April 4, 2007
The UCLA baseball team continues Pac-10 play with a three-game series at home against Washington, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. The Bruins (13-14, 3-0 Pac-10) look to ride their five-game win streak and remain undefeated in conference play as they host the Huskies (15-11, 4-2 Pac-10), their first home Pac-10 opponent in 2007.
UCLA vs. WASHINGTON
Thursday, April 5 - 6 p.m.
Friday, April 6 - 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 7 - 1 p.m.
The UCLA baseball team has changed the time of its game on Saturday, April 7, from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday's game time has been moved an hour earlier to accommodate Washington's travel plans.
All three games will be broadcast on UCLA's Internet Radio at uclabruins.com. Danny Lee will call the action and Tim Wilhelm will provide color commentary. Each game can be followed online via CSTV's GameTracker at uclabruins.com.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Thursday, UCLA - Tyson Brummett (RHP) vs. UW - Nick Haughian (LHP)
Friday, UCLA - Tim Murphy (LHP) vs. UW - Jorden Merry (RHP)
Saturday, UCLA - Gavin Brooks (LHP) vs. UW - TBD
WHEN THEY LAST MET...
The Bruins dropped two of three games to the Huskies one year ago. Washington blanked UCLA, 5-0, in the series-opener, and the Bruins responded Saturday with a 3-2 win. The Huskies edged UCLA, 4-1, on Sunday. Eric Taylor, Jr. led the Bruins with a .571 average (4-for-7) and Dave Huff pitched a complete game Saturday, striking out seven while allowing just two runs (one earned).
ABOUT THE HUSKIES
Washington has compiled a 15-11 record and a 4-2 Pac-10 mark. After sweeping Washington State on the road two weekends ago (March 23-25), the Huskies dropped the final two of three meetings last weekend to Arizona State. Nick Haughian picked up his third victory Friday as Washington edged Arizona State, 5-4. The Sun Devils won 11-5 on Saturday and 8-5 win on Sunday afternoon.
UCLA swept Stanford last weekend at Sunken Diamond for the first time since 1991. The Bruins broke a 10-year streak at Sunken Diamond - Stanford had not been swept in its previous 71 home series until the Bruins took all three games last weekend (March 30 - April 1). The Bruins last swept the Cardinal at in 1997 (at Jackie Robinson Stadium), the last year in which UCLA advanced to the College World Series.
POWER AND PITCHING
Outstanding starting pitching and clutch hitting keyed UCLA's success in last weekend's sweep of Stanford. The Bruins' starters combined for a 1.59 ERA, allowing just five runs (four earned) through 22.2 innings. Tyson Brummett, Tim Murphy and Gavin Brooks totaled 24 strikeouts and limited hitters to a .202 average. At the plate, UCLA hit at a .358 clip, posted a .617 slugging percentage and totaled seven home runs.
After hitting .417 (5-for-12) with one home run and five RBI against Pacific two weekends ago, Cody Decker tripled his power production at Stanford. Decker hit at a .429 clip (6-for-14) and blasted three three-run home runs, totaling 10 RBI and 17 total bases against the Cardinal. Decker became the first Bruin this season to hit two home runs in a game Saturday, when he finished with a career-high six RBI and 10 total bases. Decker's three-run shot Sunday gave UCLA a 9-3 cushion in the fourth inning.
ARMED AND READY
Senior right-hander Tyson Brummett captured his second Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor this week, after having pitched a complete game Friday evening at Stanford. The Salem, Utah, native recorded his third complete game victory of the season, striking out nine hitters while allowing just two runs (one earned) off six hits in the Bruins' 8-2 series-opening victory.
Junior Alden Carrithers recorded a .600 batting average at Stanford last weekend to jump Brandon Crawford as the team leader in batting average. The second baseman from Portland, Ore., boasts a .362 average (38-for-105) and has tallied a .444 on-base percentage. Carrithers is hitting .409 (18-for-44) with runners on-base and .370 (10-for-27) with runners in scoring position. He has posted an .800 average (8-for-10) when hitting with a runner on third base and less than two outs.
HERE COMES THE BOOM
Sophomore Brandon Crawford leads UCLA's offense in multiple categories, including hits (39), at-bats (110), runs scored (27), RBI (26), total bases (64), stolen bases (9), and fielding assists (72). Last weekend at Stanford, Crawford hit 5-for-15 with six runs scored and a two-run home run. The Pleasanton, Calif., resident earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors the week of Feb. 12-18.
According to Boyd's World, a national strength of schedule ranking service, UCLA faces the third-most difficult schedule in the nation this season. The Bruins play 25 games against teams currently ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll. Likewise, 50 of UCLA's 56 regular-season games are against teams either ranked in or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball's preseason "Fabulous 40" poll.
WHAT'S NEXT - UC IRVINE, USC
UCLA hosts UC Irvine on Tuesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. UCLA head coach John Savage has totaled a 5-0 mark against the Anteaters since assuming the reins of the Bruin baseball program in 2005. Savage served as UC Irvine's head coach during the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons. One year ago, the Bruins won both regular-season contests against UC Irvine and downed the Anteaters, 3-2, in the NCAA Tournament's Malibu Regional. UCLA takes on crosstown rival USC the following weekend at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. Last season, UCLA won two of three games versus USC.
