March 26, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA begins its Pac-10 schedule with a three-game series at No. 6 Arizona, starting Friday night at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium. Last spring, UCLA won the first two of three games against Arizona in Los Angeles. Arizona, which won 12 of its first 13 games, brings a 13-7 overall record into the weekend series. Two years ago, UCLA defeated Arizona in the first two games of a three-game set in Tucson, Ariz.
Friday, March 28 - 7 p.m. - at Arizona's Frank Sancet Stadium
UCLA's Tim Murphy, LHP, Jr. (2-1, 3.79 ERA) vs. Arizona's Preston Guilmet, RHP, Jr. (3-1, 2.67 ERA)
Saturday, March 29 - 6 p.m. - at Arizona's Frank Sancet Stadium
UCLA's Charles Brewer, RHP, So. (2-2, 4.23 ERA) vs. Arizona's David Coulon, LHP, Jr. (4-1, 2.60 ERA)
Sunday, March 30 - 12 p.m. - at Arizona's Frank Sancet Stadium
UCLA's Gavin Brooks, LHP, So. (1-1, 7.11 ERA) vs. Arizona - TBD
THE ROAD AHEAD
UCLA plays the final three games of a six-game road swing this weekend in Tucson, Ariz. The Bruins' current road trip marks the team's longest since playing at Pepperdine, Arizona State and Washington State in May 2007. Following this weekend's three-game series, the Bruins will play 13 consecutive home games. Beginning on Tuesday, April 1 (vs. San Diego State), UCLA will host seven teams in a 22-day stretch. The Bruins' Pac-10 slate continues the weekend of April 4-6 with crosstown rival USC at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
ON THE WEB
All UCLA home games can be listened to and viewed online at uclabruins.com. Internet audio broadcasts of this weekend's games in Tucson, Ariz., will be available live at uclabruins.com. Tim Wilhelm have the call at UCLA's official athletics website. Additionally, audio broadcasts will originate on the road at Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25). All regular-season games can be followed live through CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com (including this weekend's series).
PAC-10 PACE PICKS UP
While UCLA begins its conference slate this weekend, four Pac-10 teams began conference action last weekend. California won two of three games at Washington State, and USC blanked Arizona in the final two of three contests in Los Angeles. Eight Pac-10 baseball teams own a winning record, and six of those ballclubs are ranked among either the top-25 by Baseball America or the top-30 by Collegiate Baseball. Last season, the Bruins won 10 of their first 11 Pac-10 games, finishing the year with a 14-10 Pac-10 mark. The latest rankings from PerfectGame Crosschecker include seven Pac-10 teams ranked among the top 50.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Arizona enters this weekend's series with a 13-7 overall record. The Wildcats, led by seventh-year head coach Andy Lopez, return the 2007 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, junior right-hander Preston Guilmet and 10 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selections from last spring. Guilmet enters the weekend with a 3-1 record and a 2.67 ERA in a team-high 33.2 innings and is slated to start Friday. Junior left-hander David Coulon, tabbed to start Saturday, has tallied a 4-1 record and a 2.60 ERA in 27.2 innings.
A.C. MAKES IT LOOK EASY
Alden Carrithers leads UCLA's hitters with a .405 batting average and has hit safely in 15 of the team's 19 games. The Bruins' starting second baseman in all 19 contests has hit at a .460 clip (23-for-50) with 11 runs and nine RBI in UCLA's last 11 games. In three games last weekend, Carrithers was 4-for-12 (.333) with two stolen bases in two attempts and two RBI. The previous weekend at Cal Poly, Carrithers went 10-for-17 (.588), leading the Bruins to wins in two of the final three games in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Last season, Carrithers led all UCLA hitters with a .352 average and a .445 on-base percentage.
