No. 11 UCLA Baseball Opens Road Trip at Pepperdine on Tuesday

May 7, 2012

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LOS ANGELES - The No. 11 UCLA baseball team opens a stretch of nine road games this week, playing at Pepperdine on Tuesday. Game time in Malibu, Calif., is 3 p.m. The Bruins (31-13) will send left-hander Grant Watson to the mound for Tuesday's meeting versus the Waves (26-18). UCLA has won each of its last five games against Pepperdine.

Tuesday, May 8 - 3 p.m.
UCLA - Grant Watson, LHP, Fr. (8-2, 5.16)
Pepperdine - Matt Maurer, LHP, So. (4-1, 3.56)

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Each game of UCLA's remaining regular-season games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Eddy D. Field Stadium in Malibu, Calif. Live stats of the game will be available through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on

UCLA opens a nine-game stretch of road games this week, starting with Tuesday's game at Pepperdine, the only regular-season contest between the two schools this spring. The Bruins will send freshman left-hander Grant Watson to the mound, and Pepperdine will counter with sophomore left-hander Matt Maurer. Watson has started each of UCLA's previous eight midweek games this season, helping lead the Bruins to a perfect 8-0 record in those matchups. Last spring, UCLA blanked Pepperdine in two midweek contests, 9-0 and 10-0.

Grant Watson has gone 8-2 with a 5.16 ERA during his freshman campaign, having pitched in 26 games (12 starts). Watson has started eight midweek games, in addition to making four starts on the weekend in Pac-12 games. Hailing from Bakersfield, Calif., Watson ranks third in the Pac-12 in pitching appearances (26), having logged 36 strikeouts and 23 walks. He has gone 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA in 37.2 innings during eight midweek games.

Jeff Gelalich leads the Pac-12 with a .386 batting average and .474 on-base percentage. The junior outfielder from La Verne, Calif., ranks first in the conference in stolen bases (15), fifth in hits (64) and ninth in slugging percentage (.542). Tyler Heineman ranks third in on-base percentage (.472) and ninth in batting average (.361). As a team, UCLA is second in the Pac-12 with a .306 batting average and .394 on-base percentage.

UCLA has 12 games remaining with three weeks to go in the regular season. The Bruins will play a three-game series at Washington this weekend (May 11-13), with the series opener to take place Friday night at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. Next week, UCLA plays at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday night before traveling for a three-game Pac-12 series at California that weekend (May 18-20). The Bruins will play at UC Irvine the next Tuesday (May 24) and will close the regular season at home with three games versus USC (May 25-27).

The Bruins won two of three games against then-No. 13 Purdue last weekend, collecting their fifth series victory this season against a top-25 ranked team. UCLA has gone 8-4 in weekend series this year, compiling a 5-2 series record against ranked teams. Adam Plutko allowed one run and two hits in 8.1 innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday, leading the Bruins past Purdue, 5-1. UCLA won Game 2 by a 3-2 margin that evening. In Sunday's finale, Purdue erased a 10-5 deficit with 10 runs in the top of the inning and held on to win, 15-11.

UCLA's three outfielders, all juniors who hit left-handed, enter Tuesday's game at Pepperdine batting above the .330 plateau. Jeff Gelalich has started all 44 games in right field, batting .386 with six home runs and 30 RBI. His brother, freshman Matt Gelalich, plays in the outfield for Pepperdine. Beau Amaral has been UCLA's starting center field the last three seasons and is batting .332 with four homers and a conference-best 50 runs. Cody Keefer, UCLA's left fielder, has batted .360 with nine doubles, 29 RBI and a .437-on base percentage in 43 games.

Beau Amaral has served as UCLA's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter in all 44 games this season. Amaral ranks fourth on the team with a .332 batting average and leads the Bruins with 17 extra-base hits (four home runs, five triples and eight doubles). He has scored a conference-best 50 runs, a total which already eclipses his team-leading 37 runs scored last season. Amaral tallied a career-long 21-game hitting streak earlier this season (March 11-April 21), during which he batted at a .432 clip (38-for-88).

Since the start of the 2010 season, UCLA has gone 48-23 in all road and neutral site contests. The Bruins have opened this season with a 12-3 record away from home, posting a 6-3 mark on the road in Pac-12 games. Last year, UCLA went 14-13 in road/neutral site games, while in 2010 the Bruins went 15-4 on the road and 7-3 at neutral sites. In conference action, UCLA has tallied a 26-10 road record since 2010.

Freshman right-hander David Berg leads the Pac-12 with a 1.53 ERA and .173 opposing batting average, having pitched in a conference-best 31 games. Berg has become one of three pitchers in school history to have appeared in at least 30 games as a freshman. Rob Henkel (1997) and Chuck Yaeger (1981) hold the freshman season record with 34 appearances. Berg has pitched in UCLA's last six games and nine of the team's last 11 contests.

Junior Trevor Brown has batted .294 with three home runs, a team-high 37 RBI and nine doubles. Over the last three seasons, he has emerged as UCLA's most versatile position player. Brown, a former standout at Hart High School, has made 18 career starts at catcher and 36 starts at first base this season, after having started 24 games at second base in 2011. In addition he has made seven career starts as UCLA's third baseman. Brown has also spent time in summer collegiate leagues playing as the team's starting shortstop.

Through 12 weeks, UCLA has had seven Pac-12 Player/Pitcher of the Week award selections. Beau Amaral (March 26, April 16) and Jeff Gelalich (Feb. 29, March 13) have twice captured Player of the Week honors. Adam Plutko (March 13, May 7) has twice secured Pitcher of the Week honors this season. Grant Watson was named Pitcher of the Week (March 20) after logging two wins in three games.

Sophomore right-hander Ryan Deeter has secured Capital One Academic All-District VIII team honors, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Deeter has gone 12-0 with a 0.79 ERA in 22.2 innings. The Bruins' reliever from Newark, Calif., ranks second among Pac-12 pitchers with 27 apperaances (all in relief). Deeter has logged 19 strikeouts and 11 walks, limiting the opposition to a .197 batting average.

UCLA will play Washington at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, the night of Friday, May 11. That game will mark the Bruins' seventh contest played in a Major League Baseball stadium since the start of the 2009 season. UCLA played three games at Minute Maid Park (Houston) in 2009. The Bruins have played one game at Dodger Stadium each of the last three seasons (2010-2012). UCLA has gone 2-4 in those six games.

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