May 5, 2008
LOS ANGELES - With just 12 regular-season games remaining on the schedule, UCLA (24-20) hosts San Diego (37-13) in a non-conference game Tuesday evening at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA will take on the Toreros for the first time since May 3, 2005, when the Bruins registered an 8-5 victory in Los Angeles.
Tuesday, May 6 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
San Diego's Sammy Solis, LHP, Fr. (3-1, 2.21) vs. UCLA's Garett Claypool, RHP, So. (1-2, 4.25)
TOREREOS ON TUESDAY
UCLA faces the University of San Diego for the first time since May 3, 2005, when the Bruins registered an 8-5 win over the Toreros at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA has totaled a 15-6 all-time record against San Diego, as both teams first met in 1961. Sophomore right-hander Garett Claypool (1-2) takes the hill for UCLA, as the visiting Toreros will counter with freshman left-hander Sammy Solis (3-1). San Diego has logged a 37-13 overall record, including a first-place 15-3 mark in the West Coast Conference.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Right-hander Garett Claypool will make his sixth start of the season, all coming in mid-week contests. Claypool has logged a 1-2 record and 4.25 ERA in 29.1 innings (13 appearances) this spring. The sophoomore from West Hills, Calif., has limited the opposition to a .233 batting average, recording 20 strikeouts and 27 walks. Claypool absorbed the loss in a 6-2 setback at Pepperdine last Tuesday, allowing five runs (four earned), three hits and five walks in 2.1 innings. Two weeks ago, the right-hander hurled a career-high six scoreless innings and did not receive a decision in an 8-7, 11-inning win versus UNLV (April 22).
Second baseman Alden Carrithers has emerged as a legitimate All-America candidate, as he ranks fourth among Pac-10 players with a .391 batting average. The Portland, Ore., resident leads UCLA in numerous offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.471), slugging percentage (.569), hits (68), stolen bases (17), RBI (39), and at-bats (174). Carrithers is also tied for the team lead in runs (36) with third baseman Jermaine Curtis. Carrithers has hit safely in 37 of 44 games and has tallied hit streaks of 11 and 10 games. In five games last week, Carrithers batted .438, going 7-for-16 with seven walks (.625 on-base percentage).
ACCOLADES ALL AROUND
Several Bruins have garnered national attention within the college baseball community. Alden Carrithers has been named as one of 50 players to the Dick Howser Award watch list. Over the weekend, Carrithers was chosen as one of 100 players on the revised Brooks Wallace Award watch list. Prior to Opening Day, Ryan Babineau was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, a compilation of the nation's top 36 catchers. Brandon Crawford was tabbed as one of 50 players to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.
ON THE WEB
Each of UCLA's remaining four regular-season home games can be listened to and viewed online at uclabruins.com. Danny Lee and Tim Wilhelm have the call at UCLA's official athletics website. Audio broadcasts of road series at Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25) will be carried online. All remaining regular-season games can be followed live on CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com. Tune into this weekend's broadcasts at uclabruins.com, live from Corvallis, Ore., as Danny Lee will provide the latest news and updates from Goss Stadium.
CRUSHING IT FARTHER
First baseman Casey Haerther leads the Bruins with eight home runs and has belted seven of those round-trippers since going 7-for-7 at Arizona on Saturday, March 29. In that 20-8 UCLA victory, Haerther established the Pac-10 and UCLA record for most hits in a single game. UCLA's starting first baseman has batted .318 in 42 games (41 starts, all at first base), totaling 37 RBI, 33 runs, 16 doubles and one triple. Haerther has logged a .561 slugging percentage and successfully stolen nine bases in 11 attempts. Haerther crushed a career-high two home runs in an 18-7 rout of UC Riverside on Saturday, April 12.
