March 31, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA hosts San Diego State on Tuesday evening to open a 13-game homestand featuring three weekend series and four mid-week contests. The Bruins (12-10) dropped a 6-3 decision at San Diego State on March 25 before winning two of three games at No. 6 Arizona (14-9) last weekend. San Diego State (17-10) enters Tuesday's non-conference meeting riding a six-game win streak.
The Bruins continue Pac-10 play this weekend, hosting crosstown rival USC. UCLA has won each of its last six meetings against the Trojans (11-14), marking the Bruins' longest win streak in the series since winning 13 consecutive ballgames from 1985-1987. UCLA defeated USC, 4-3, at Dedeaux Field in a non-conference meeting as part of the inaugural Urban Invitational on Sunday, March 2. The Bruins swept a three-game series at USC last spring.
Tuesday, April 1 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
SDSU's Jon Berger, RHP, Jr. (2-3, 5.13 ERA) vs. UCLA's Garett Claypool , RHP, So. (0-0, 7.11 ERA)
Friday, April 4 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
USC's Tommy Milone, LHP, Jr. (3-2, 2.72 ERA) vs. UCLA's Tim Murphy, LHP, Jr. (2-1, 3.61 ERA)
Saturday, April 5 - 2 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
USC's Ryan Cook, RHP, Jr. (3-2, 4.17 ERA) vs. UCLA's Charles Brewer, RHP, So. (3-2, 4.67 ERA)
Sunday, April 6 - 1 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
USC - TBD vs. UCLA's Gavin Brooks, LHP, So. (1-2, 6.75 ERA)
HAERTHER'S HISTORIC HITTING
First baseman Casey Haerther recorded a UCLA record seven hits in seven plate appearances Saturday, March 29, leading the Bruins past Arizona, 20-8, at Jerry Kindall Field in Tucson, Ariz. Haerther registered career highs with four doubles, four runs and four RBI and established the single game record for most hits by a Pac-10 player. The Chatsworth, Calif., resident finished the weekend going 9-for-14 (.643) with four doubles, one home run, six RBI and 16 total bases. Haerther's 11 total bases in Saturday's rout marked the highest single-game total by a Bruin since Ryan McCarthy logged 12 total bases on April 18, 2004. In the final two games at Arizona, Haerther raised his batting average 85 points (.203 to .288).
CURTIS IN THE CLUTCH
Third baseman Jermaine Curtis posted two four-hit efforts in three games at Arizona. Curtis finished the week going 10-for-16 (.625) with a .714 on-base percentage in four games. Friday evening, Curtis scored the game-winning run after having recorded a career-high four hits in five at-bats. The following night, Curtis equaled his career-high with a 4-for-6 performance and three RBI in UCLA's 20-8 win. Sunday afternoon, the Fontana, Calif., resident reached base three times (one single, two walks) in five plate appearances as the Bruins dropped the series finale, 8-4. In the last 10 games, Curtis has hit at a .357 clip with 10 runs.
CLAYPOOL ON THE HILL
Sophomore right-hander Garett Claypool has pitched in six games this spring, all in relief. As a freshman in 2007, Claypool made 24 appearances, including seven weeknight starts. In those seven starts, the right-hander from West Hills, Calif., posted a 3-0 record and 1.82 ERA, limiting the opposition to a .210 batting average. As a starter, Claypool recorded 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 29.2 innings.
ON THE WEB
All UCLA home games can be listened to and viewed online at uclabruins.com. Danny Lee and Tim Wilhelm have the call at UCLA's official athletics website. Audio broadcasts of road series Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25) will be carried live online. Nearly all regular-season games can be followed live through CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com.
PAC-10 PACE PICKS UP
UCLA opened its Pac-10 schedule winning a series on the road for the second consecutive season. The Bruins downed Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings Friday night and cruised past the Wildcats, 20-8, on Saturday. UCLA dropped the series finale Sunday afternoon by an 8-4 margin. Last spring, the Bruins swept Stanford at Sunken Diamond for the first time since 1991 and eventually won 10 of their first 11 Pac-10 contests. Following this weekend's conference showdown with USC, the Bruins host UC Irvine (April 8) and UC Riverside (April 11-13) in non-conference action at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
ABOUT THE AZTECS
San Diego State has won six consecutive games, beginning its win streak with last week's 6-3 victory against UCLA (Tuesday, March 25). The Aztecs fired a two-hit shutout against Harvard on Wednesday, March 26, before sweeping Houston in a three-game weekend series at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Troy Hanzawa leads San Diego State, offensively, with a .360 batting average in all 27 games. Garett Green, Nick Romero and Cory Vaughn have each belted four home runs, as Romero leads all the Aztecs with 28 RBI in 27 games. San Diego State right-hander Jon Berger carries a 2-3 record and 5.13 ERA into Tuesday's ballgame.
Second baseman Alden Carrithers leads the Bruins with a .389 batting average, having started at second base in all 22 contests. Carrithers has hit safely in 18 of 22 games and leads the team with 10 multi-hit games and eight multi-RBI efforts. In three games at Cal Poly (March 13-15), Carrithers went 10-for-17 (.588), totaling two four-hit games and one two-hit afternoon. This spring, the Portland, Ore., resident leads the Bruins with eight doubles, three triples, a .578 slugging percentage, a .472 on-base percentage and 10 stolen bases (12 attempts). Carrithers is tied for the team lead in at-bats (90). 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 .400 average in UCLA's last 10 games, totaling nine RBI, 10 runs and four stolen bases in that span. The Bruins' shortstop has hit safely in 15 of 22 contests this spring, including seven of the last nine games. Crawford had a career day at Arizona on Saturday, March 29, going 4-for-7 with three runs and two RBI. The Pleasanton, Calif., native registered his 10th career triple, sending the shortstop into a three-way tie for third place on UCLA's career triples list (tied with former major leaguer Shane Mack and current San Francisco outfielder Dave Roberts). In 141 career games, Crawford has posted a .325 batting average, including 34 doubles, 10 triples, 15 home runs, 102 RBI, 55 walks and 19 stolen bases.
KING OF THE K
Junior left-hander Tim Murphy leads the Bruins' staff with 47 strikeouts, averaging 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Murphy logged nine strikeouts in five innings in his start against Long Beach State on 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 42.1 innings, the second-highest total on the club.
BRENDAN IN THE BULLPEN
Junior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has made a team-high 12 appearances through the Bruins' first 22 games. Lafferty collected his second save of the year in UCLA's 20-8 win, hurling three scoreless innings while striking out four hitters. Lafferty has compiled a 1-1 record and 3.62 ERA in 27.1 innings, totaling a career-high 23 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 1,051 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 15 games. At the plate, Babineau has posted a career .267 average with 11 home runs, 71 RBI and 67 runs.
BRINGIN' THE HEAT
UCLA's pitching staff has logged 176 strikeouts in 201.1 innings this spring (7.9 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 47 strikeouts. Right-hander Charles Brewer ranks second in that category, having registered 30 strikeouts.
Three of the Bruins' games this spring have extended into extra innings, including two of the team's first three contests. UCLA lost a 12-inning game, 3-2, to 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. UCLA edged Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings on March 28 in the Bruins' Pac-10 season opener. 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.
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.
Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of the 2008 season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). Uribe's season-ending injury will require surgery. Freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen will miss 3-5 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). 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.