March 13, 2006
UCLA vs. UNLV - Jackie Robinson Stadium, Tuesday, March 14 at 6 p.m., Brian Schroeder, LHP (2-1, 4.56) vs. Matt Luca, RHP (0-0, 0.00)
Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (11-11) plays the middle game of its seven-game home stand against UNLV (9-11) on Tuesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. Tuesday's matchup will be the first of four-straight games for the Bruins against teams from the Mountain West Conference.
Ole Miss Recap: UCLA won its third series of the season by taking two of three games from the No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels this past weekend. The Bruins smashed out a 9-2 win over the Rebels on Friday, dropped a heartbreaking 6-5 decision to Ole Miss on Saturday, and claimed the series with a 6-4 win on Sunday.
About the Rebels: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels enter Tuesday's game with a 9-11 overall record, fresh off a series win at home against California. UNLV has won its last two games, and three of its last four contests, but are 1-7 so far this season on the road. As a team, UNLV hits .288 (202-701) with 11 home runs, 115 RBI, 139 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 25 attempts. Zach Borba leads the Rebel attack with a .377 (26-69) batting average. UNLV on the mound has a 6.19 team ERA with 105 strikeouts in 176.0 innings pitched, while surrendering a .315 batting average to opponents. Head coach Buddy Gouldsmith is in his third year at the helm of the UNLV program.
The UNLV-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, UCLA is 23-2 against UNLV. The Bruins and the Rebels have not played since the 2001 season when the Bruins swept UNLV in a three-game series (6-2, 10-2, 11-2) at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA has won the last five-consecutive games in the series, outscoring UNLV 43-12 in that span. Head coach John Savage has not faced UNLV while at UCLA, but owns a 4-1 career record against the Rebels entering Tuesday's game from his tenure at UC Irvine.
Rank This: UCLA will play a non-ranked opponent for the first time in 12 games when it faces UNLV on Tuesday. 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season have been against nationally ranked opposition. UCLA is 9-9 against ranked opposition on the season.
Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranked in this week at No. 18 in the national RPI rankings, with a twelfth-ranked strength of schedule.
Get Familiar: UCLA will get a glimpse of life in the Mountain West Conference this week. The Bruins will play four games against Mountain West competition, first in Tuesday's game against UNLV and then hosting a three-game series against San Diego State this weekend beginning Friday.
More Rebels: Ironically, the Bruins have managed to play the only two Division-I universities in the nation with a Rebel for a mascot in consecutive outings. UCLA just got done playing the Ole Miss Rebels and will now face the UNLV Rebels.
Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 10-3 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 7-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 10-3 this season when recording eight or more hits in a game.
About the .500: UCLA rides into Tuesday's game at 11-11, owning a .500 record for the third time this season. The Bruins have yet to top the .500 mark this season, but can with solid play. In UCLA's 11 wins this season, the Bruins have hit .307 (117-381) at the plate with 17 home runs, 66 RBI, and 77 runs scored, while the pitching staff owns a 2.18 team ERA with 105 strikeouts in 99.0 innings of work. In the 11 UCLA losses, the Bruins are hitting .221 (78-353) at the plate with 6 home runs, 30 RBI, and 31 runs scored, with a 5.02 team ERA, and 77 strikeouts in 95.0 innings pitched.
Home Run Tear: If you live in the Los Angeles area, you might have noticed a few unidentified flying objects in the sky this past weekend. No worry, they were just baseballs being launched into orbit from Jackie Robinson Stadium by UCLA bats. The Bruins continued their tear this weekend, extending their home run streak to nine-consecutive games. In that nine-game span, UCLA has nailed 14 home runs, upping its season total to 23, good for second in the Pac-10 Conference. The Bruins have already topped last year's season total for home runs, 21, by two in half the number of games. 12 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with six players already owning two-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 2, Decker 2, Jensen 4, McMillan 2, Smith 2, Stewart 3). UCLA is 9-4 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.
Shoving It: In the three-game series with Ole Miss, UCLA held the Rebels to a .238 (24-101) batting average, 90 points below its team average. Ole Miss came into the series batting .327. Bruin arms also recorded 35 strikeouts in 27.0 innings pitched, as Ole Miss batters struck out only 52 times in 13 games before playing UCLA.
The Man Behind the Mask: Freshman Ryan Babineau had a very solid three-game series against Ole Miss. In three games, Babineau hit .500 (5-10) at the plate with two doubles, a home run, five RBI and two runs scored. Babineau was able to raise his season batting average above the Mendoza line at .219 (14-64) with the weekend's effort.
Battling Back: After taking the loss in Saturday's game against Ole Miss by giving up a run in the eighth inning in a relief appearance, senior Josh Roenicke came back with vengeance in Sunday's matchup to seal the win for the Bruins. Roenicke stepped to the mound from center field to record the final out of the game, striking out Mark Wright looking to end the series and earn his first save of the season.
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 host San Diego State for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 17 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.