May 1, 2006
UCLA at UC Riverside - Riverside Sports Complex, May 2 at 5 p.m., Game will be resumed from its start on Tuesday, March 28: UCLA leads 6-3 in the top of the fourth inning.
Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (24-19, 8-7 Pac-10) returns to Riverside, Calif., for some unfinished business with the UC Riverside Highlanders (22-17, 4-5 Big West) on Tuesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. The Bruins and the Highlanders will resume a previously suspended game from March 28 with UCLA leading UCR 6-3 in the top of the fourth inning.
Member? You Member: If you are drawing a memory blank to UCLA's game at UC Riverside on March 28, this should fill you in on the scenario. The game originally scheduled on March 28 was suspended because of rain in the top of the fourth inning with UCLA leading UCR 6-3. When the game is resumed on Tuesday, freshman Brandon Crawford will be at the plate with no outs in the top of the fourth inning, with freshman Blair Dunlap at first base.
California Recap: No. 22 UCLA dropped two games of a three-game Pac-10 series at California this past weekend. The Bruins opened the series with a 4-2 win on Friday, but lost a 3-2 decision in 11 innings on Saturday, and a 9-4 contest on Sunday to end its Pac-10 series winning streak at three straight.
About the Highlanders: The UC Riverside Highlanders enter Tuesday's resumed game with a 22-17 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the Big West. UCR has lost four of its last six games, but did claim a win at No. 1 Cal State Fullerton in the opening game (9-7) of its three-game series with the Titans. The Highlanders are 13-7 at home this season. As a team, the Highlanders hit .295 (391-1324) with 17 home runs, 212 RBI, 233 runs scored, and 59 stolen bases in 83 attempts. The UCR pitching staff owns a 4.35 team ERA with 286 strikeouts in 350.0 innings pitched while limiting opponents to a .279 batting average. Head Coach Doug Smith is in his second year at the helm of the Highlander program.
We Meet Again: UCLA and UC Riverside will play for the second time (technically) this season on Tuesday. The Highlanders dealt the Bruins a "heartbreaking" 6-4 loss on Valentine's Day this year in the first matchup in what was a strange and wacky game.
The UC Riverside-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, UCLA owns a 7-6 series advantage over the Highlanders. These two teams met twice last season with each team winning at home. The Bruins pounded UCR 17-0 at home on Feb. 8, but dropped a 3-2 decision at UC Riverside on May 24.
Turning Point: UCLA's season has made a change for the better since the Bruins played Long Beach State on Feb. 28. Entering that February game, UCLA was 5-9 overall and fresh off being swept in three-games by Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins knocked off the No. 15 Dirtbags (6-3) that day, and went on to sweep No. 17 NC State on the road. Since Feb. 28, UCLA is 19-10 (.655).
Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 12-4 when scoring in the first inning, and 16-5 when scoring before the opposition in a game. UCLA is 8-14 when opponents score first in a game.
In the Fridge: When UCLA has a lead late in the ball game, the Bruins are pretty consistent at sealing the deal. So far this season, UCLA is 22-2 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 23-0 when owning the lead after eight innings. On the other side of things, UCLA is 1-13 when trailing after six innings and 0-17 when behind after eight innings of play.
Rank This: The UCLA baseball team was ranked in the national polls for the week of April 24-30. The Bruins entered the week ranked No. 22 in the nation by Baseball America, and No. 25 by the Rosenblatt Report. This week marked the first time since March of 2001 that UCLA has been ranked in the Top-25 by Baseball America.
Rank That: 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season were against nationally ranked opposition, with a streak of 12-consecutive games versus ranked opponents once in effect. UCLA is 11-10 against ranked opposition on the season.
Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranks in this week at No. 26 in the national RPI rankings, with a second-ranked strength of schedule.
Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 21-4 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 13-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 23-8 this season when recording eight or more hits in a game.
1-2 Step: UCLA has a knack for scoring runs early. So far this season, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 72-34 in the first two innings.
Ba Boom: The Bruins have ripped 33 long balls in their last 30 games, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games. UCLA has 41 home runs on the season, good for second in the Pac-10. 14 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with nine players already owning three-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 4, Babineau 4, Crawford 5, Decker 3, Jensen 4, McMillan 6, Smith 3, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 3). UCLA is 17-7 this season when a Bruin homers in a game. However, UCLA is 1-3 in its last four games when hitting a home run.
Power Outage: The Bruins did not hit a home run in their three-game series at California this past weekend, the first time UCLA has failed to hit a jack in a three-game series this season.
Big Innings: UCLA likes to score its runs in bunches, as the Bruins have scored three or more runs in an inning 36 times this season. 126 of UCLA's 254 total runs (50 percent) this season have come when posting three or more runs in an inning. Scoring three or more runs in an inning in a game translates into success for UCLA, as the Bruins are 19-2 this season when scoring three or more runs in an inning. UCLA lost for just the second time this season when posting three-or-more runs in an inning against UC Santa Barbara last Tuesday. The only other game the Bruins lost when posting three-or-more runs in a game was in the season-opener against Fresno State.
Good D: UCLA's defense has been superb this year as the Bruins currently rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .977 fielding percentage, a mark that is 10th-best in the nation.
Scoops: The Bruins have done a solid job at scooping the ball into the glove lately. UCLA has committed just one error in its last six games, going a season-high five-straight games without a fielding blunder during that span.
Winning Without HR: UCLA might be 7-12 on the season when not putting one over the fence in a game, but the Bruins won five-straight games without hitting a home run before losing the last two at Cal. UCLA won the last two games of the three-game series at Arizona without hitting a home run, won the last two games while going homerless against Arizona State, and beat the Golden Bears in game one sans a long ball.
Multi-hitters: UCLA has three players with double-digit multi-hit games. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 18 multi-hit games, senior Chris Jensen has 17 multi-hit games, and junior Hector Ambriz has 12 games with two hits or more. 11 different Bruins have at least five or more multi-hit games, and 16 different Bruins have recorded multiple hits in a game this season a total of 118 times.
2 Spot: Freshman Jermaine Curtis had a solid week batting second in the UCLA lineup at Cal. Curtis hit .500 (5-10) in the three-game series with three runs scored, two RBI, and three walks to post a .571 on-base percentage. On the season, Curtis is second on the team with a .327 (32-98) batting average and is hitting .343 (12-35) in Pac-10 play.
Huff'n & Puff'n: The Bruins could not capitalize on a brilliant performance by junior starter Dave Huff on Saturday at California, as Huff ended up with a no decision in a 3-2 loss to the Golden Bears in 11 innings. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native tossed 10.0 innings with three strikeouts, allowing two runs on seven hits with only one walk. Huff held the Golden Bears scoreless for the final nine innings in his outing, retiring 27 of the final 31 hitters that came to the plate.
Huff would shut down the Golden Bears after giving up a two-run home run in the first inning, as he retired 17-of-18 batters including 13-consecutive hitters before issuing a walk with one out in the seventh inning.
What was most impressive about Huff's performance was that he threw 130 pitches, 91 (70 percent) of which were strikes.
In five Pac-10 starts, Huff has tossed 45.1 innings, with a 2-0 record, a 2.45 ERA, and 36 strikeouts. Huff has gone nine or more inning in his last three-straight Pac-10 outings, and four of his five Pac-10 starts. On the season, Huff owns a 5-2 record with a 2.75 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 98.1 innings pitched.
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: UCLA will next play Tuesday, May 9 at UC Santa Barbara before hosting a huge three-game Pac-10 series with rival USC beginning Friday, May 12.