June 8, 2007
BRUINS OFF TO SUPER REGIONALS
UCLA won the Long Beach Regional with wins over Pepperdine, Horizon League Champion Illinois-Chicago and Long Beach State. The Bruins have advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time since 2000 and will play a best-of-three series at Cal State Fullerton. Currently ranked No. 20 by Baseball America, UCLA has moved past the regional round four times - 1969, 1997, 2000 and 2007. UCLA advanced to the Long Beach Regional as a No. 2 seed after finishing third in the Pac-10.
ON THE AIR
UCLA's Super Regional action will be broadcast live on ESPN (Saturday) and ESPN2 (Sunday and Monday). Play-by-play announcer Dave Cohen and analyst Robin Ventura will have the call from Goodwin FIeld. Each Super Regional game can also be heard online through UCLA's Internet Radio (at uclabruins.com). Danny Lee and Tim Wilhelm will call the games online. Each game can be followed online via CSTV's GameTracker at uclabruins.com.
FULLERTON SUPER REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Saturday, June 9
4 p.m. - Game 1: UCLA at Cal State Fullerton (ESPN)
Sunday, June 10
7 p.m. - Game 2: UCLA at Cal State Fullerton (ESPN2)
Monday, June 11 (if necessary)
4 p.m. - Game 3: UCLA at Cal State Fullerton (ESPN2)
UCLA has twice advanced to the College World Series (1969 and 1997) and has never won a game beyond the regional stage. The Bruins lost both games in their 1969 and 1997 College World Series appearances and dropped both contests at the 2000 Super Regionals. The baseball program has amassed a 32-27 mark in its 14 postseason appearances. Under head coach John Savage, UCLA has compiled a 4-2 record in two NCAA Regional appearances.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
UCLA has posted a 33-26 overall record and finished third in the Pac-10 with a 14-10 mark...the Bruins are making their first appearance in a Super Regional since 2000 and have earned a spot in the NCAA postseason for the second consecutive season, including the team's third postseason berth in the last four years and 14th overall selection (32-27 record in the NCAA Tournament)...with starts of 8-1 and 12-2 in Pac-10 play, UCLA registered its best conference start since finishing 10-0 in the Southern California Conference in 1924.
After starting 8-14 through 22 contests, UCLA turned its season around with a school-record 14-run eighth inning to overcome an 8-1 deficit against Pacific and win, 15-8. The following weekend in the Pac-10 opening series at Stanford, third baseman Jermaine Curtis returned to the lineup and sparked the Bruins to wins in 12 of their next 14 games. UCLA eventually soared to a 28-19 mark after winning at Pepperdine, 4-1, on May 8. UCLA raced to a 12-2 Pac-10 record by early May, as the Bruins won their first five conference games and eight of their first nine Pac-10 contests. The Bruins landed five players on the 2007 All-Pac-10 team, as Gabe Cohen earned Co-Newcomer of the Year honors.
THROWING IT DOWN
UCLA's three starting pitchers posted a combined 2.33 ERA in the Long Beach Regional, limiting the opposition to a .190 average in 27.0 innings. Right-hander Tyson Brummett held Pepperdine to three runs in 8.2 innings Friday, as the senior ace finished one out shy of his eighth complete game. Former Rancho Buena Vista High School standouts Gavin Brooks and Tim Murphy pitched consecutive complete games on Saturday and Sunday to seal the Long Beach Regional championship. Brooks' two-hit complete game victory led the Bruins past Illinois-Chicago, 3-1. Murphy limited Long Beach State to one run over the final eight innings in his first collegiate complete game on Sunday night.
The Bruins' offense has seen an increase in production over the last 37 games, a span in which UCLA has tallied a 25-12 record. UCLA has compiled a .317 batting average after opening the first 22 contests hitting at a .263 clip.
According to Boyd's World, a national strength of schedule ranking service, UCLA faces the third-most difficult schedule in the nation. UCLA's non-conference slate has been ranked the most challenging non-conference schedule in the country. The Bruins played 19 games against teams ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll. Likewise, 50 of UCLA's 56 regular-season games were against teams either ranked in or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball's preseason "Fabulous 40" poll.
THROW SOME K's
UCLA's three weekend starters each rank in the top 10 among the Pac-10 Conference's strikeout leaders. Right-hander Tyson Brummett leads the staff with 109 strikeouts in a team-leading 132.2 innings. Brummett leads all Pac-10 pitchers with the most strikeouts looking (45). Left-hander Tim Murphy has registered 96 strikeouts, including his team-best 14-strikeout performance at Arizona State (May 12). Southpaw Gavin Brooks has struck out 86 hitters in 102.2 innings.
BRUMMETT'S IN THE BOOKS
Tyson Brummett has pitched himself into the UCLA record books. Brummett's 132.2 innings pitched is the sixth-highest total in one season by a Bruin and the highest total since Pete Janicki set the school record in 1992 witih 150.1 innings. Brummett and two former Bruin hurlers are tied for ninth place on the single-season strikeouts list with 109. Jon Brandt (1999) and Ed Cowan (1975) each threw 109 strikeouts in one season. Brummett has registered more strikeouts in one season since Rob Henkel collected 136 strikeouts in 2000. The senior right-hander has become the first Bruin to record 10 or more wins since current Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Casey Janssen posted 10 wins in 2004.
