March 9, 2009
UCLA PLAYS NOTRE DAME, TAKES BREAK FOR FINALS
Third-ranked UCLA (23-3) plays a matinee against Notre Dame (6-6) on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Easton Stadium. All the action can be followed with live internet audio and Gametracker at UCLABruins.com. The Bruins will then be off from game action until March 22 as they prepare for Winter quarter final exams.
Following final exams, the Bruins are back on the field on Sunday, March 22 for a doubleheader at Cal State Bakersfield beginning at 12 p.m. It promises to be a pro-Bruin crowd, as junior and Bakersfield native Megan Langenfeld plays in her hometown for the first time since she concluded her standout career at Centennial High School. UCLA then hosts a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, March 24 at 1 p.m.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
This week's ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA polls will be released on Tuesday. Last week, the Bruins were third in the USA Softball rankings and fourth in the NFCA poll. The Bruins have been in the top six of each poll every week this season. UCLA was also selected first in the Pac-10 Preseason Coaches poll, earning 43 points and three first-place votes.
BRUINS ON THE WEB
Fans can follow UCLA all season long on UCLABruins.com. Gametracker will be featured for all Bruin contests, while live audio with Darren Preston at the call will be available for all home games on UCLA's website.
BRUINS ON THE TUBE
The Bruins will be featured on television twice this season. Both games will be against Arizona State and aired on Fox Sports Net. The April 3 contest at Easton Stadium will begin at 1 p.m., but the broadcast will be tape delayed and shown at a later date. The April 25 game in Tempe, which has been changed to a 1 p.m. start to accommodate TV, will likely be shown live.
SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame is in the middle of its annual west coast swing, having played at the UNLV Invitational last weekend and the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton this weekend. The Irish went 3-1 in Vegas, defeating Texas Tech twice (7-0 and 5-0) and UC Santa Barbara (5-2) before ending the weekend with a 5-3 loss to the host Rebels. Notre Dame is batting .262 as a team with five home runs, averaging 3.3 runs per game. The Irish have just two players batting over .300 and are led by sophomore Sadie Pitzenberger, who holds a .405 average with two RBI. Junior Heather Johnson is hitting .344 with eight runs batted in, while senior Linda Kohan leads the squad with nine RBI. In the circle, senior Brittney Bargar and sophomore Jody Valdivia have each started six games. Bargar is 4-2 with a 1.11 earned run average and 34 strikeouts in 44 innings, while Valdivia is 2-4 with a 3.61 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 31 innings.
INSIDE THE SERIES: UCLA-NOTRE DAME
The Bruins have never lost to the Fighting Irish in five all-time meetings. Last year at the Long Beach State Invitational (March 7), GiOnna DiSalvatore drove in all three Bruin runs, including the game winner on an RBI double in the top of the seventh, as UCLA beat Notre Dame 3-2. DiSalvatore concluded the game 3-for-4, while Megan Langenfeld earned the win in relief, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Langenfeld used her bat in her first career meeting against Notre Dame at the LBS Invite on March 11, 2007, going 2-for-3 with three RBI in a 9-3 UCLA victory. Four of the five matchups between the two teams have come at neutral sites, with the lone game at Easton Stadium coming on March 10, 1998. The result was a 4-3 UCLA win in 10 innings.
I GOT YOUR CRAZY
The Bruins hit four home runs last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational to bring their season total to 39. However, UCLA, which came into the weekend leading the nation in home runs, was passed by both Arizona and Campbell. The Wildcats belted 17 dingers last weekend to raise their season total to 53, while the Fighting Camels are one higher than the Bruins at 40 after hitting eight homers last week. The Bruins have hit a home run in 19 of their 26 games this season and at least two in a game 10 times. They have hit a season-best four home runs in wins against UNLV (Feb. 13), South Dakota State (Feb. 15) and North Carolina State (Feb. 21). UCLA set a school record by hitting a home run in 14 consecutive games to start the season. The previous school best was nine, set in 2002 (April 27-May 16) and 2004 (Feb. 20-March 5). The Bruins have already surpassed their home run total from last year of 36. UCLA's single-season record for home runs is 95 set in 1999.
