April 6, 2009
LOS ANGELES - UCLA takes on No. 5 UC Irvine (19-8) on Tuesday evening under the lights at Jackie Robinson Stadium (6 p.m.) in both teams' second of three meetings this season. The Bruins dropped a 7-4 decision to the Anteaters at Minute Maid Park in the Houston College Classic on March 1. UCLA (11-17, 5-4 Pac-10) turns to junior right-hander Garett Claypool on Tuesday evening.
SERIES VS. UC IRVINE: UCLA leads, 40-23-1
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: UC Irvine, one win
For the second consecutive weekend, the Bruins will play a three-game Pac-10 series on the road. UCLA faces Stanford (11-12, 5-4 Pac-10) in Palo Alto, Calif., beginning Thursday, April 9. The Bruins and Cardinal will square off Thursday and Friday at 5:30 p.m. before taking the field in the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m. One year ago, Stanford won the first two of three games against UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins earned a three-game sweep at Sunken Diamond in 2007.
SERIES VS. STANFORD: Stanford leads, 185-141
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: UCLA, one win
Tuesday, April 7 - 6 p.m. (at UCLA)
UC Irvine - Cory Hamilton, RHP, So. (0-1, 5.96)
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 1.86)
Thursday, April 9 - 5:30 p.m. (at Stanford)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, Fr. (2-3, 4.14)
Stanford - Jeffrey Inman, RHP, Jr. (1-4, 5.09)
Friday, April 10 - 5:30 p.m. (at Stanford)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, Fr. (4-3, 2.72)
Stanford - Jordan Pries, RHP, Fr. (3-0, 3.86)
Saturday, April 11 - 1 p.m. (at Stanford - TV, CBS College Sports)
UCLA - Charles Brewer, RHP, Jr. (1-3, 4.17)
Stanford - Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Fr. (2-1, 4.15)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Admission to Tuesday's game at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium costs two dollars for adults and children.
- UCLA has won three of its last four weekend series, including two of three wins at East Carolina and USC.
- The Bruins play 22 of their first 33 games away from Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
- Freshmen right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer will head the Bruins' weekend rotation at Stanford.
- Senior second baseman Eddie Murray leads UCLA's offense with a .326 batting average and 26 runs.
- UCLA's game versus UC Irvine on Tuesday marks the Bruins' 10th contest against a top-25 opponent.
- Saturday's game at Stanford (1 p.m.) will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV).
- All four games this week, including three at Stanford, will feature a live audio broadcast at uclabruins.com.
All four UCLA baseball games this week will feature a live audio broadcast, available online at uclabruins.com. UCLA's Tim Wilhelm will have the call from Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday and from Stanford's Sunken Diamond this weekend. All UCLA baseball audio broadcasts at uclabruins.com are free of charge.
ON THE HILL
UCLA sends junior right-hander Garett Claypool to the mound for Tuesday's game against No. 5 UC Irvine. Claypool leads the Bruins with a 1.86 ERA, having limited the opposition to two runs and nine hits in 9.2 innings. The former standout at El Camino Real High School allowed one run and three hits in five innings against No. 25 UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, March 10, propeling the Bruins to a 5-3 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Claypool enters Tuesday's ballgame having collected 10 strikeouts and issued four walks in seven appearances.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer improved his record to 4-3 on Sunday, earning the victory in UCLA's 9-5 win at Washington State. Bauer has recorded the win in three of UCLA's last four victories and four of the team's last seven victories. Sporting a 2.72 ERA and 44 strikeouts in a team-high 46.1 innings, Bauer captured Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on March 31 after having guided UCLA to two wins in a four-game span the previous week. Bauer tallied career-highs with eight strikeouts in eight innings at No. 17 Pepperdine on March 25, before securing the victory in relief against Arizona (March 29), tossing 5.1 scoreless innings.
ON THE TUBE
UCLA's series finale at Stanford (1 p.m.) will be televised live on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV). Tom Hart will provide the play-by-play and former major leaguer Kevin Stocker will serve as the color commentator. For those in the Los Angeles area, CBS College Sports is available through Time Warner Cable (channel 261), Direct TV (channel 610) and Charter Communications (channel 411). For a complete channel lineup, check local listings. The Bruins will also be on television in their series-opening games against Oregon State (April 24, FSN West) and at Oregon (May 1, Comcast SportsNet Northwest).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Through Sunday's games, freshman Gerrit Cole is tied for fourth (with WSU's Matt Way) among Pac-10 pitchers with 51 strikeouts, the highest total on the Bruins' staff. Slated to start Friday at Stanford, Cole has registered a 2-3 record and 4.14 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander from Santa Ana, Calif., is currently averaging 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Cole totaled a season-best 12 strikeouts in five innings at East Carolina (March 13), before being forced to exit the game due to a rain delay in Greenville, N.C. He is currently tied for fourth in the conference (with Arizona's Preston Guilmet) with 21 strikeouts in Pac-10 ballgames.
Tuesday's game versus UC Irvine is UCLA's only home game in an eight-game stretch. After having played three games at Washington State (Pullman, Wash.) last weekend, the Bruins will play a three-game Pac-10 series beginning Thursday before traveling to No. 18 San Diego State next Tuesday (6 p.m.). Earlier this season, UCLA spent four consecutive weekends on the road - at the Houston College Classic (Feb. 27 - March 1), at Oklahoma (March 6-8), at East Carolina (March 13-14) and at crosstown Pac-10 rival USC (March 21-23).
