No. 17 Bruins to Take On Loyola Marymount in Non-Conference Series

April 11, 2013

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Los Angeles, Calif. - The 17th-ranked UCLA Baseball team is set to host the Loyola Marymount Lions this weekend in a three-game non-conference series from Friday, April 12 to Sunday April 14. Game times are 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Friday, April 12 - 6 p.m.
LMU - Colin Welmon, RHP, So. (5-1, 1.11)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, Jr. (3-2, 2.98)

Saturday, April 13 - 2 p.m.
LMU - Aaron Griffin, RHP, Sr. (3-3, 2.22)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, Jr. (4-3, 2.18)

Sunday, April 14 - 1 p.m.
LMU - Patrick McGrath, RHP, Jr. (1-1, 3.23)
UCLA - Grant Watson, LHP, So. (5-1, 2.91)

Sunday's game vs. Loyola Marymount will feature a pre-game ceremony honoring the accomplishments of UCLA legend Jackie Robinson in celebration of Jackie Robinson Day. UCLA will unveil a new mural of Robinson along the first base concourse that will become a permanent fixture at Jackie Robinson Stadium. As part of the pre-game festivities, head coach John Savage will speak about Robinson's extraordinary contributions to the game of baseball and will be joined by Mike Sullivan, the artist of the Jackie Robinson mural, and former UCLA great Tim Leary, who will be representing the Los Angeles Dodgers at the ceremony. Promotions surrounding the release of the movie 42 will also take place during the game.

All three of the UCLA/Loyola Marymount games this weekend will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Fans can also follow all three games online through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on Links can be found on the front page of on the events calendar or on the 2013 UCLA Baseball schedule page.

The Bruins and the Lions last met on the diamond back on April 1, 2009 at Jackie Robinson Stadium, a game that Loyola Marymount won 3-2. UCLA and LMU are tied at 45-45-1 in the all-time series while the Bruins own an all-time record of 24-21 against the Lions at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Bruins got five strong innings on the mound from freshman Cody Poteet and another multi-hit game from sophomore Shane Zeile to claim a 5-1 victory over Hawai'i on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Poteet earned his second win of the year after throwing five scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and striking out two. Zeile led the Bruins at the plate with a 2-4 night, which included a double and a RBI. Juniors Brenton Allen, Pat Gallagher and Pat Valaika each posted a run and a RBI as well while freshman James Kaprielian, sophomore Max Schuh, junior Zack Weiss and sophomore David Berg combined to throw three innings of scoreless relief to secure the victory.

Junior-right hander Adam Plutko will start the series opener for the Bruins on Friday night. Plutko owns a record of 3-2 entering this weekend's games, posting a 2.98 ERA in eight starts this season. In his last two games, he has thrown a combined 15 innings, allowing just three earned runs while striking out 13. In his last start against Oregon State, Plutko was masterful, pitching seven innings and giving up only two hits and one run (unearned) while fanning six. He has a team-high 37 strikeouts in 51.1 innings this season and has allowed hitters to bat just .196 against him, which is seventh-lowest in the Pac-12. In addition, Plutko has twice been named to the All-Pac-12 team and in 2012, he captured third-team All-America honors from Baseball America.

Junior-right hander Nick Vander Tuig will take the mound on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the series. Vander Tuig took a tough loss in his last outing vs. Oregon State, going 6.2 innings while giving up just two runs on seven hits and striking out six. Vander Tuig enters this weekend 4-3 on the year, but in all three of his losses the Bruins have been shut out. Overall, he has thrown a team-leading 53.2 innings in eight starts this season, striking out 35 while walking just seven.

Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson will close out the series for the Bruins in Sunday's game. Watson, who owns a career record of 13-2 as a starter, is 5-1 on the season with a 2.91 ERA. He has surrendered just six walks on the season, which is good for third fewest in the conference, and has struck out 31 in 46.1 innings pitched. UCLA is also 7-1 in games that Watson has started. As a freshman in 2012, Watson set a UCLA record for wins by a freshman with nine and was rewarded with freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

After his record-setting freshman season in 2012, sophomore David Berg has continued to string together terrific performances out of the bullpen in 2013. Berg, a preseason All-American, currently leads the Pac-12 with a 1.12 ERA, which is also good for 17th best in the nation entering this weekend. He has allowed the fewest walks (4) and fewest runs (4) in the conference as well. Berg has appeared in 19 games thus far (second-most in the Pac-12), posting a record of 3-0 with six saves and 36 strikeouts in 32.0 innings pitched. Additionally, Berg has allowed an opponent's batting average of just .190. In 2012, Berg led the Pac-12 with a 1.46 ERA, appearing in 50 games while earning freshman All-America honors from Baseball America.

Sophomore catcher Shane Zeile has been on a tear as of late, posting six multi-hit games in his last nine appearances. He has also recorded at least one hit in 11 of his last 13 games. In Pac-12 play, Zeile has hit .372 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI. In his career, Zeile has a .318 batting average in 57 games played with eight doubles and 18 RBI.

UCLA has been outstanding in the field this season, posting a team fielding percentage of .980, which is ranked 11th in the country entering this weekend and second in the conference behind only Oregon (.988). The Bruins have committed only 24 errors their 29 games thus far. Individually, junior shortstop Pat Valaika has not committed an error in his last 19 games with his last error coming back on March 3 against Wright State. In 2012, UCLA's defense recorded a .976 fielding percentage, matching the second-highest mark in school history.

Junior center fielder Brian Carroll has had a great first half of the season so far, leading the Bruins in multiple categories. Carroll has especially wreaked havoc on the basepaths, stealing 19 bases in 21 attempts. His 19 steals rank second in the Pac-12 and 13th in the nation entering this weekend. In addition, Carroll leads UCLA with 25 runs scored, two triples and seven sacrifice bunts. He also has not committed an error in center field this season and is second on the team in hits (31) and batting average (.298).

Middle infielders Pat Valaika and Trent Chatterton are each enjoying strong 2013 campaigns. Chatterton is off to a great start in his inaugural season in Westwood, leading the Bruins with a .325 batting average. Additionally, Chatterton is third on the team with four multi-RBI games and is second on the team to Valaika (10) with nine multi-hit games. Valaika has also been swinging the bat well this season, as he enters this weekend leading the Bruins in hits (32), home runs (3), RBI (27), total bases (52), doubles (9) and slugging percentage (.452), all while anchoring the defense at shortstop. Valaika also ranks fifth in the conference with his 27 RBI. In the field, Valaika leads the Bruins with 17 double plays turned while Chatterton is third with 10.

UCLA came in at No. 17 in the most recent Baseball America top-25 poll, marking the 26th consecutive week that the Bruins have been ranked in the top 25. The Bruins last dropped out of the poll on May 22, 2011. UCLA finished the 2012 season ranked No. 5 by Baseball America and reached No. 1 in the poll back on April 12, 2010. In the last three seasons, the Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 by Baseball America a total of 10 times.

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