LOS ANGELES - No. 11 UCLA opens a three-game series against California at Evans Diamond on Friday afternoon. The Bruins have won four of the last five series against California, including a three-game sweep of the Golden Bears in 2010, the last time UCLA played at Evans Diamond.
The Bruins have won eight of their last nine games and are currently riding a five-game winning streak. UCLA enters the weekend in third place in the Pac-12 standings, 2.5 games behind conference leader Oregon (19-8) and one game back of second-place Arizona (16-8). The Bruins have compiled a 17-3 record on the road and at neutral sites this season, including a 9-3 Pac-12 road mark
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, May 18 - 2:30 p.m.
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, So. (7-3, 3.09)
California - Matt Flemer, RHP, Sr. (7-4, 2.37)
Saturday, May 19 - 1 p.m.
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, So. (7-3, 4.96)
California - Justin Jones, LHP, Jr. (4-7, 3.94)
Sunday, May 20 - 1 p.m.
UCLA - Zack Weiss, RHP, So. (2-2, 4.17)
California - TBA
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE (click here) | UCLA Broadcast Schedule
Each game of UCLA's remaining regular-season games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif., this weekend. Live stats of all remaining games will be available through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on uclabruins.com.
UCLA improved its midweek record to 10-0 on Tuesday, securing a 6-3 victory at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton. Scott Griggs struck out three batters in 1.2 scoreless innings to finish the game and pick up his first victory of the season. Kevin Kramer provided a two-run double in the second inning, and Trevor Brown had the game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth to power UCLA's offense. The Bruins swept the two-game midweek series against Fullerton and has won four of the last five meetings against the Titans.
HEINEMAN SELECTED AS SEMIFINALIST
Tyler Heineman has been named as one of 12 semifinalists for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award, presented at the end of each season to the nation's top college catcher by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The switch-hitting catcher from Pacific Palisades, Calif., has batted .359 with one home run, 24 RBI and 35 runs in 47 games. Heineman has thrown out 15 of 35 attempted base stealers (42.9 percent) and has hit safely in 38 of 46 contests. As a team, UCLA's defense ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in caught stealing percentage (44.4 percent).
GELALICH LEADS OFFENSE
Jeff Gelalich ranks first in batting average (.388) and second in on-base percentage (.473) in the Pac-12, through Tuesday's games. He belted three home runs in four games for UCLA last week and is tied for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference with nine round-trippers. The junior outfielder from La Verne, Calif., is among the conference's top performers in hits (2nd, 73), slugging percentage (6th, .574), walks (t-8th, 26) and runs scored (t-5th, 45).
Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko will take the mound for UCLA on Friday afternoon, having compiled a 7-3 record and 3.09 ERA in 13 starts. Plutko has gone 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA in eight Pac-12 starts. Over the last two weeks, he has limited the opposition to one run and seven hits in 15.1 innings, posting a 0.59 ERA. Plutko has thrived in UCLA's starting rotation the last two seasons (2011-12), going 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA in 192.0 innings.
VALUED IN RELIEF
David Berg has established UCLA's freshman single-season apperances record this spring, making a Pac-12-leading 36 appearances (tied for fourth-highest on UCLA's single-season list). Berg enters the weekend at California leading the Pac-12 with a 1.38 ERA and .171 opposing batting average. The right-hander from Covina, Calif., has tallied 41 strikeouts and 13 walks in 52.1 innings, the highest innings total of any UCLA reliever this season. Berg has pitched in UCLA's last 11 contests and in 13 of the Bruins' previous 14 ballgames.
Since the start of the 2010 season, UCLA has gone 53-23 in all road and neutral site contests. This spring, the Bruins have gone 17-3 away from home, posting a 9-3 mark on the road in Pac-12 games. Last year, UCLA went 14-13 in road/neutral site games, while in 2010 the Bruins went 15-4 on the road and 7-3 at neutral sites. UCLA has gone 29-10 in Pac-12 Conference road games since 2010. In addition, the Bruins have logged five Pac-12 road sweeps in the last three years (2010 Washington, California; 2011 Oregon; 2012 Washington, Utah).
Beau Amaral has started in center field and in the leadoff spot in UCLA's batting lineup in all 49 games. He enters the series against California sporting a .314 batting average with four home runs, 37 RBI and a Pac-12-best 53 runs scored. Amaral has registered a career .323 batting average in 171 games (164 starts), the most career games played or starts of any player currently on UCLA's roster.
GRIGGS SETS SAVES RECORD
Scott Griggs picked up his 13th save in UCLA's 4-2 win at Washington on Sunday, establishing the school's new single-season saves record. Griggs eclisped Gabe Sollecito's 12-save total from 1992 after having recorded his fifth save in the last three weeks. He earned the win in relief at Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday. Griggs has scattered 10 hits in 30.1 innings this season, recording 52 strikeouts and 29 walks in 29 relief apperances.
Junior Trevor Brown has emerged as UCLA's most versatile position player. In three seasons, he has played catcher, first base, second base, third base and right field. Batting .299 with three homers and a team-best 39 RBI this season, Brown has made 19 career starts at catcher and 38 starts at first base this season, after having started 24 games at second base in 2011. He has made nine career starts at third base. Brown made his debut in the outfield (right field) on May 8 at Pepperdine and has played shortstop in summer leagues.
WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS
Through 13 weeks, UCLA has had seven Pac-12 Player/Pitcher of the Week award selections. Beau Amaral (March 26, April 16) and Jeff Gelalich (Feb. 29, March 13) have twice captured Player of the Week honors. Adam Plutko (March 13, May 7) has twice secured Pitcher of the Week honors this season. Grant Watson was named Pitcher of the Week (March 20) after logging two wins in three games.
Sophomore right-hander Ryan Deeter has secured Capital One Academic All-District VIII team honors, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Deeter has gone 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 24.0 innings. The Bruins' reliever from Newark, Calif., is tied for second among Pac-12 pitchers with 29 apperaances (all in relief). Deeter has logged 20 strikeouts and 11 walks, limiting the opposition to a .198 batting average.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Bruins have tallied the nation's best winning percentage away from home (.850, includes 19 road and one neutral site game), going 17-3 in those 20 contests ... UCLA has swept three teams on the road this season (at Georgia, at Utah, at Washington) ... the Bruins' are amidst a nine-game stretch of road games before returning home to close the season against USC (May 25-27) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
In conference games since 2006, UCLA ranks second in wins (106) and win percentage (.602). Through games played May 15, the Bruins are third in total wins (248) and rank fourth in win percentage (.603). UCLA won the Pac-10 Conference title in outright fashion in 2011 for the first time since 1986 (three-way tie in 2000). The Bruins finished second in 2010 and earned a third-place finish from 2006 through 2009.