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UCLA Baseball Opens The 2003 Season This Weekend
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  01/29/2003

Jan. 29, 2003

THIS WEEK: Friday, Jan 31 - UCLA vs Cal State Northridge @ 3 pm
Saturday, Feb 1 - UCLA vs Cal State Northridge @ 1 pm
Sunday, Feb 2 - UCLA @ Cal State Northridge @ 1 pm

NEXT WEEK: Tuesday, Feb 4 - UCLA @ UC Riverside @ 3 pm
Friday, Feb 7 - UCLA @ Hawaii @ 6:35 pm
Saturday, Feb 8 - UCLA @ Hawaii @ 6:35 pm
Sunday, Feb 9 - UCLA @Hawaii @ 1:05 pm

Bruins Open 2003 At Home
The Bruins will open their season on Friday against the visiting Cal State Northridge Matadors. Retutrning the majority of its pitching staff and four position starters, UCLA will look to improve on a 26-35 record from 2002. Picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference, the Bruins boast preseason first-team All American and the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in Wes Whisler. The Noblesville, Indiana native led the conference in home runs last season along with teammate Adam Berry with 18 last season. The left-hander also posted a 4.06 ERA which helped him to earn the opening day start. Adding to the Bruin arsenal is a freshman class that was ranked fifth in the country by Baseball America. Right-handed pitcher Hector Ambriz and shortstop Jarrad Page were both ranked among the top-50 freshman in the nation by the publication. Also returning for the Bruins are starting pitchers Casey Janssen and Mike Kunes. Janssen, who tied for a team best 4.06 ERA, sat out the final month and a half of the season with a knee injury. However, he has returned to top form and will pitch on Sunday. A co-captain, the left-handed Kunes will provide a wealth of experience on the mound on Saturday. His 3.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2002 was the best among the Bruin hurlers.

A Look At The Matadors
The defending Big West Conference Champion Cal State Northridge Matadors will also open their season this weekend after a 41-17 record in 2002. Head Coach Steve Rousey is in his first year at the helm of Cal State Northridge after tutoring the Matador pitchers last season. His road will be rocky after losing seven position starters and four pitchers from the NCAA Regional team. Senior right-handed pitcher Matt Larson will lead the pitching staff after 6-2 record in 2002 with an 3.98 ERA. On the offensive side, senior left fielder Rudy Simpson will return to the lineup after hitting .234 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 2002.

Alumni Game
The 2003 Bruins defeated the Bruin Professionals, 3-1, in the annual Alumni Game, which took, place this afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Led by freshman right-handed pitcher Hector Ambriz, the Bruins shut down the pros with three no-hit innings to finish the contest.

The professionals struck early with Ryan McGuire's two-out double. Adam Melhuse brought McGuire home with a single to put the pros ahead 1-0.

Senior outfielder Chad Concolino got even with the pros, blasting a lead-off home run in his first at-bat in a Bruin uniform.

Even at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, the Bruins padded their lead with a sacrifice fly from Ryan McCarthy that brought Casey Janssen home after getting on base with a walk.

After two innings of work from Adam Simon, the Bruins brought in Ambriz, who shut down the pros allowing no hits and striking out four over the course of the final three innings.

The Bruins tacked on their final run of the contest in the fifth when Brandon Averill blasted a double, bringing in Kevin Conlin who reached base on a single.

Playing on the Bruin Professional team were: Josh Arhart, Eric Byrnes, Josh Canales, Ben Francisco, Casey Grzecka, Ryan McGuire, Adam Melhuse, Rashad Parker, Eric Reece, Jack Santora, Bill Scott, Randall Shelley, and Chase Utley.

Prior to the start of the Alumni Game, former Bruin Adam Berry won the home run contest, over Bill Scott, with a home run in each round of competition.


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