The Bruins made history on Sunday, March 25 against Pacific. Trailing 8-1 in the eighth, UCLA posted a school-record 14-run inning to defeat the Tigers, 15-8. Sophomore Cody Decker inititated the Bruins' heroics with a grand slam and finished with a career-high five RBI. UCLA had previously scored 13 runs in one inning - versus Winthrop on Feb. 4, 2007 and against Arizona State on Feb. 28, 1997.
BEST PAC-10 STARTS
After sweeping Stanford on the road last weekend, the Bruins got off to their best start in Pac-10 play since 1979, when UCLA swept Arizona State at home to open conference action. UCLA last opened its Pac-10 slate with a 4-0 mark in 1979 and has not won its first five-consecutive conference games since 1977, when the Bruins finished the season 10-8 in the Pac-8 Conference. UCLA finished the 1979 season - the first year in which the Pac-8 became the Pac-10 - with a 21-9 first-place mark. The last time the Bruins began Pac-10 action with a 4-1 mark was in 2000, when UCLA tallied a 17-7 record, tied for first place in the conference at season's end.
WHO'S THAT MASKED MAN?
Sophomore catcher Ryan Babineau has played in all 27 games, earning 26 starts as the Bruins' catcher. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., resident has thrown out six of 22 attempted base stealers. Babineau has thrown out 21 of 59 attempted base stealers in his career at UCLA (35.6 percent). A freshman All-America selection by Baseball America in 2006, Babineau has committed one error in 651 career chances (578 putouts, 73 assists). Last year, he caught 56 of the Bruins' 58 games and helped lead the pitching staff to the second-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 (3.77).
Sophomore shortstop Brandon Crawford has excelled under the lights in 2007. Through 12 night games, Crawford has posted a .412 batting average (21-for-51) with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, eight runs scored and 10 RBI. Senior outfielder Will Penniall has also performed well under the lights this season, recording a .364 average (8-for-22) with one double and two runs scored. Freshman right-hander Garett Claypool has thrown 9.2 scoreless innings at night, scattering just four hits and registering 10 strikeouts and just one walk.
BACK IN THE LINEUP
Sophomore Jermaine Curtis returned to the Bruins' lineup last weekend after missing the first 24 games. Curtis was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the winter quarter. Curtis had an impressive debut for the Bruins last weekend, hitting 2-for-5 with a career-high four RBI in UCLA's 8-2 series-opening win against Stanford. Last season, the third baseman from Fontana, Calif. led all UCLA regulars with a .336 average. As a true freshman, Curtis scored 34 runs (third-most on the club), delivered 12 doubles (fourth-best total), collected four triples (second-highest mark) and tallied 21 RBI. Curtis played in 50 of the Bruins' 58 contests and earned 44 starts.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
Senior Will Penniall has sparked the UCLA lineup since opening day and currently boasts a .345 batting average, the second-best mark on the team. The La Cañada, Calif., native has been a great asset to the team as a starter and coming off the bench. Hitting 2-for-4 as a pinch-hitter, Penniall has totaled 20 hits, 10 runs, seven RBI, 22 total bases and four stolen bases in 19 games.
A LOOK BACK IN THE PAC
One year ago, Jermaine Curtis led all UCLA regulars with a .390 batting average in Pac-10 competition. In his first collegiate season, Curtis started 17 conference games and played in 20. The Fontana, Calif., resident collected 14 runs, three doubles, two triples and 13 RBI. Ryan Babineau posted a .351 batting average in Pac-10 play, starting all 23 games as the catcher. Babineau led the Bruins with three home runs in conference action and recorded 13 RBI and 11 runs. UCLA's Hector Ambriz, Ryan Babineau and Dave Huff earned 2006 All-Pac-10 Conference honors. Jermaine Curtis, Brandon Crawford and Paul Oseguera captured All-Pac 10 Honorable Mention accolades.
JANSSEN ADDED TO `JAYS ROSTER
Former UCLA right-handed pitcher Casey Janssen earned a spot in the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen to open the 2007 season. In Monday afternoon's 5-3 10-inning victory against Detroit, Janssen relieved Roy Halladay, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out one. Through eight relief appearances in the spring, Janssen posted a 1.84 ERA and recorded 18 strikeouts while issuing just one walk. The former Bruin allowed five runs (three earned) off 14 hits. Last season, Janssen pitched in 19 games (17 starts) for Toronto, registering a 5.07 ERA and a 6-10 record in 94.0 innings pitched.
BIG LEAGUE BRUINS
When Major League Baseball kicked off its season April 2, eight former UCLA ballplayers earned spots on a major league roster. Garrett Atkins (Colorado), Eric Byrnes (Arizona), Jeff Conine (Cincinnati), Troy Glaus (Toronto), Casey Janssen (Toronto), Adam Melhuse (Oakland), Dave Roberts (San Francisco) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia) entered the 2007 season on their teams' respective 25-man opening day roster.