Next week, UCLA plays at No. 18 San Diego State on Tuesday, April 14. Game time at SDSU's Tony Gwynn Stadium is 6 p.m. The Bruins return home for the weekend, opening a three-game Pac-10 series against Washington on Friday, April 17. UCLA's three home games against the Huskies are slated for 6 p.m. (Friday), 2 p.m. (Saturday) and 1 p.m. (Sunday). The following week, UCLA plays at UC Riverside on Tuesday, April 21, before hosting No. 16 Oregon State for three games, beginning on Friday, April 24.
Senior Cody Decker and junior Casey Haerther have provided a powerful boost in the middle of UCLA's lineup. Decker leads UCLA with nine home runs and 23 RBI this spring, and also leads the Bruins with 35 career round-trippers and 123 career RBI. Haerther enters this week's action with a .319 batting average, having collected five home runs and 22 RBI in 28 games. Both infielders earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on consecutive occasions. Decker was awarded the weekly honor after belting four home runs in a five-game span from March 11-15. Haerther captured Player of the Week accolades after hitting two homers and totaling eight RBI in a three-game Pac-10 series victory at USC (March 21-23).
KEEP ON RUNNIN'
Senior infielder Eddie Murray leads UCLA with 26 runs in 28 games. Murray enters Tuesday's game against No. 5 UC Irvine having batted at a team-leading .326 clip, totaling eight doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBI. Murray leads UCLA with a .487 on-base percentage, which ranks third among all Pac-10 players (through Sunday, April 5). The former standout infielder at Gahr High School has scored at least one run in 18 of 27 games this spring. Murray's total of 26 runs is the seventh-highest mark among all Pac-10 players.
UCLA's 17-2 win at USC on Monday, March 23 proved to be a milestone victory in the crosstown rivalry's all-time series. The Bruins set a UCLA program record for margin of victory against the Trojans in the historic, 82-year history of the baseball rivalry. UCLA's previous high for margin of victory against USC was 14 runs, established in an 18-4 victory on May 17, 1955. That win also handed UCLA its ninth win over USC in the teams' last 12 meetings. Additionally, UCLA has won three of the last four season series against USC and has not dropped a season series to the Trojans since 2005 (tied, 2-2, in 2008).
Junior right-hander Charles Brewer will make his eighth start of the spring on Saturday, having registered a 1-3 record and 4.17 ERA in nine total appearances. Brewer has logged 40 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 36.2 innings, the third-highest total among all UCLA pitchers. The 6-foot-4 product from Paradise Valley, Ariz., has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his appearances this season. Brewer recorded a season-high eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings at Oklahoma (March 7), surrendering three runs and five hits. Two weeks later, he earned the victory at USC (March 23), limiting the Trojans to two runs and six hits in 6.1 innings.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks has notched a team-high three saves this season. Brooks, who has compiled a 2.35 ERA in his last nine outings (UCLA's last 17 games), recorded his first career save in the Bruins' first game at East Carolina (March 13). With one out and runners at first and second, Brooks recorded two strikeouts looking to lead UCLA to a 10-9 win. He entered the series finale against Arizona (March 29) with no outs and runners at first and second in the ninth inning. Brooks made a play on a groundout along the third base line before recording a strikeout to end the game, as UCLA won, 8-6.
GOT `EM SWINGING
Through Sunday, April 5, UCLA's pitching staff ranks second in the Pac-10 with 264 strikeouts. Arizona State leads the pack with 276 and California follows with 228. UCLA is currently averaging 9.67 strikeouts per nine innings, the second-best average in the conference. The Bruins have recorded 10 or more strikeouts in 12 games. UCLA totaled a season-best 17 strikeouts in an 8-6 victory in the second game of a three-game series at East Carolina (March 13). In that contest, freshmen Gerrit Cole (12) and Trevor Bauer (5) combined for the 17 punchouts. UCLA also ranks second in the Pac-10 with 88 strikeouts in conference games.
MAJOR LEAGUE BRUINS
Four Bruins opened the 2009 season on major league rosters, and two former UCLA ballplayers began the year on the 15-day disabled list. Among those playing in the big-league ranks this spring include Garrett Atkins (Colorado Rockies), Eric Byrnes (Arizona Diamondbacks), Ben Francisco (Cleveland Indians) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies). Former UCLA standouts Troy Glaus (St. Louis Cardinals) and Casey Janssen (Toronto Blue Jays) have opened the 2009 campaign on the 15-day disabled list. UCLA also has two former players pitching at the triple-A minor league level - David Huff (Columbus Clippers, Cleveland affiliate) and Josh Roenicke (Louisville Bats, Cincinnati affiliate), who both starred at UCLA as recently as 2006.
IN HONOR OF JACK
A circular black patch with the initials "JG" adorn the left sleeve of UCLA's uniforms in 2009, in honor of the late Jack Gifford. Among the UCLA baseball program's most loyal and passionate supporters, Gifford played for the Bruins alongside former head coach Gary Adams in the early 1960s. Gifford, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2009, and his wife Rhodine generously funded the construction of UCLA's state-of-the-art hitting facility. Named in their honor - the Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility - the practice complex stands 23-feet high behind the right field fence and spans 10,500-square feet.