March 15, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The No. 9 UCLA baseball team opens a three-game Pac-12 series against No. 11 Arizona State (11-5) at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m. The Bruins have won 11 consecutive games, including a 7-2 decision over USC at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday evening.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, March 16 - 6 p.m.
ASU - Brady Rodgers, RHP, Jr. (3-0, 0.58)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, So. (2-1, 2.13)
Saturday, March 17 - 2 p.m.
ASU - Trevor Williams, RHP, So. (4-0, 1.08)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, So. (2-0, 4.01)
Sunday, March 18 - 1 p.m.
ASU - Adam McCreery, LHP, Fr. (2-0, 0.00)
UCLA - TBD
RAIN IN FORECAST
Local weather forecasts indicate that rain will move into the Los Angeles area early Saturday morning, potentially impacting the start times of UCLA's games against Arizona State on Saturday and Sunday. UCLA will not play a doubleheader on Friday. For the latest weather updates and potential changes in game times, be sure to visit UCLA Baseball on Twitter (twitter.com/UCLABaseball) and uclabruins.com.
SUNDAY'S TRAFFIC ADVISORY
The Los Angeles Marathon will take place Sunday and is expected to impact traffic around Jackie Robinson Stadium. The entrance to the VA grounds on Wilshire Blvd. will be closed. The only entrance to Jackie Robinson Stadium will be at the intersection of Sepulveda Blvd. and Constitution Ave. From the 405 North freeway, exit Montana, turn right onto Sepulveda and then right onto Constitution. From the 405 South freeway, exit at Wilshire Blvd. (East) and turn left onto Sepulveda before turning left onto Constitution.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE (click here)
Each game of UCLA's home games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. In addition, UCLA will broadcast select road games throughout the season. UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend as the Bruins take on Arizona State. In addition, fans can follow online through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on uclabruins.com.
TICKETS AND PARKING
Tickets to UCLA home baseball games at Jackie Robinson Stadium cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under). Parking on the West L.A. VA Grounds costs $8. Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on Constitution Ave. just west of the 405 freeway and Sepulveda Blvd. The Bruins have played at Jackie Robinson Stadium since the ballpark's founding in 1981.
HISTORY WITH SUN DEVILS
The Bruins clinched the Pac-10 Championship in outright fashion on the final weekend of the season last May at Arizona State. UCLA won the Friday night opener, 10-3, before blanking the Sun Devils on Saturday, 7-0. The Bruins dropped a 10-5 decision in the finale, but a loss by Oregon State allowed UCLA to secure the conference championship without a tie. Prior to last season, UCLA had not won a three-game series against ASU since 2006.
ON THE MOUND
Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko will take the mound for UCLA on Friday night, entering the series opener with a 2-1 record and 2.13 ERA in four starts. Plutko tossed his second career complete game shutout at then-No. 9 Georgia last Friday, logging 11 strikeouts and no walks in UCLA's 2-0 victory. He has tallied a team-leading 33 strikeouts through 25.1 innings this spring, limiting the opposition to a .189 batting average.
WHAT'S IN A STREAK
UCLA's 11-game winning streak is the program's longest since opening the 2010 season with a school-record 22 victories. Prior to that, the Bruins most recent streak of 11 wins or more came near the end of the 1969 season. That year, UCLA won 13 consecutive ballgames en route to clinching the program's first-ever berth to the College World Series. This season, the Bruins have recorded a .315 batting average, compiled a 2.18 ERA and outscored the opposition by a 75-27 margin during the 11-game winning streak.
UCLA's Jeff Gelalich and Adam Plutko captured Pac-12 Player and Pitcher of the Week honors, respectively, on Tuesday. This marks the first time since 2000 that the Bruins swept the weekly awards. UCLA's Forrest Johnson (player) and Rob Henkel (pitcher) earned Pac-10 weekly honors on March 14, 2000. In addition, Gelalich has become UCLA's first player since Johnson in 2000 to earn conference player of the week accolades at least twice in one season. Gelalich was also honored as Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 28.