CRAWFORD KEEPS RUNNIN'
Brandon Crawford has registered a .415 average in UCLA's last 11 games, totaling 10 RBI, eight runs and five stolen bases in that span. The Bruins' shortstop has hit safely in 12 of 18 contests this spring, including eight of the last 10 games. Crawford tallied his second home run of the year on Saturday (game 2), rounding the bases on an inside-the-park home run that bounced back off the wall and into center field - Crawford nearly duplicated that feat Tuesday at San Diego State, as a fly ball to right-center field fell for a triple. On the season, Crawford has totaled a .297 average with 13 RBI, 13 runs and six stolen bases.
MURPHY ON THE MOUND
Junior left-hander Tim Murphy takes the hill Friday evening at Arizona, making his sixth start of the year. Murphy began the 2008 season having allowed just two runs (one earned) and 13 hits through 24.0 innings (0.38 ERA). In six appearances, the lefty from Vista, Calif., has posted a 3.79 ERA and 2-1 record. Murphy struck out a season-high 11, allowing one hit in seven innings against Saint Mary's three weeks ago (March 7). Murphy earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors after hurling a complete game shutout against Bethune-Cookman (March 1) before a nationally-televised audience (ESPN2) at the Urban Invitational.
BACK IN THE DESERT
Sophomore right-hander Charles Brewer returns to his native Arizona this weekend. The Paradise Valley, Ariz., resident helped lead Chaparral High School to three state titles in four seasons. This spring, Brewer leads UCLA with 38.1 innings, having totaled 27 strikeouts, a 2-2 record and one save. In his last two outings, Brewer has posted a 1.53 ERA, allowing just four runs (three earned) in 17.2 innings. Brewer pitched nine innings in relief in UCLA's 10-6 victory at Cal Poly (Friday, March 14) to earn the victory. Last weekend, Brewer allowed three runs (two earned) in 8.2 innings, absorbing the loss in a 3-2 setback at Long Beach State.
KING OF THE K
Junior left-hander Tim Murphy leads the Bruins' staff with 41 strikeouts, averaging 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Murphy logged nine strikeouts in five innings in his last start, as the Bruins fell to Long Beach State, 13-3 (Friday, March 21). That evening, Murphy struck out the first four batters he faced. In his second start of the spring (Friday, March 1), Murphy hurled the first complete game shutout by a Bruin since Feb. 25, 2005, when Hector Ambriz went the distance in a 9-0 win against Pacific. The Vista, Calif., resident has pitched 35.2 innings, the second-highest total on the club.
BRENDAN IN THE BULLPEN
Junior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has made a team-high 10 appearances through the Bruins' first 19 games. Lafferty has compiled a 1-1 record and 4.18 ERA in 23.2 innings, totaling a career-high 18 strikeouts. The Riverside, Calif., resident has competed with the UCLA baseball program longer than any other player (only current player from the 2005 squad). Lafferty made 15 appearances in 2005, redshirted the 2006 season, and led the team with 25 appearances last spring.
Junior Ryan Babineau has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is given annually to the top Division-I collegiate catcher. Babineau has caught more games than any Pac-10 catcher (129), making 125 starts. Babineau has committed two errors in 1,034 chances (.998 pct.), throwing out 36 of 90 attempted base stealers (40.0 pct). This season, opponents have attemped to steal eight times (four successfully) on Babineau in 12 games. At the plate, Babineau has posted a career .269 average with 11 home runs, 70 RBI and 64 runs.
BRINGIN' THE HEAT
UCLA's pitching staff has logged 154 strikeouts in 174.1 innings this spring (8.0 strikeouts per nine innings). Bruin pitchers recorded 18 strikeouts in 13 innings against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 27. No UCLA ballclub had totaled 18 strikeouts or more since March 25, 2000, when the Bruins fanned 18 batters in a 2-1 home loss to Washington. Through 18 games, left-hander Tim Murphy leads the club with 41 strikeouts. Right-hander Charles Brewer ranks second in that category, having registered 27 strikeouts.
Two of the Bruins' first three games this season extended into extra innings. UCLA played a 12-inning game (L, 3-2) against Oklahoma in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader on Feb. 23. The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in 13 innings on Feb. 27, a game that lasted five hours and 35 minutes. Last season, UCLA did not play any extra frames. The Bruins last played an extra inning game of 13 innings or longer on April 18, 2003, when UCLA won at Arizona State, 8-7 (13 innings).
PROJECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Baseball America tabbed UCLA as its preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 Conference. The national baseball publication predicts the Bruins to finish ahead of Arizona, Oregon State and Arizona State, respectively. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, outfielder Gabe Cohen and left-handed starter Gavin Brooks were named preseason All-Pac-10 selections by Baseball America. The publication listed Rob Rasmussen as one of the five top newcomers and pegged Crawford and left-hander Tim Murphy as the second- and sixth-best pro prospects in this year's draft class. Baseball America listed Jermaine Curtis as the conference's best defensive third baseman and Brandon Crawford as the Pac-10's best defensive shortstop.
Junior shortstop Brandon Crawford has continued to earn preseason accolades. Crawford is one of 75 players to have been named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List. At season's end, the Golden Spikes Award is presented to the top college baseball player. The Pleasanton, Calif., resident has also been named a second-team preseason All-American by Baseball America and a third-team preseason All-America selection by Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
TWO DOLLAR TUESDAYS
All season long, tickets to Tuesday evening games at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium will cost just two dollars. The promotion began on Tuesday, March 11, in an 11-3 victory over Pepperdine. The remaining Tuesday night games include non-conference opponents San Diego State (April 1), UC Irvine (April 8), Cal State Northridge (April 15), UNLV (April 22) and San Diego (May 6).
TO THE HALL
Former UCLA ballplayer Jackie Robinson has earned induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the College Baseball Foundation has announced. Robinson will be inducted as one of three Vintage-Era inductees in the 2008 Hall of Fame class. Robinson, UCLA's only four-sport letterwinner, played baseball for the Bruins in 1940 after having played two seasons for Pasadena Junior College. Robinson became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. In two seasons at Pasadena Junior College, Robinson posted a .417 batting average, totaling 43 runs and 25 stolen bases in 24 games. At UCLA, he became the school's first and only four-sport letterwinner, competing for the football, basketball, baseball and track and field teams.
THE POLL IN THE PAC
UCLA was selected third out of nine teams in the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona and Arizona State, respectively. Arizona captured six first-place votes, and Arizona State picked up three first-place votes. Last season, UCLA was picked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and finished third with a 14-10 mark in Pac-10 ballgames.
Freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen will miss 4-6 weeks with a fractured left foot (return expected early May). Rasmussen sustained the injury on a line drive in the third inning against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 27). Sophomore outfielder and left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe exited Tuesday's game in the first inning with a left arm injury - Uribe is not traveling to Arizona this weekend, and his status is to be determined. Freshman outfielder Jeff Rapoport (shoulder) missed the 2007 season with a shoulder injury and may return later this spring. Freshman right-hander Erik Goeddel and junior right-hander Tim Schlatter are both sidelined with arm injuries.
ON THE HORIZON
Head coach John Savage announced on Nov. 14, 2007, that seven student-athletes had signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to attend UCLA and play baseball. These student-athletes will arrive on campus and enroll in the fall of 2008. Headed by assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Green, the fourth recruiting class under Savage includes six position players and one pitcher. This group features three AFLAC All-Americans - infielders Chris Amezquita and Clark Murphy and right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole. All seven signees have earned all-league honors in high school and were Milwaukee Brewers Area Code Games selections. Cole and Cutter Dykstra have captured preseason first-team All-America honors and Murphy has earned third-team All-America accolades from Baseball America.
MARK THE CALENDAR
UCLA's game at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, Feb. 26, was suspended in the middle of the eighth inning due to darkness. The remainder of that game (beginning at the start of the bottom of the eighth) will resume on Tuesday, April 15 at UCLA (4:30 p.m.). Both teams are scheduled to play that evening at 6 p.m. at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. Should the remainder of the suspended game extend past 5:30 p.m., the second game will begin 30 minutes at the conclusion of the first. UCLA currently leads Cal State Northridge in the suspended contest, 22-2. Statistics from the game do not become official until its conclusion on April 15.