May 4, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team hosts Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday evening in the first-ever meeting between the Division I programs. Having won 20 of their last 32 games, the Bruins (22-22) will look for their 13th victory in 18 games when taking the field against the Roadrunners (9-30). Admission for adults and children costs just two dollars at the gate as part of UCLA's season-long "Two-Dollar Tuesday" promotion.
SERIES VS. CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: first meeting
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: first meeting
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, May 5 - 6 p.m.
CSUB - Jonathan Montoya, LHP, Fr. (3-4, 5.95)
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Jr. (1-1, 3.75)
- UCLA has won 12 of its last 17 games, including seven of its previous nine Pac-10 contests.
- The Bruins have won seven of their 10 three-game weekend series and have three weekends remaining.
- UCLA has equaled its 13-win total in Pac-10 games from 2008, having gone 13-8 in conference action.
- The Bruins have spent seven of 11 weekends playing series on the road (six involving air travel).
- Right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA's staff with seven wins and two complete games in 78.1 innings.
- Infielders Cody Decker (15 HR, 38 RBI) and Casey Haerther (7 HR, 33 RBI) have helped provide the power.
THE WEEK AHEAD
UCLA returns home to face Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday before opening a three-game Pac-10 series against California on Friday evening. This marks UCLA's first and only week of the season in which the Bruins will play each of their games at home (midweek contest and weekend series). Junior right-hander Garett Claypool is slated to start on the mound for UCLA. One week ago, Claypool limited Long Beach State to one hit in 5.1 scoreless innings as the Bruins held on for a 7-5 victory in non-conference action.
Admission for adults and children costs just dollars at the gate to Tuesday evening's non-conference game against Cal State Bakersfield. For those fans unable to attend, UCLA offers a live audio broadcast of the ballgame for free, available online at uclabruins.com. Driving Directions to UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
The Bruins have played among the nation's most challenging schedules in 2009. After opening the season with three home games versus UC Davis, the Bruins spent four consecutive weekends playing on the road - in the Houston College Classic (Feb. 27-March 1), at Oklahoma (March 6-8), at East Carolina (March 13-14) and at USC (March 21-23). UCLA has played seven of its 11 weekends on the road, including six of those weekend trips away from southern California. In all, UCLA has played 25 of its 44 games away from home. The Bruins will close their season with four consecutive road games (at UC Irvine, at Arizona State).
AROUND THE PAC
After winning the final two of three games at Oregon over the weekend, the Bruins have moved into second place in the Pac-10 Conference. UCLA (13-8) trails conference leader Arizona State (16-5) by three games and stands one-half game ahead of Oregon State (11-7) and Washington State (11-7) in the standings. The Bruins rank fifth in the Pac-10 with a .279 team batting average and are fourth with a 4.28 team ERA (overall games). In Pac-10 Conference action, UCLA has logged the third-highest batting average (.275) and third-lowest ERA (3.76). The Bruins' .973 fielding percentage in conference action ranks fifth out of 10 teams.
THE COMPLETE PACKAGE
Right-hander Trevor Bauer has emerged as one of the nation's most talented freshmen. Leading the Bruins with seven wins (7-3 record), a 2.53 ERA and 78.1 innings, Bauer has collected 69 strikeouts in 17 games (seven starts). He began his freshman campaign pitching out of the bullpen before moving into a midweek starting role. After shutting down San Diego State (March 11) and Pepperdine (March 25) in midweek starts, Bauer has excelled in the weekend rotation. He has gone 5-0 in seven starts, compiling a 2.56 ERA. In Pac-10 action, Bauer leads the Bruins with a 5-0 record, having logged 39 strikeouts and eight walks in 48.1 innings.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole has been a fixture in UCLA's rotation since the Bruins' first weekend of the 2009 season. Sporting a 4-4 record and 3.64 ERA, third-lowest on the team, Cole leads UCLA with 82 strikeouts and a .201 opponent batting average (both figures rank fifth among Pac-10 pitchers). Cole has gone 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA and .199 opponent average in his seven Pac-10 starts. The freshman right-hander's most dominant outings have come at East Carolina (March 13, 5.0 IP, 12 K) and in a one-hit effort versus Washington (8.0 IP, 13 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H). Cole notched his first collegiate complete game in a 3-2 loss at Oregon (May 1).
Senior first baseman Cody Decker has become the first Bruin to capture Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice in the same season since 2000 (Forrest Johnson). He leads UCLA with 15 home runs (second in Pac-10), 38 RBI (tie, sixth in Pac-10) and a .635 slugging percentage (seventh in Pac-10). The senior from Santa Monica, Calif., currently ranks eighth on UCLA's career home runs list (41). Decker has become the first Bruin to hit at least six homers in each of four seasons since Eric Byrnes belted 48 homers from 1995-98.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Junior infielder Casey Haerther leads UCLA with a .327 batting average and ranks second on the squad with seven home runs and 33 RBI in 40 games. The resident of Chatsworth, Calif., logged a career-high five RBI in a 2-for-4 effort against Long Beach State last Tuesday. Haerther's first-inning grand slam put UCLA ahead, 4-0, before he notched his fifth RBI of the game in the third inning. Haerther has belted two grand slams this spring (one vs. Long Beach State, one at USC on March 21) and boasts a .497 slugging percentage.