EFFICIENT ON OFFENSE
Junior outfielder Jeff Gelalich enters this weekend's series leading UCLA with a .483 batting average, three home runs, five doubles and 18 runs. Having already twice earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season, Gelalich went 9-for-16 (.563) in four games last week. In a three-game series at Georgia over the weekend, Gelalich went 9-for-13 (.692). He totaled a career-high four hits in UCLA's 2-0 victory last Friday night, going 4-for-4.
THROUGH 16 GAMES
After opening the season with a 2-3 record, UCLA has won its last 11 contests. The Bruins are batting at a .304 clip, which is 61 points higher than UCLA was hitting after the first 16 games in 2011 (.243). UCLA's pitchers have logged a 3.15 ERA, totaling 118 strikeouts in 143.0 innings. One year ago, UCLA went 9-7 through its first 16 games and had one player (Jeff Gelalich, .302) hitting above .300 at that point. Entering Friday's series opener against Arizona State, two UCLA players are hitting over .400 and five are batting above .300 (min. 15 at-bats).
GETTING ON BASE
Juniors Jeff Gelalich, Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer have reached base safely in all 16 games. Heineman opened the season hitting safely in each of UCLA's first 12 games. Heineman and Gelalich have each hit safely in 15 of UCLA's 16 games, while Keefer has logged at least one hit in 13 contests. Gelalich has recorded at least two hits in 10 games, including one four-hit effort and a pair of three-hit games.
The Bruins' bullpen has combined for 53 appearances, logging a 5-1 record, 3.13 ERA and four saves in 45.2 innings. Ryan Deeter has pitched in 13 of UCLA's 16 games, posting a team-low 0.84 ERA in 10.2 innings. Scott Griggs has collected four saves, posting a 2.38 ERA while limiting the opposition to just three hits in 11.1 innings (.077 opponent average). Griggs, UCLA's closer, ranks second on the staff with 18 strikeouts.
BEHIND THE PLATE
UCLA has utilized juniors Tyler Heineman and Trevor Brown behind the plate, as that duo has been leaned upon to replace three-year starter Steve Rodriguez (15th round, 2011 draft, Arizona). Heineman entered the 2012 season having made just 14 starts as UCLA's catcher in his first two seasons. Brown started 10 games as the catcher in 2010 and none in 2011. He made 30 starts last season - 24 at second base, three at third and two at first. Brown has primarily served as UCLA's starting first baseman this season.
STARTING ON SATURDAY
Sophomore right-hander Nick Vander Tuig will make his fifth start on Saturday. The native of Oakdale, Calif., has gone 2-0 with a 4.01 ERA, registering 15 strikeouts and eight walks in 24.2 innings. Vander Tuig did not earn a decision at Georgia last Saturday, allowing four runs and six hits in 6.0 innings. He pitched a career-high eight innings in UCLA's 6-2 win over Sacramento State on March 3, striking out seven batters with no walks.
IN THE PAC
UCLA opens Pac-12 play against Arizona State at Jackie Robinson Stadium this Friday evening. Through Wednesday's games, the conference's 11 baseball teams have totaled a 120-52 record (.698 winning percentage). Five Pac-12 teams, including UCLA, have won at least 75 percent of their games. Ten conference programs have logged winning records through the season's non-conference portion of the schedule.
NEWS AND NOTES
UCLA's sweep last weekend marked the first time that Georgia had been swept at home in a three-game non-conference series since Southern California went 3-0 in Athens, Ga., from March 2-4, 2007 ... Grant Watson has pitched in four of UCLA's last five games, allowing just one run in 12.2 innings (8 K, 1 BB) ... Scott Griggs has also pitched in four of the Bruins' last five games, logging nine strikeouts in 4.1 innings ... Kevin Williams belted his first career home run in UCLA's 7-2 victory over USC at Dodger Stadium before 6,034 on Tuesday night.