April 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA hosts UNLV on Tuesday evening in the Bruins' final game of a 13-game homestand. Sophomore right-hander Garett Claypool will take the hill for the host Bruins, who will travel to face Washington this weekend (April 25-27). The Bruins (19-16) last faced UNLV (18-20) in mid-week action during the 2006 season, as UCLA prevailed by a 16-2 margin.
Tuesday, April 22 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
UNLV's Stephen Singer, RHP, So. (0-1, 11.35) vs. UCLA's Garett Claypool, RHP, So. (1-1, 4.22)
ABOUT THE REBELS
UNLV enters Tuesday's game with an 18-20 record after having won two of three games at home against San Diego State last weekend. The Rebels, at 7-8 in the Mountain West Conference, are led by junior third baseman Xavier Scruggs (.430 avg, 14 HR, 49 RBI) and junior left fielder Jesse Wight (.360 avg, 9 2B, 14 RBI). UNLV has recorded a .322 average and 7.26 ERA in 38 games. Rebels' head coach Buddy Gouldsmith has totaled a 143-139 record, midway through his fifth season at UNLV. UCLA has logged a 24-12 all-time record against UNLV - the Bruins won the last meeting, 16-2, on March 14, 2006.
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
UCLA will send right-hander Garett Claypool to the mound against UNLV on Tuesday. Claypool has made 11 appearances, including three starts (all in Tuesday evening games). The West Hills, Calif., resident has logged a 4.22 ERA in 21.1 innings, totaling 17 strikeouts and limiting hitters to a .240 average. In three starts, Claypool has registered a 3.09 ERA and .225 opponent batting average in 11.2 innings. Last week, Claypool absorbed the loss in a 4-0 setback at home to Cal State Northridge (April 15). Claypool earned the victory in a 6-2 win over San Diego State (April 1), allowing one hit and one run in five innings.
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 at Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25) will be carried live online. All remaining regular-season games, including Tuesday's game against UNLV, can be followed live through CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com.
CARRITHERS KEEPS PACE
Second baseman Alden Carrithers leads the Bruins with a .390 batting average, having started all 35 games. The Portland, Ore., native also leads the ballclub with 55 hits, 141 at-bats, 28 runs (tied), three triples (tied), 34 RBI, 82 total bases, a .582 slugging percentage, 14 stolen bases and four sacrifice flies. Carrithers' .390 average ranks sixth in the Pac-10. In addition, Carrithers ranks fourth in the conference with 55 hits, 10th in on-base percentage (.451) and first in stolen bases (14). Carrithers has hit safely in 29 of 35 games, having posted separate hit streaks of 11 games and 10 games earlier this season.
First baseman Casey Haerther has batted .459 (28-for-61) in the Bruins' last 14 games, totaling five home runs, nine doubles, 17 RBI and 13 runs. Haerther and outfielder Gabe Cohen are tied for the team lead with six home runs. Haerther enters Tuesday's game against UNLV with a .326 batting average, 12 doubles, one triple, 29 RBI and 28 runs (tied with Alden Carrithers for the team lead). In the Bruins' 8-2 win over Stanford on Sunday, Haerther went 2-for-4 with one home run and two runs scored. Haerther is hitting at a .389 clip (14-for-36) with two home runs, five doubles, seven RBI and seven runs in Pac-10 play.
TOP OF THE PACK
Third baseman Jermaine Curtis leads all Bruins with a .400 batting average in Pac-10 play. Curtis also leads the team in conference action with a .463 on-base percentage. The Fontana, Calif., resident has started at third base in all 35 games this season, posting a .304 batting average and .429 on-base percentage. Curtis is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 with 11 doubles and ranks seventh in the conference with 23 walks. In 122 career games, Curtis has logged a .323 batting average, totaling 70 RBI and 92 runs.
Left-hander Matt Drummond had two strong outings in relief last weekend against Stanford. Entering the game Friday with UCLA trailing 3-1, Drummond allowed one unearned run and two hits in four innings, recording a career-high five strikeouts while issuing two walks. In Sunday's 8-2 victory against the Cardinal, Drummond hurled three shutout innings in relief, recording his first collegiate save. In that appearance, Drummond collected four strikeouts and scattered four hits without issuing a walk. The Paso Robles, Calif., resident has registered a 4.54 ERA and 2-2 record in 13 appearances (three starts).