The Bruins came into the weekend with 22 stolen bases in 21 games, but had their running shoes on last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational, swiping 13 bases in five games. Against Longwood on Sunday, UCLA had eight steals, which was the second most in a single game in school history (10 vs. Canisius, 2000). The Bruins stole home twice against the Lancers. Sophomore Katie Schroeder, who leads the team with 11 stolen bases, had two last weekend. Sophomore Lauren Mirabal, who is second with eight swipes, had three at the Long Beach State Invitational, as did sophomore Amy Crawford. Three other players, senior Amanda Kamekona (5), sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore (4) and junior Kaila Shull (2) have multiple stolen bases.
IT'S BOUND TO HAPPEN SOONER OR LATER
The Bruins were so close to the 100th no-hitter in school history on Saturday against Syracuse, but for the seventh time this season, UCLA took a no-no into the fifth inning or later and saw its opponent get a hit. Against the Orange, sophomore Donna Kerr retired the first 14 batters she faced. With the Bruins ready to mercy-rule Syracuse, Kerr needed just one more out, but Jorden Rosen smashed a comebacker off the UCLA pitcher's glove for an infield single. Kerr finished with a one-hitter, her second, complete-game one-hitter of the year. Two weeks ago at the San Diego Classic, Kerr took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Utah (Feb. 27) and into the fifth against San Diego State (Feb. 28). She also took a no-no into the fifth against Purdue (Feb. 7) and Cal Poly (Feb. 8). Junior Megan Langenfeld took a perfect game into the seventh inning against Maryland on Feb. 22 before giving up a hit and tossed four hitless innings against San Diego State on Feb. 8. UCLA has 99 no-hitters, with the most recent being last March 2 when Kerr tossed the 16th perfect game in school history against Saint Peter's.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-10 RANKINGS
Junior Kaila Shull ranks in the Pac-10 Top 10 in 11 offensive categories, including second in RBI with 36, tied for seventh in home runs (6), seventh in batting average (.434) and tied for first with four sacrifice flies. Sophomore Katie Schroeder is in the Top 10 eight times, ranking 10th in average (.397), tied for fourth with 30 runs scored and third with eight home runs. Making the list five times are senior Amanda Kamekona and sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore. Both players are tied for third with 10 doubles. Kamekona is also tied for 10th with five home runs, while DiSalvatore is tied for third with three triples. In the circle, junior Megan Langenfeld is fourth with a 0.86 earned run average and first with a .100 opposing batting average. Sophomore Donna Kerr sits third in wins with 12, second in strikeouts with 141 and fourth in innings pitched with 94 2/3. The Bruin pitching staff is first in the league in strikeouts with 228, while the UCLA defense is tops in the conference with a .978 fielding percentage. UCLA is also second in home runs (39), slugging (.578), hits (220) and total bases (398), tied for second with 47 doubles, seven triples and 18 sacrifice hits and third with 174 runs batted in, 107 walks and 35 stolen bases.
INOUYE-PEREZ REACHES 100 WINS
Third-year head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez won her 100th career game on Feb. 22 against Maryland. Inouye-Perez accomplished the feat in just 129 games. Sue Enquist, as co-head coach with Sharron Backus, reached her 100th win in 1990 after 109 games. Backus reached the 100-win mark in 1980 after 132 contests.
Since moving to the four spot in the Bruin lineup, junior Kaila Shull has indeed been cleaning up. In 17 games in the heart of the potent UCLA order, Shull is batting .479 (23-for-48) with five home runs, 25 runs batted in and 11 runs scored. Shull hit .615 (8-for-13) last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational, hitting a home run, driving in seven and scoring three times. She had a pair of three-hit contests last weekend, going 3-for-3 with three RBI and a triple against FIU on Friday and 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and two runs scored against Syracuse on Saturday. For good measure, Shull recorded her team-best 11th multiple-hit game of the season against Longwood on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. The bomb was Shull's sixth of the season, which ranks her second on the team. She leads the Bruins with a .434 average, 36 runs batted in and an .803 slugging percentage. Shull is also tied for third with six doubles and second with two triples and a .472 on base percentage. She even gets it done when she sacrifices herself for the team, leading UCLA with four sacrifice flies and tying for first with four sac bunts. Three of Shull's 11 multiple-hit games have been three-hit affairs, including a 3-for-3 performance against Colorado State on Feb. 27. She is also in the top spot in multiple-RBI contests with 10. Shull tied a career high with four against San Diego State (Feb. 8) and Simon Fraser (Feb. 17) and also had three RBI in three straight games against Fresno State (Feb. 22), Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 25) and Utah (Feb. 27). On the home run front, Shull had a pair against Simon Fraser and has also left the yard against San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton and Utah. Defensively, the catcher has been flawless, committing no errors in 197 chances.