GOT `EM SWINGING
Through Sunday's games, UCLA's pitching staff ranks second among all Pac-10 clubs with 398 strikeouts (trails Arizona State by five strikeouts). The Bruins' hurlers have averaged 9.48 strikeouts per nine innings. Additionally, UCLA has notched 10 or more strikeouts in 18 games. UCLA totaled a season-best 17 strikeouts in an 8-6 win in the second game of doubleheader at East Carolina (March 13). Freshmen right-handers Gerrit Cole (12) and Trevor Bauer (5) combined for the 17 punchouts.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks has tied Arizona's Jason Stoffel for the Pac-10 lead in saves with eight. Brooks has become the first Bruin pitcher to register eight saves since Jake Meyer led UCLA with eight in 1997. Since assuming the role as UCLA's closer, Brooks has compiled a 2.73 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 13 walks in 26.1 innings. Brooks' most dominant outing of the season came in a five-inning no-hit relief stint at Oklahoma (March 8). His eight saves this spring rank fifth (tied, three-way) on UCLA's single-season list.
Junior Blair Dunlap has logged a .283 batting average as the Bruins' starting center fielder in all 44 games. He leads the Bruins with 15 doubles and ranks third on the club with six home runs, 31 RBI and 33 runs. He belted a grand slam in UCLA's 13-0 victory against Washington (April 18) before blasting a three-run line drive homer in the team's 6-3 win the following afternoon. He leads UCLA with 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Dunlap earned All-Malibu Regional Team honors in 2006 and All-Fullerton Regional Team accolades in 2008. The Mission Viejo, Calif., resident has tallied five of his six homers and 21 of his 31 RBI in Pac-10 action.
STARTING ON SUNDAYS
Junior right-hander Charles Brewer from Paradise Valley, Ariz., has gone 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) this spring. Brewer has registered 57 strikeouts and 15 walks in 60.0 innings, the third-highest total on the staff. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts. Brewer has pitched 6.0 innings or more in four of his last five starts. The former standout at Chaparral High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has compiled a 2.67 ERA with 23 strikeouts and two walks in his last five starts (30.1 innings). In six Pac-10 games (all starts), Brewer has gone 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA, 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 39.1 innings.
UCLA's double-play combination of shortstop Niko Gallego and second baseman Eddie Murray have steadied the Bruins up the middle and in the lineup this spring. Murray ranks fifth on the club with a .306 batting average and first with a .466 on-base percentage. Murray leads UCLA with 29 walks and 16 hit-by-pitches and has provided some pop in the Bruins' leadoff spot, totaling two homers, two triples and 13 doubles. Gallego enters this week's action with a .270 batting average. The former standout at Esperanza High School has collected 20 RBI and 23 runs and has hit at a team-leading .329 clip (24-for-73) in Pac-10 action.
Senior first baseman Cody Decker ranks eighth on UCLA's career home runs list with 41 (trails Ryan McGuire, 47). Senior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has climbed up UCLA's career pitching appearances list. The reliever from Riverside, Calif., has moved into third place on the appearances list (90), trailing Chuck Yeager (111) and Bill Wenrick (119). Senior right-hander Jason Novak is tied for sixth on the same list, having pitched in 83 career games. Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks is tied with four other players for 10th place on the career saves list (8), and is tied for fifth on the single-season saves list (8).
UCLA's 17-2 win at USC on Monday, March 23, proved to be a milestone victory in the crosstown rivalry's all-time series. The Bruins set a UCLA program record for margin of victory against the Trojans in the historic, 82-year history of the baseball rivalry. UCLA's previous high for margin of victory against USC was 14 runs, established in an 18-4 victory on May 17, 1955. That win also handed UCLA its ninth win over USC in the teams' last 12 meetings. Additionally, UCLA has won three of the last four season series against USC and has not dropped a season series to its crosstown rival since being swept in 2005 (tied, 2-2, in 2008).
Following this weekend's series against California, the Bruins will host Long Beach State on Tuesday, May 12. Game time against the 49ers at Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m. The following weekend, UCLA will play three non-conference games against Cal State Fullerton (May 15-17). The Bruins open the series at Goodwin Field on Friday, May 15 (7 p.m.). The series shifts to UCLA on Saturday, May 16 (6 p.m.) and Sunday, May 17 (1 p.m.). Playing their final home game on May 17, UCLA's six seniors will be honored prior to first pitch - Gino Aielli, Cody Decker, Brendan Lafferty, Eddie Murray, Jason Novak and Dustin Quist.
IN HONOR OF JACK
A circular black patch with the initials "JG" adorn the left sleeve of UCLA's uniforms in 2009, in honor of the late Jack Gifford. Among the UCLA baseball program's most loyal and passionate supporters, Gifford played for the Bruins alongside former head coach Gary Adams in the early 1960s. Gifford, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2009, and his wife Rhodine generously funded the construction of UCLA's state-of-the-art hitting facility. Named in their honor - the Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility - the practice complex stands 23-feet high behind the right field fence and spans 10,500-square feet.
MAJOR LEAGUE BRUINS
Four Bruins opened the season on major league rosters, and two former UCLA players began the year on the 15-day disabled list. Among those playing in the big-league ranks this spring include Garrett Atkins (Colorado Rockies), Eric Byrnes (Arizona Diamondbacks), Ben Francisco (Cleveland Indians) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies). Former UCLA standouts Troy Glaus (St. Louis Cardinals) and Casey Janssen (Toronto Blue Jays) have opened the 2009 campaign on the 15-day disabled list. UCLA has four former players pitching at the triple-A level - Hector Ambriz (Reno Aces, Arizona), David Huff (Columbus Clippers, Cleveland), Dave Johnson (Memphis Sounds, Milwaukee), and Josh Roenicke (Louisville Bats, Cincinnati). Ambriz, Huff and Roenicke all starred on the mound at UCLA as recently as 2006 under head coach John Savage.