PAC-10 COACHES PICK UCLA FOURTH
UCLA was selected fourth in the Pac-10 Conference's preseason coaches poll. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona State, Oregon State, and Stanford, respectively. Last season, UCLA was selected eighth in the preseason poll and finished third in the Pac-10 with a 13-10 conference mark (33-25 overall).
Baseball America selected UCLA as its preseason pick to win the Pac-10 title. B.A. projected UCLA to join Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. Shortstop Brandon Crawford was selected to its preseason All-Pac-10 Team, and right-handed pitcher Charles Brewer was listed as the Pac-10's fifth-best newcomer. The magazine projected Brant Rustich as the Pac-10's ninth-best pro prospect (2007). In its ranking of "best tools" in the Pac-10, Baseball America named Crawford as the "best athlete," "best defensive shortstop" and infielder with the "best arm." Ryan Babineau was listed as the catcher with the "best arm," Jermaine Curtis as "best defensive third baseman," right-hander Tyson Brummett with the "best changeup" and outfielder Jeff Rapoport as the "fastest runner."
CRAWFO-RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Sophomore Brandon Crawford spent his summer playing for the U.S. National Team and helped lead Team USA to the FISU (International University Sports Federation) World Championship after the club posted a 28-2-1 overall mark. Crawford played in 23 games, starting 10, and hit .257 (9-for-35). He collected two doubles, six RBI, seven runs, three walks and one stolen base.
WALLACE WATCH LIST
Sophomore Brandon Crawford was named to the 2007 Wallace Watch List by the College Baseball Foundation in November. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Crawford joined nine other Pac-10 baseball players on the 2007 Wallace Watch List. The list of 148 ballplayers will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May. The selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals.
Playing a road schedule that has featured weekend trips to Coral Gables, Fla. (Miami), Oxford, Miss. (Ole Miss), San Diego (San Diego State) and Palo Alto, Calif, the Bruins have traveled roughly 10,554 miles this season, round trips included. UCLA played at the University of Miami (2,744 mi.) in the second weekend of the season, traveled locally for a game at Long Beach State (35 mi.) and Cal State Fullerton (42 mi.), spent back-to-back weekends at Ole Miss (1,900 mi.) and San Diego State (135 mi.) and opened Pac-10 play at Stanford (410 mi.). UCLA's road slate includes trips to USC, Arizona State and Washington State.
STAYING IN THE GOLDEN STATE
The Bruins will play their next 20 games in California (14 home, 6 road). Over that 20-game span, UCLA will host Washington (3), Pepperdine (1), Cal State Northridge (3), Arizona (3) and California (3). In-state road games will include USC (3), UC Riverside (1), UC Irvine (1) and Pepperdine (1). The Bruins will not leave California until they play at Arizona State from May 11-13. UCLA will hit the road for consecutive weekends when playing at Arizona State and Washington State (May 18-20). The Bruins conclude their regular-season at home against Oregon State (May 25-27).
UCLA has not played any extra-inning games this season. In 2006, the Bruins won two of three extra-inning contests. The Bruins defeated Washington, 3-2, in 11 innings and topped Arizona State, 11-10, in 10 innings. Washington State edged UCLA, 4-3 in 10 frames. Under head coach John Savage, the Bruins have compiled a 4-3 record in extra-inning games.
SEVEN MORE YEARS
Former Bruin Chase Utley signed a seven-year, $85 million contract extension through 2013 with the Phillies, the ballclub announced on Jan. 21. Utley, who broke into the major leagues in 2003 after Philadelphia drafted him as the second overall selection in the 2000 MLB Draft, finished his three-year career at UCLA with a .342 average, 41 doubles, four triples, 53 home runs and 174 RBI. The former Bruin has had an outstanding spring, having hit at a .368 clip in 19 games (through Monday, March 26). The Phillies' second baseman has smacked six home runs, the most on Philadelphia's squad this spring. Utley ranks fourth on UCLA's career HR list (53) and fifth on the all-time hits list (256).
ON THE FARM
Five former Bruins were rated as the top prospects in their respective MLB organizations. Dave Huff, last season's ace, has been ranked the No. 10 prospect in Cleveland's organization. Hector Ambriz, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2003, 2005-06), has been tabbed the No. 22 prospect in Arizona's farm system. Wes Whisler, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2002-04), is rated the No. 29 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organzation. Ben Francisco (2001-02) and Paul Oseguera (2005-06) have each earned honorable mention prospect accolades (Cleveland and San Francisco, respectively).
LOVULLO AT THE HELM
Former Bruin Torey Lovullo has been making large strides as a minor league coach. After retiring as a professional ballplayer in 1999, Lovullo broke into coaching in 2001 as a roving coordinator with the Cleveland Indians. After having spent portions of three seasons with the Buffalo Bisons (Cleveland's AAA affilaite), Lovullo returned to Buffalo in 2006 after winning back-to-back Manager of the Year Awards with the Carolina League's Kinston Indians and the Eastern League's Akron Aeros in 2004 and 2005, respectively. While at UCLA, Lovullo recorded a .311 average, 45 doubles, six triples and 51 home runs in four seasons.