GiONNA ONNA FIRE
Sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore continued her hot hitting at last weekend's Long Beach State Invitational, recording hits in four of the five games and posting a .444 (8-for-18) average with six runs scored, four runs batted in, four doubles and two triples. DiSalvatore posted her first career four-hit game against Longwood on Sunday, driving in two runs and scoring three times. She fell a home run shy of the cycle, posting a single, a double and two triples. On Saturday against Syracuse, DiSalvatore had another multiple-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. She had a double in each of her first four games of the tournament to give her 10 on the year, which is tied for the team lead. DiSalvatore had a career-long, nine-game hitting streak snapped against Long Beach State on Sunday, but batted .552 (16-for-29) during the streak with eight RBI, 10 runs scored, five doubles and two triples. The sophomore has seven multiple-hit contests this season, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, two runs scored and a homer against Michigan on Feb. 14 and 3-for-3 against Colorado State on Feb. 27. In the RBI department, DiSalvatore has driven in multiple runs seven times and three runs on four occasions against Michigan, Kentucky (Feb. 14), Simon Fraser (Feb. 17) and Utah (Feb. 27). She has also scored at least twice in a game nine times, including two runs or more in five straight contests from Feb. 13-17. DiSalvatore has recorded three home runs this year against Michigan, Kentucky and Simon Fraser. For the season, she is third on the team with a .370 batting average, .679 slugging and .469 on base percentage, second with 29 runs scored and first with three triples. DiSalvatore was honored prior to the start of the 2009 season by being named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
The walk from home plate to the dugout must be a lonely one for opposing hitters as 141 people have experienced this season against sophomore Donna Kerr. With 29 strikeouts in 22 innings of work last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational, Kerr surpassed her strikeout total from her freshman campaign (132) and finished the tournament 2-1 with a save and a 0.64 earned run average. After pitching a scoreless inning of relief on Friday against FIU to earn her first career save, Kerr pitched all eight innings of a 2-1 victory over Iowa, striking out nine and allowing just four hits and an unearned run. In her second victory of the weekend on Saturday, Kerr struck out seven in a one-hit win over Syracuse, tossing 4 2/3 perfect innings. She also struck out four in two innings of scoreless relief against Longwood on Sunday before fanning eight more in six innings against Long Beach State. Kerr has struck out double figures in a game six times this season, setting a new career high with 16 against San Diego on March 1. Two weeks ago, Kerr went 4-0 with a 1.91 earned run average and 41 strikeouts in 22 innings to earn Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time in her career. Along with her personal best in strikeouts against the Toreros, Kerr fanned 10 at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 25 and 12 more against Utah on Feb. 27. The sophomore's other three, double-figure strikeout contests have come against Purdue (10, Feb. 7), Cal Poly (10, Feb. 8) and Northwestern (15, Feb. 13). Since allowing 16 earned runs in back-to-back appearances against Northwestern and Michigan (Feb. 13-14), Kerr has given up just 13 earned runs in her last 65 2/3 innings for a 1.39 ERA. She has won 10 of her last 11 starts. Four of Kerr's 12 wins have come against ranked teams (San Diego State - Feb. 8), Northwestern, Alabama - Feb. 20 and Fresno State - Feb. 22). On the year, Kerr is 12-3 with a 2.37 earned run average and 141 strikeouts in only 94 2/3 innings of work.