Freshman Gavin Brooks has thrown back-to-back complete games, leading UCLA into this weekend's NCAA Super Regional best-of-three series against Cal State Fullerton. Brooks' totals of 102.2 innings and 86 strikeouts are the most ever by a UCLA freshman. The left-hander threw a three-hitter on Sunday, May 27, pitching the Bruins past Oregon State, 5-2. Just six days later, the Vista, Calif., native struck out seven in a complete game two-hitter against Illinois-Chicago
Freshman outfielder Justin Uribe has heated up at the right time. The former standout at Foothill High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) has posted a .478 average (11-for-23) through the Bruins' last nine games. In that span, Uribe has tallied a .652 slugging percentage, four RBI, two doubles, two walks, two hit-by-pitches and two runs. Uribe hit at a .545 clip (6-for-11) with three runs and two doubles in the Bruins' three NCAA Long Beach Regional victories, to earn all-tournament team accolades.
Sophomore third baseman Jermaine Curtis earned most valuable player honors at the Long Beach Regional after posting a .500 batting average (7-for-14) with one home run, one double, three RBI, two runs and 11 total bases. Curtis belted a solo home run in Sunday's victory over Long Beach State, helping lead UCLA back from an early 3-0 deficit. The Fontana, Calif., resident has been a catalyst for the Bruins all season long - after missing the first 24 games due to NCAA ineligibility, Curtis led UCLA to wins in 12 of its next 14 games, including a 12-2 Pac-10 start. After having played 72 games without a home run at UCLA, Curtis has belted four round-trippers in his last 20 contests.
EIGHT EARN ALL-PAC-10 HONORS
Senior Tyson Brummett, freshman Gabe Cohen and sophomores Brandon Crawford, Jermaine Curtis and Cody Decker have earned All-Pac-10 team recognition. Ryan Babineau, Alden Carrithers and Tim Murphy captured All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades. The 2007 squad secured the most All-Pac-10 team selections at UCLA since 2000 (also five players). Cohen earned Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year honors, becoming the first Bruin to gain that award since Wes Whisler (2002).
Junior Alden Carrithers has posted a fantastic first season at UCLA, leading the Bruins with a .351 average (79-for-225). The former All-Big West selection at UC Santa Barbara has started at second base in all 59 contests for UCLA this season. Carrithers has led the Bruins with 53 runs scored, the most by a Bruin in one season since current Philadelphia Phillies standout Chase Utley registered 81 runs in 2000. Carrithers has also collected 79 hits, 14 doubles, two home runs and 32 RBI.
Sophomore Cody Decker has flexed his muscles this season, totaling 15 home runs in 55 games. The Santa Monica, Calif., native has hit two home runs in two games (March 30, at Stanford; May 6, vs. California) and handed UCLA a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Pepperdine last Friday. Decker has become the first Bruin to eclipse the 10-home-run plateau since Ryan McCarthy totaled 15 home runs in 2004. In 2002, Wes Whisler and Adam Berry each registered 18 home runs for UCLA.
GET `EM OVER, GET `EM IN
Junior Alden Carrithers and sophomore Ryan Babineau have been electric at the plate with a runner on third base and fewer than two outs. In such situations, Carrithers has registered a .778 batting average (14-for-18) and Babineau has followed with a .632 mark (12-for-19). Carrithers has been among the team's most clutch hitters, as the second baseman is hitting at a .400 clip with two outs and has registered a .407 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Senior first baseman Tim Stewart returned to the Bruins' lineup Saturday, May 26, against Oregon State after having missed 20 games with an injured hand. In his two games against the Beavers, Stewart hit 4-for-7 with seven RBI. The Santa Ana, Calif., resident registered a season-high four RBI on Saturday, May 26, delivering an RBI-double in his first at-bat since April 15. Stewart has totaled nine home runs in his two seasons at UCLA.
CLAYPOOL CAN DEAL
Freshman right-hander Garett Claypool has tallied a 3.54 ERA in 24 appearances (seven starts). The West Hills, Calif., resident has recorded a 1.82 ERA as a starter, registering 20 strikeouts in 29.2 innings through seven starts. Claypool has posted a 3-0 record as a starting pitcher and earned the victory by pitching five scoreless innings at Pepperdine on Tuesday, May 8. The freshman's other victories this season came against UC Riverside, at UC Irvine and at home versus Pepperdine.
Sophomore Jermaine Curtis and senior Will Penniall have played well at night this season. Penniall has posted a .411 average and Curtis is hitting .381 at night. Freshman Gabe Cohen has hit a team-leading six home runs in the evening, and Curtis leads all Bruins with 22 RBI under the lights. Freshman Garett Claypool has been most effective at night, limiting opponents to a .198 average while totaling a 2.70 ERA in 30.0 innings.
BEST PAC-10 STARTS
The Bruins jumped out to one of their best starts in conference play when they won 10 of their first 11 Pac-10 games. UCLA's best-ever conference start (and finish) took place in 1924, when the Bruins finished their conference slate with a 10-0 mark. After starting 5-0 in the Pac-10 over three weeks ago, UCLA was off to its best conference start since 1977, when the Bruins began their Pac-8 schedule with a 5-0 mark before ending the season 10-8 in the conference.
The Bruins made history on Sunday, March 25 against Pacific. Trailing 8-1 in the eighth, UCLA posted a school-record 14-run inning to defeat the Tigers, 15-8. Sophomore Cody Decker inititated the Bruins' heroics with a grand slam and finished with five RBI. UCLA had previously scored 13 runs in one inning versus Winthrop on Feb. 4, 2007 and against Arizona State on Feb. 28, 1997. The Bruins' 14-run inning not only lifted UCLA to victory, but propeled the team to an 18-4 record over the next 22 games.
MAKING MORE HISTORY
One weekend after the series win against Pacific, UCLA became the first team to sweep Stanford at Sunken Diamond in a three-game regular-season series since Arizona State accomplished the feat in 1997. Stanford had not been swept at home in its previous 71 home series. UCLA had not swept the Cardinal on the road since 1991 and had not swept a series against Stanford since 1997.