NO LAUGHING MATTER
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty has emerged as one of the Bruins' most dependable and durable relievers this spring. Having made a team-high 18 appearances (all in relief), Lafferty has logged a 3.86 ERA and 1-1 record, totaling 35 strikeouts and 17 walks in 39.2 innings. In the Bruins' 6-1 loss to Stanford on Saturday, Lafferty scattered five hits in 4.1 scoreless innings of relief, recording four strikeouts and one walk. The Riverside, Calif., resident has competed with UCLA longer than any other player (only Bruin from `05 squad). Lafferty made 15 appearances in 2005, redshirted in 2006, and led the team with 25 appearances in 2007.
SHUT THAT DOOR
Anchored by the strong performances of left-handers Matt Drummond and Brendan Lafferty, UCLA's bullpen limited Stanford to one unearned run and 11 hits in 11.1 innings, totaling 13 strikeouts and issuing just three walks. In the Bruins' last four games, the bullpen has allowed just one earned run and 14 hits through 16.2 innings. Right-hander J.D. Haver limited Cal State Northridge to two runs (one earned) and two hits in 3.2 innings of relief on April 15. Later in that game, Lafferty hurled 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three batters.
THREE IN A ROW
Left-hander Gavin Brooks has earned the victory in each of his last three starts. Brooks has recorded a 4-2 record and 4.72 ERA in eight starts, collecting 41 strikeouts in 47.2 innings. The Vista, Calif., resident has limited the opposition to a .229 average. In UCLA's 8-2 win against Stanford on Sunday, the left-hander allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, logging six strikeouts. Brooks hurled three consecutive complete games to end his freshman season, leading the Bruins to wins against Oregon State and Illinois-Chicago (NCAA Regional), before striking out 12 in a 2-1 elimination loss to Cal State Fullerton (Super Regional).
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 four 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).
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 100-110 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 12 wins shy of his 200th career victory as a college baseball head coach (187-194-1 career record).
The Bruins have posted a 14-2 record when scoring five or more runs. When scoring three runs or fewer, UCLA has gone 1-10. UCLA has scored 10 or more runs in eight games this spring. The Bruins scored a season-high 22 runs against Cal State Northridge (Feb. 26) and cranked out a season-best 26 hits versus UC Riverside (April 12) earlier this season. Both of those totals are the most since May 25, 1997, when UCLA totaled 31 hits in a 22-2 NCAA Regional victory against Oklahoma State.
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 (142), making 137 starts. Babineau has committed two errors in 1,127 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).
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 cost just two dollars. The remaining Tuesday night games include non-conference opponents UNLV (April 22) and San Diego (May 6). The Bruins have tallied a 2-2 mark in four home games on Tuesday evenings this season.
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.
Left-hander Matt Grace has limited the opposition to a .158 batting average in nine relief appearances. Grace, who hails from nearby Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., has registered eight strikeouts in 11.2 innings, surrendering just three runs and six hits. In the resumed portion of UCLA's win over Cal State Northridge (completed April 15), Grace hurled two shutout innings in relief as the Bruins coasted to a 22-2 win. The freshman southpaw captured CIF Division IV Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2006.
BACK TO WORK
In his fourth season at the helm of the program, head coach John Savage has the Bruin baseball program headed in the right direction. UCLA finished its 2007 season with its first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals since 2000. The Bruins dropped both games to Cal State Fullerton, by scores of 12-2 and 2-1. UCLA advanced to the Super Regionals after winning the Long Beach Regional, recording wins over No. 3-seed Pepperdine (7-3), No. 4-seed Illinois-Chicago (3-1) and No. 1-seed Long Beach State (7-4) at Blair Field. Last year, the Bruins advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season. No UCLA baseball team has made three straight postseason appearances.
Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of the 2008 season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). 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 and is expected to return in early May. 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).