April 14, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA hosts Cal State Northridge on Tuesday at 6 p.m., after resuming a previously-suspended contest at 4:30 p.m. Both games will take place at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. In the full game (6 p.m.), the Bruins look for their fourth consecutive victory and their fifth win in six games. UCLA's game at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 26 was suspended after the top of the eighth inning due to darkness.
Tuesday, April 15 - 4:30 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
CSUN vs. UCLA, resumed game from Feb. 26 - UCLA leads, 22-2, bottom of 8th inning
Tuesday, April 15 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
CSUN's Billy Ott, RHP, So. (0-2, 5.74) vs. UCLA's Garett Claypool, RHP, So. (1-0, 4.58)
SERIES VS. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
UCLA leads the all-time series against Cal State Northridge, 27-26-1. Last spring, the Bruins swept a three-game weekend series against the Matadors at Jackie Robinson Stadium. After a rainout on Friday, UCLA won both games of a Saturday doubleheader by scores of 8-3 and 6-5. The following afternoon, the Bruins recorded a 12-8 win in the series finale. Under head coach John Savage, the Bruins have tallied a 5-1 record against Cal State Northridge.
ON THE WEB
All UCLA 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 Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25) will be carried live online. All remaining regular-season games, including this week's action against Cal State Northridge (April 15) and Stanford (April 18-20) can be followed live through CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com.
Casey Haerther went 10-for-15 (.667) in three weekend games against UC Riverside and finished the week going 11-for-20 (.550) with three home runs, nine RBI and six runs. Haerther has hit at a .469 clip in UCLA's last 11 games, totaling four home runs, 11 runs, 16 RBI and seven doubles in that span. The Chatsworth, Calif., resident went 3-for-4 Friday, 4-for-6 Saturday and 3-for-5 Sunday. Haerther set a UCLA and Pac-10 record for hits in a game, going 7-for-7 in the Bruins' 20-8 win at Arizona (March 29).
The top four hitters in UCLA's batting lineup last weekend - Alden Carrithers, Jermaine Curtis, Brandon Crawford and Casey Haerther - went 29-for-52 (.558) in three games, totaling four home runs, two triples, eight doubles, 21 RBI and 18 runs. In the Bruins' 18-7 rout of UC Riverside on Saturday, three hitters (Carrithers, Crawford and Haerther) totaled four hits and Curtis registered three hits. On the season, those four Bruins have combined to hit at a .337 clip (160-for-474). The top four hitters in the Bruins' lineup also comprise the four highest batting averages on the team, through 30 games.
CRUISIN' ON THE 405
Alden Carrithers leads the Bruins with a .405 batting average through 30 games. The senior from Portland, Ore., went 8-for-17 with five runs and seven RBI in four games last week. Entering mid-week action, Carrithers ranks third among all Pac-10 players in batting average, tied for first in stolen bases (13), seventh in hits (49) and on-base percentage (.465), ninth in total bases (76) and 10th in slugging percentage (.628). Carrithers leads the Bruins in all the aforementioned offensive categories and has hit safely in 26 of UCLA's 30 games. Carrithers boasts a .370 career batting average at UCLA (131-for-254).
Brandon Crawford has posted a .333 batting average in 30 starts this season. The Bruins' starting shortstop has collected 40 hits in 120 at-bats, tallying four home runs, 24 RBI, 26 runs and eight stolen bases. Crawford's batting average is the second-highest mark on the team, and the junior is tied with Alden Carrithers for the team lead with 26 runs and three triples. The Pleasanton, Calif., resident was one of 75 players to be named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Crawford was also named a preseason All-American by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
The Bruins have posted a 13-2 record when scoring five or more runs. When scoring three runs or fewer, UCLA has logged a 1-9 mark. UCLA has scored 10 or more runs in seven games this spring. Last weekend, UCLA won, 18-7, in the second of three games against UC Riverside (April 12), registering 26 hits in that win - the Bruins last registered 26 or more hits on May 25, 1997, collecting 31 hits in a 22-2 NCAA Regional victory against Oklahoma State that propelled UCLA to the College World Series.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Right-hander Garett Claypool has fared well under the lights in midweek starts. Claypool has logged a 4-0 career record as a midweek starter, posting a 2.15 ERA, 28 strikeouts and a .206 opponent batting average in those games (seven starts in 2007, two starts in 2008). Last week, the West Hills, Calif., resident allowed two runs and four hits in three innings and did not earn a decision against UC Irvine (April 8). The Bruins dropped the contest, 6-5, in 10 innings after having rallied from a 5-0 deficit.
DOWN THE ROAD
UCLA will welcome Pac-10 contender Stanford to Jackie Robinson Stadium for three games this weekend. The Bruins will play a Pac-10 series each weekend for the remainder of the season. UCLA swept Stanford at Sunken Diamond (Palo, Alto, Calif.) last spring as the Bruins cruised to their best start in Pac-10 history, winning 10 of 11 games to start conference play. Friday's game is slated for a 6 p.m. start. The Bruins and Cardinal get underway on Saturday at 2 p.m. before concluding the three-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. UCLA looks for its fifth consecutive win against Stanford when the two schools meet on Friday.