Earlier this spring, UCLA became just the second team in the past two seasons to win a three-game series at Arizona, which currently boasts an 18-3 home mark. The Bruins took the first two of three games at Arizona's Kindall Field (March 28-30) to open Pac-10 play. Last season, the Wildcats posted a 28-4 home record, losing one home series to USC. The weekend of April 25-27, UCLA won two of three games at Washington, where the Huskies had previously recorded an 18-5 home record with just one home series loss to Cal Poly. The Bruins have logged an 8-8 road record and a 1-0 mark at a neutral site this spring.
Senior Brady Dolan went 7-for-16 (.438) at the plate in five games last week. Dolan logged six singles, one triple, five runs, five RBI, two walks and one stolen base. The Reno, Nev., resident was 3-for-3 with two runs in an 8-3 victory over Arizona State on Saturday, and finished the weekend going 2-for-5 with two runs and one RBI in Sunday's 11-8 loss in the series finale. Dolan registered a pinch-hit RBI-single against Pepperdine (April 29) and was 1-for-3 with a key three-RBI triple in the Bruins 6-2 win over Loyola Marymount (April 30).
Junior Tim Murphy, a left-handed pitcher and center fielder, has played in 24 games. Murphy has logged a 3.64 ERA and 3-5 record in 13 pitching appearances (11 starts) and has registered a .258 batting average in 12 games on the field. The left-hander from Vista, Calif., has totaled 87 strikeouts, the second-highest total among Pac-10 pitchers after Washington's Nick Haughian (88). Murphy has also logged 76.2 innings, the second most in the Pac-10 behind Arizona State's Mike Leake. In two games at the plate against Arizona State last weekend, Murphy went 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run.
THE STRETCH RUN
UCLA has played the eighth-most difficult schedule in the nation through 44 games, as ranked by Boyd's World, and the road gets more challenging for the Bruins over the next three weeks. Through the Bruins' final 12 games, six of those contests will be played against top-20 competition (as ranked by Baseball America). Likewise, UCLA will play eight of its last 12 games on the road, including six of its final nine Pac-10 contests. Junior third baseman Jermaine Curtis leads the Bruins with a .429 average away from Jackie Robinson Stadium, having totaled nine doubles, 10 RBI, 18 runs and a .544 on-base percentage.
Alden Carrithers ranks fourth among Pac-10 players with a .391 average and also ranks among the top-10 in several other offensive categories - sixth in on-base percentage (.471), fourth in hits (68), tied for sixth in doubles (13), and tied for second in stolen bases (17). Casey Haerther ranks second in the conference with 16 doubles, and Jermaine Curtis is tied with two players for third on the doubles list (14). Curtis also ranks seventh among Pac-10 hitters with 30 walks. Left-hander Tim Murphy ranks second in strikeouts (87) and innings pitched (76.2), and Murphy's 3.64 ERA is the ninth-lowest mark among Pac-10 arms. Right-hander Charles Brewer's 72.2 innings pitched are the seventh-most in the Pac-10.
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty ranks third among Pac-10 pitchers with 24 appearances, all coming in relief. Lafferty has logged a 1-2 record and 4.53 ERA in a team-high 24 outings, totaling 44 strtikeouts in 47.2 innings. The junior from Riverside, Calif., hurled 4.1 scoreless innings against Stanford (April 19), totaling four strikeouts and one walk. Lafferty earned his third save of the season in UCLA's 4-3 win at Washington (April 27) in the series finale, totaling four strikeouts in two innings of hitless relief. Lafferty leads all Bruins with 64 career appearances, having recorded 73 strikeouts in 97.2 innings of work.
UCLA has posted a 3-2 record in five extra-inning ballgames. Two of the team's first four games were extra-inning affairs. UCLA lost a 12-inning game, 3-2, to Oklahoma in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader (Feb. 23). The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in 13 innings on (Feb. 27) in a five-hour, 35-minute affair. UCLA edged Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings (March 28) in the Bruins' Pac-10 season opener. UC Irvine downed the Bruins, 6-5, in 10 innings at Jackie Robinson Stadium (April 8). UCLA used a two-out rally, keyed by Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 11th inning, to defeat UNLV, 8-7 (April 22).