It's every player's dream to hit that game-winning home run and get mobbed at home plate by a bunch of victorious teammates. That's what sophomore Katie Schroeder got to do for the first time in her collegiate career on Friday against Iowa. While her first seven home runs of the season were exciting, this one was even more special, as it gave the Bruins their third walk-off win of the year. Down 1-0 with one out and a runner at third in the bottom of the eighth, Schroeder just needed a deep fly ball to tie the game. But instead, the deep fly ball went over the fence in straightaway center to give the Bruins a thrilling 2-1 win. Schroeder, who leads the Bruins with eight home runs, hit .357 (5-for-14) last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational with six runs scored, three runs batted in, four walks and two stolen bases. She had hits in four of the five games last weekend, scoring a run in each of the first four contests. Schroeder, the team leader in runs scored with 30, has crossed home plate twice 10 times this season. She scored two times in wins over FIU on Friday and Syracuse on Saturday. Along with scoring the runs, Schroeder has been driving them in, ranking tied for third with 22 runs batted in. She has five multiple-RBI games this year, including a career-high six against Northwestern on Feb. 13 and five on March 1 at San Diego. Against the Wildcats, Schroeder hit a pair of home runs and became just the 10th player in UCLA history to drive in at least half a dozen runs in a single contest. The sophomore also has dingers against Purdue (Feb. 7), Indiana (Feb. 7), Cal Poly (Feb. 8), Kentucky (Feb. 14) and North Carolina State (Feb. 21). She began the year with an 11-game hitting streak in which she batted .457 (16-for-35) with 15 runs scored, 13 RBI and six homers. Along with her hitting prowess, Schroeder is a threat on the basepaths, going 11-for-12 in stolen bases.
BAKER COOKING WITH GAS
Junior Whitney Baker remained undefeated on the season after picking up two wins at last weekend's Long Beach State Invitational. Baker was 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA and seven strikeouts in 10 innings, recording victories against FIU and Longwood. The junior has won eight of her nine starts, including victories in six consecutive appearances. Two weekends ago at the San Diego Classic, Baker had two of her best games of the season, striking out 12 over six innings in a one-hit performance against Colorado State and fanning 10 in a complete-game, three-hit victory against then-#12 Missouri. Baker has also picked up wins against Indiana (Feb. 7), UNLV (Feb. 13), Simon Fraser (Feb. 17) and North Carolina State (Feb. 21). The junior has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of her nine starts. On the year, she is 8-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Limited to only three innings last season, Baker has applied for a medical redshirt and if granted will earn another year of eligibility.
Andrea Harrison is quickly proving why she was one of the most highly-touted freshmen entering the collegiate game this year. Harrison drove in five more runs last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational and ranks second on the team with 23 runs batted in. Harrison went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in against Syracuse on Saturday and followed that up with a 2-for-3, three-RBI effort against Longwood on Sunday. The freshman is second on the team with 10 multiple-hit games and eight multiple-RBI contests. All of her multiple-hit games have been two-hit affairs. Harrison has driven in three runs on two occasions against UNLV (Feb. 13) and Longwood. She is also tied for fifth on the team with four home runs. Harrison's first career bomb was a memorable one. Against San Diego State on Feb. 8, the Bruins were trailing 2-0 with one out in the eighth inning, but Harrison tied it up with a two-run shot to send the game into a ninth frame. The freshman has also left the yard against UNLV, Kentucky (Feb. 14) and Maryland (Feb. 22). On the year, Harrison is batting .300 with 12 runs scored.
SHORTSTOP COMING UP BIG
Sophomore Monica Harrison had hits in four of the five games last weekend at the Long Beach State Invitational, batting .429 (6-for-14) with four runs scored, three RBI and her fifth home run of the season. Harrison went deep against FIU on Friday, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the sixth inning. She also had an RBI single in the fourth which proved to be the game-winning run. Harrison went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI against Longwood on Sunday and closed the weekend with a 1-for-2 effort versus Long Beach State, scoring the Bruins' lone run. Harrison is hitting .299 on the season with 14 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. She is tied for the team lead with four sacrifice hits and has also walked 11 times. The sophomore drove in a career-high four runs on a pair of homers against South Dakota State on Feb. 15. She also drove in three, going 2-for-3 with a homer against UNLV (Feb. 13), and belted another home run and had two more RBI against North Carolina State on Feb. 21.
NEWS AND NOTES
Sophomore Amy Crawford drove in her first collegiate run with a first-inning, RBI single against Syracuse on Saturday. She reached in three of her four plate appearances against the Orange, also walking twice. Crawford had two hits in 10 at-bats last weekend, starting all five games in right field. She drew three walks and was hit twice, scoring four times and stealing three bases ... junior Megan Langenfeld was out of the lineup last weekend due to a sprained left ankle. Langenfeld injured the ankle while covering third base against San Diego State on March 10. She is listed as day-to-day.