal State Fullerton and No. 10 Arizona heading into town this week, UCLA may very well be facing its toughest stretch of the season. By the time the week is through UCLA will have played eight straight games against top-ten teams. The Bruins last four contests came against then-No. 4 Cal State Fullerton (March 6) and then-No. 9 Texas A&M (March 11-13). No. 10 Arizona, a 2004 College World Series participant, holds an 18-10 overall record and a 2-1 Pac-10 mark entering this weekend. The Wildcats opened conference action last weekend by taking two of three games from Washington in Tucson. Arizona defeated the Huskies by scores of 13-6 and 6-5 in the series' first two games before falling 16-8 in the finale. Arizona boasts back-to-back Pac-10 Pitchers of the Week Mark Melancon and John Meloan, who are a combined 6-2. Meloan, 5-0, will start against UCLA on Friday. The `Cats' team batting average of .335 is a Pac-10 best, led by Trevor Crowe's four home runs and 29 RBI. Wildcat first baseman Jordan Brown was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Tuesday by the conference for his performance last weekend against Washington. Brown helped lead the `Cats to two wins over the Huskies with a 6-for-14 weekend at the plate including seven RBI.