THIRD TO 100
John Savage earned his 100th victory as UCLA's head baseball coach on April 20, as the Bruins defeated Stanford, 8-2. Savage, who has tallied a 105-114 record midway through his fourth season, became just the third head coach in UCLA baseball history to reach the 100-win plateau. Former head coaches Gary Adams (1975-2004) and Arthur Reichle (1941, 1946-1974) have also reached the 100-win mark. Savage, who spent three years as UC Irvine's head baseball coach prior to arriving in Westwood, stands just seven wins shy of his 200th career victory as a college baseball head coach (193-198-1 career record).
HEAD OF THE PACK
Jermaine Curtis ranks second in the conference with a .441 average in Pac-10 games. Curtis has tallied six doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI and 13 runs in conference play. Curtis' .493 on-base percentage in Pac-10 play ranks fourth, and the Fontana, Calif., resident's .627 slugging percentage in conference action is ranked 10th. Casey Haerther's eight doubles in Pac-10 play leads all conference performers. Haerther also ranks ninth with a .371 Pac-10 batting average and fourth with a .694 slugging percentage.
POUNDING THE DRUM
Left-hander Matt Drummond has logged a streak of 10.2 consecutive scoreless innings, all in relief. In UCLA's 8-3 win over Arizona State (May 3), Drummond hurled 3.1 scoreless innings to earn his third save of the year. Drummond has posted a 3.92 ERA and 2-2 record in 43.2 innings, making 15 appearances (three starts). The Paso Robles, Calif., resident ranks among the conference leaders in Pac-10 games. Drummond's 1.56 Pac-10 ERA is the second-lowest mark, and his .210 opponent batting average ranks fourth.
Junior Ryan Babineau was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, prior to the start of the season. The award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. In 148 career games (142 starts), Babineau has committed two errors in 1,175 chances (.998 pct.), throwing out 42 of 103 attempted base stealers (40.8 pct). This season, Babineau has thrown out 10 of 21 attempted base stealers (47.6 pct). As a freshman, he earned All-Pac-10 team honors. Last spring, Babineau was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection.
PROJECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Shortstop Brandon Crawford, outfielder Gabe Cohen and left-handed starter Gavin Brooks were named preseason All-Pac-10 selections by Baseball America. The publication listed Rob Rasmussen as one of the five top newcomers and pegged Crawford and left-hander Tim Murphy as the second- and sixth-best pro prospects in this year's draft class. Baseball America listed Jermaine Curtis as the conference's best defensive third baseman and Brandon Crawford as the Pac-10's best defensive shortstop.
THE POLL IN THE PAC
UCLA was selected third out of nine teams in the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona and Arizona State, respectively. Arizona picked up six of nine first-place votes, and Arizona State recorded the other three first-place votes. Last season, UCLA was picked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and finished third with a 14-10 mark in Pac-10 ballgames.
STEELE FIELD AT JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM
UCLA dedicated the field at Jackie Robinson Stadium in honor of the Steele Foundation prior to a nationally-televised game against Arizona State on Saturday, May 3. Last offseason, UCLA completed several improvements to Jackie Robinson Stadium, the most significant renovation being the installation of a new major-league caliber playing surface. Thanks to a generous lead gift from the Steele Foundation, UCLA's new field surface became a reality.
Freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen returned to action on April 30 against Loyola Marymount after having missed 36 games with a fractured left foot. Rasmussen sustained the injury on a line drive during his collegiate debut against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 27). Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of the season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). Freshman right-hander Dan Klein remains inactive with shoulder soreness. Freshman outfielder Jeff Rapoport (shoulder) missed the 2007 season with a shoulder injury and remains sidelined, along with freshman right-hander Erik Goeddel (elbow) and junior right-hander Tim Schlatter (shoulder).