ACE ON THE LEADERBOARD
Left-hander Tim Murphy, the Bruins' ace, leads all Pac-10 pitchers with 66 strikeouts. The Vista, Calif., resident has thrown 57.2 innings, the second-highest total among Pac-10 pitchers. Murphy picked up his third victory of the season against UC Riverside (April 11), limiting the Highlanders to one run and four hits in seven innings while striking out eight hitters. Murphy also leads all Pac-10 arms with 30 strikeouts looking. Earlier this season, Murphy recorded a pitching streak of 20.0 scoreless innings.
KEEPING IT GOIN'
Jermaine Curtis hit at a .467 clip in four games last week, going 7-for-15 with three runs, three RBI, one double and one triple. Curtis, who posted a .500 batting average in three wins against UC Riverside, went 3-for-5 in the Bruins' 18-7 win on Saturday afternoon. Having started at third base in all 30 games, Curtis has registered a .288 batting average and .414 on-base percentage, collecting 24 runs, 13 RBI and eight doubles. In six Pac-10 games, Curtis is hitting a .400 clip (10-for-25) with two doubles and one triple.
UCLA has posted a 2-2 record in four extra-inning ballgames this season. The Bruins did not play any extra-inning games in 2007. Two of the team's first three games this year were extra-inning affairs. UCLA lost a 12-inning game, 3-2, to Oklahoma in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader on Feb. 23. The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in 13 innings on Feb. 27, a game that lasted five hours and 35 minutes. UCLA edged Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings on March 28 in the Bruins' Pac-10 season opener. UC Irvine downed the Bruins, 6-5, in 10 innings on April 8 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins last played an extra inning game of 13 innings or longer on April 18, 2003, when UCLA won at Arizona State, 8-7 (13 innings).
UCLA's offense erupted for five home runs in an 18-7 win over UC Riverside on April 12. Led by Casey Haerther's two blasts, the most by any Bruin in a game this spring, UCLA was able to record its first five-home-run game since March 5, 2006, when five different players went yard in a 13-2 victory at N.C. State. The Bruins finished the three-game set against UC Riverside hitting at a .451 clip, collecting 32 runs, 51 hits, 12 doubles, three triples and five homers. UCLA stole seven bases on eight attempts against the Highlanders and logged a .488 on-base percentage.
Junior Ryan Babineau has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. Babineau has caught more games than any Pac-10 catcher (138), making 133 starts. Babineau has committed two errors in 1,091 chances (.998 pct.), throwing out 39 of 94 attempted base stealers (41.5 pct). This season, opponents have attemped to steal off Babineau 12 times (five successfully). As a freshman, he earned All-Pac-10 team honors. Last spring, Babineau was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection.
HAERTHER MAKES HISTORY
First baseman Casey Haerther recorded a UCLA and Pac-10 Conference record seven hits in seven plate appearances in a 20-8 win at Arizona on March 29. Haerther registered career highs with four doubles, four runs and four RBI. The Chatsworth, Calif., resident finished the weekend going 9-for-14 (.643) with four doubles, one home run, six RBI and 16 total bases. In the final two games at Arizona, Haerther raised his batting average 85 points (.203 to .288).
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty has made a team-high 16 appearances through 30 games. Lafferty collected his second save of the year in UCLA's 20-8 win at Arizona, hurling three scoreless innings while striking out four hitters. Lafferty has compiled a 1-1 record and 4.54 ERA in 33.2 innings, the fourth-highest total on the club. Lafferty has recorded 28 strikeouts and issued 16 walks. The Riverside, Calif., resident has competed with UCLA longer than any other player (only current player from the 2005 squad). Lafferty made 15 appearances in 2005, redshirted the 2006 season, and led the team with 25 appearances last spring.
PROJECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Baseball America tabbed UCLA as its preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 Conference. The national baseball publication predicts the Bruins to finish ahead of Arizona, Oregon State and Arizona State, respectively. 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.
TWO DOLLAR TUESDAYS
All season long, tickets to Tuesday evening games at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium will cost just two dollars. The remaining Tuesday night games include non-conference opponents Cal State Northridge (April 15), UNLV (April 22) and San Diego (May 6). Fans can gain admission for two dollars to both of this week's Tuesday games against Cal State Northridge (the continued portion at 4:30 and the 6 p.m. game).
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.
Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of the 2008 season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). Uribe's season-ending injury will require surgery. Freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen will miss two weeks with a fractured left foot (return expected early May). Rasmussen sustained the injury on a line drive in the third inning against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 27). Freshman right-hander Dan Klein remains inactive with shoulder soreness. Freshman outfielder Jeff Rapoport (shoulder) missed the 2007 season with a shoulder injury and may return later this spring. Freshman right-hander Erik Goeddel (elbow) and junior right-hander Tim Schlatter (shoulder) remain sidelined.