Jan. 20, 2009
DURHAM, N.C. - UCLA has been ranked No. 12 in Baseball America's preseason top-25 poll, as released by the national baseball publication on Tuesday. The Bruins are the highest-ranked Pac-10 team by Baseball America, and will play a combined 22 of 56 regular-season games against preseason top-25 opponents.
UCLA joins three other Pac-10 programs in the top-25 poll. Arizona State follows UCLA at No. 13, Stanford has been ranked No. 15, and Oregon State completes the poll at No. 25. The Bruins will play three games at Stanford (April 9-11) and at Arizona State (May 23-25) in addition to hosting a three-game set against Oregon State (April 24-26).
The Bruins also play a three-game series against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton (May 15-17), a three-game set at No. 16 Oklahoma (March 6-8) and two mid-week games against No. 17 Pepperdine (March 3 and 25). UCLA faces No. 7 Rice, No. 8 Baylor and No. 9 UC Irvine at the Houston College Classic on consecutive days (Feb. 27-March 1) and will play two more games against UC Irvine (April 7, May 19).
The Bruins seek their fourth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance and first Pac-10 Conference crown since 2000. Last spring, UCLA went 33-27 with a third-place Pac-10 finish, ending its season with a trip to the NCAA Regional Final at Cal State Fullerton.
The 2009 UCLA ballclub returns two juniors in the starting rotation - left-hander Gavin Brooks and right-hander Charles Brewer - and brings back all but one pitcher from the 2008 squad (Tim Murphy, 3rd-round draft selection by Texas). The bullpen features veterans Brendan Lafferty, Jason Novak and Garett Claypool.
Additionally, UCLA's staff welcomes the only two pitchers who were named to the 2008 Los Angeles Times High School All-Star Team - right-handers Gerrit Cole (Orange Lutheran HS) and Trevor Bauer (Hart HS). Cole was selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees, and Bauer graduated from Hart High School last December after having gone 12-0 as a junior in 2008.
The Bruins' batting lineup features senior Cody Decker and juniors Casey Haerther and Gabe Cohen. Haerther led UCLA with 12 home runs and 52 RBI one year ago and was named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List one month ago. Cohen has been tabbed a preseason All-America honorable mention outfielder by Perfect Game Crosschecker.
In other preseason national college baseball polls, UCLA has been ranked No. 21 by Rivals.com and Collegiate Baseball and No. 25 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
UCLA opens its 2009 season with a three-game series at home against UC Davis on Friday, Feb. 20. Game time of the season opener is slated for 6 p.m. at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
2009 BASEBALL AMERICA PRESEASON POLL
|Rank||Team||2008 Record||Final 2008 Ranking|
|5||Cal State Fullerton||41-22||10|