Sept. 29, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Former UCLA baseball players Chase Utley and Ben Francisco will make their third consecutive appearance together in the postseason for the Philadelphia Phillies, and former Bruins' outfielder Ron Roenicke will lead the Milwaukee Brewers as their first-year manager into the MLB playoffs this weekend.
Utley and Francisco helped the Phillies capture their fifth consecutive National League East Division title in 2011. Roenicke guided the Brewers to their second-ever division championship, the franchise's first as a National League team, in his first season as a major league manager.
The Phillies and Brewers will each open a best-of-five National League Division Series at home on Saturday. The Phillies will face the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Brewers will host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Utley finished the regular season batting .259 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 103 games after having missed nearly the first two months of the season recovering from an injury. Utley, who starred at UCLA from 1998-2000, is making his fifth appearance in the MLB playoffs. He has totaled 10 home runs and 24 RBI in 41 career postseason games.
Francisco batted .244 with six home runs and 34 RBI in 100 games for Philadelphia. A two-year letterwinner at UCLA (2001-02), Francisco is making his third trip to the postseason.
Under Roenicke's leadership, Milwaukee went 96-66 to win the National League Central Division. Milwaukee's 96 regular-season victories were the second most of any National League team, and were tied for the third-most wins of any major league ballclub.
Roenicke played in 52 games for UCLA in 1977, batting .284 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. He came to Westwood after spending the 1975 and 1976 seasons playing for Mt. San Antonio College. Roenicke his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981 and played in 527 major league games during a career that continued until 1988.