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UCLA Baseball Opens NCAA Regional Versus Creighton on Friday
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  05/31/2012

May 31, 2012

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LOS ANGELES - UCLA has advanced to NCAA postseason play for the sixth time in the last seven years and will host the NCAA Los Angeles Regional for the third consecutive season. The Bruins (42-14) will face Creighton (26-28) on Friday at 7 p.m.

UCLA's baseball team won the 2012 Pac-12 Conference co-championship and earned the NCAA Tournament's automatic bid from the Pac-12 by virtue of winning the season series against Pac-12 co-champion Arizona. UCLA is one of just four schools to have earned an NCAA Regional host for the third consecutive season, along with Florida and South Carolina from the SEC and Virginia from the ACC.

at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium

Friday, June 1
Game 1 - No. 2 San Diego vs. No. 3 New Mexico (3 p.m.) (Video Stream )
Game 2 - No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 4 Creighton (7 p.m.) (Video Stream )

Saturday, June 2
Game 3 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 (3 p.m.)
Game 4 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (7 p.m.)

Sunday, June 3
Game 5 - Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 (3 p.m.)
Game 6 - Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 (7 p.m.)

Monday, June 4
Game 7 - Rematch of Game 6 (if necessary, at 7 p.m.)

No. 1 seed - UCLA (42-14, 20-10 in Pac-12 Conference)
No. 2 seed - San Diego (40-15, 15-9 in West Coast Conference)
No. 3 seed - New Mexico (36-22, 18-6 in Western Athletic Conference)
No. 4 seed - Creighton (26-28, 6-14 in Missouri Valley Conference)

Creighton will send junior left-hander Ty Blach (6-5, 2.64) to the mound for Friday's game. The Bruins will counter with sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko (9-3, 2.79), who made one postseason start in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional last season. Plutko has earned All-Pac-12 team honors as a freshman and sophomore.

LIVE VIDEO, AUDIO AVAILABLE (audio here) | UCLA Broadcast Schedule
UCLA will provide live video of all NCAA Los Angeles Regional games. Live audio of UCLA's games will be available online, through John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Similar to the Bruins' regular-season games, fans will be able to listen to an in-stadium broadcast of UCLA's contests by bringing a portable radio and tuning the dial to 87.7 FM. In addition, live stats of all NCAA Regional games will be available through CBS College Sports (through the Los Angeles Regional Central website - link here).

UCLA has advanced to NCAA postseason play for the sixth time in the last seven years and will host the NCAA Los Angeles Regional for the third consecutive season. The Bruins won the Pac-12 Conference co-championship and earned the NCAA Tournament's automatic bid from the Pac-12 by virtue of winning the season series against Pac-12 co-champion Arizona. UCLA is one of just four schools to have earned an NCAA Regional host for the third consecutive season, along with Florida and South Carolina from the SEC and Virginia from the ACC.

Led by eighth-year head coach John Savage, the Bruins have reached the 40-win plateau for the second time in the last three years and for the eighth time in school history. UCLA enters the NCAA Los Angeles Regional with a 42-14 record, one win shy of its 43-13 regular-season mark from the Bruins' historic 2010 campaign. That season, UCLA opened the year 22-0, closed the regular season with a 19-13 record and went 8-4 in the postseason. Prior to 2010, UCLA had not won as many as 40 games in any season since 1997 (45-21-1 overall).

The Bruins have captured a national seed for the second time in program history, securing the No. 2 spot (UCLA's highest-ever national seed). UCLA earned the No. 6 national seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament after having finished second in the Pac-12 Conference that season. Each year, the top eight programs in the 64-team field are seeded one through eight. Should those national seeded-teams win their respective NCAA Regional, those programs are typically selected to host the following weekend's Super Regional.

UCLA swept crosstown rival USC at Jackie Robinson Stadium last weekend to secure a share of the 2012 Pac-12 Conference title, marking the first time that the Bruins have ever won back-to-back conference championships. The Bruins and Arizona finished the regular season with identical 20-10 conference records. UCLA won the tiebreak over the Wildcats after having defeated Arizona, 2-games-to-1, in a Pac-12 series in Tucson, Ariz., in April. UCLA's 2012 Pac-12 co-championship mark the baseball program's 10th conference title.

Six Bruins have secured All-Pac-12 Conference acclaim, the largest number of selections from UCLA since the 1997 team had seven players chosen. Center fielder Beau Amaral and starting pitcher Adam Plutko have earned their second career all-conference team selections. In addition, relievers David Berg and Scott Griggs, outfielder Jeff Gelalich and catcher Tyler Heineman have earned All-Pac-12 team honors. Reliever Ryan Deeter was named an honorable mention selection. Berg was one of two freshmen (with Oregon State's Michael Conforto) to earn All-Pac-12 team honors.

Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko (9-3, 2.79) will take the mound in UCLA's Regional-opening contest against Creighton on Friday at 7 p.m. Plutko has won each of his last four starts, allowing two runs and 17 hits in that span (0.65 ERA in 27.2 innings). The native of Upland, Calif., has earned All-Pac-12 honors in each of his two seasons with the Bruins after having been a sixth round MLB Draft selection by the Houston Astros in June 2010. Plutko served as UCLA's Sunday starter in 2011, pitching behind eventual first-round draft selections Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer.

Since the start of the 2010 season, UCLA has gone 56-24 in all road and neutral site contests. This spring, the Bruins have gone 20-4 away from home, posting an 11-4 mark in Pac-12 road 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. UCLA has gone 31-11 in Pac-12 Conference road games since 2010. In addition, the Bruins have logged five Pac-12 road sweeps in the last three years (at Washington and California in 2010, at Oregon in 2011, and at Utah and Washington in 2012).

Junior Jeff Gelalich has batted .367 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 56 games. His .367 average ranks second in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 65 in the nation. Gelalich ranks third in the Pac-12 in OBP (.458) and third in hits (79). His younger brother, Matt, is playing for Pepperdine at the NCAA Stanford Regional. Their youngest brother, Danny, is playing for Bonita High School in the CIF Southern Section Division III title game at Dodger Stadium on Friday.

Junior catcher Tyler Heineman has been tabbed as one of 12 semifinalists for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award and was the only catcher selected to the All-Pac-12 Conference team. Heineman ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with a .359 batting average and is second with a .461 on-base percentage. He has totaled 25 RBI and 38 runs in 51 starts (44 as the catcher), having thrown out 19 of 43 attempted base stealers (44.2 percent).

UCLA's trio of junior outfielders (Beau Amaral, Cody Keefer and Jeff Gelalich) has compiled a .321 career batting average (552-for-1718) in 487 combined games played the last three seasons. Amaral and Keefer have served as UCLA's starting center fielder and left fielder, respectively, since the start of their freshman year. Gelalich played in the outfield and served as a designated hitter the last two years before starting in right field this season. Amaral, Keefer and Gelalich have started in the outfield together in 54 of 56 games this season and in 72 career ballgames.

Beau Amaral (CF, Junior - Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Enters the postseason batting .313 with four home runs, five triples, eight doubles, 43 RBI and 58 runs ... ranks second in the Pac-12 Conference with 58 runs, far above his team-leading 37 runs scored in 2011 ... has played in 178 career games, making 171 starts (168 in center field) ... became one of just 24 players in school history to have earned all-conference honors twice or more ... ranks second on UCLA's all-time postseason list for games (16), hits (22) and at-bats (64).

Cody Keefer (LF, Junior - Davis, Calif.)
Enters the postseason batting .338 with 11 doubles, 34 RBI and 35 runs in 55 games (all starts in left field) ... compiled a .320 career batting average with three home runs, 33 doubles, 83 RBI and 93 runs in 158 games ...has not gone hitless in back-to-back games since 2011 (May 29, June 3 during his sophomore season) ... posted a batting average over the .300 pleateau in each of his three seasons at UCLA ... ranks second among all current Bruins with 33 career doubles and 86 career walks.

Jeff Gelalich (RF, Junior - La Verne, Calif.)
Selected as one of 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award (presented to nation's top player) ... leads UCLA and ranks third in the Pac-12 with a .367 batting average; also has nine home runs, 39 RBI ... reached base safely via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch safely in 53 of 56 games this season ... has thrived in the postseason, batting .314 (17-for-52) with three homers, eight RBI and nine runs in 15 games ... currently ranks third in the Pac-12 in on-base percentage (.458) and eighth in slugging (.540).

UCLA's bullpen has gone 15-5 with a 2.29 ERA and 15 saves in a combined 175 appearances this season. Four UCLA pitchers lead the conference in total appearances. David Berg has pitched in a Pac-12 single-season record 43 games (all in relief). Scott Griggs and Ryan Deeter rank second in the Pac-12 with 34 appearances, while Grant Watson enters the postseason with 33 appearances, fourth-highest in the conference.

David Berg (RHP, Freshman - Covina, Calif.)
Has gone 5-3 and leads the Pac-12 in ERA (1.79) and opposing batting average (.175) in 43 appearances ... enters the postseason having pitched in UCLA's last 18 games (1-1, 1.96 ERA, 24 K and 2 BB in that span) ... ranks third in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (5.52), fourth in WHIP (0.86) and 16th in ERA (1.79) ... one of two Pac-12 freshmen named to the all-conference team (with Oregon State's Michael Conforto).

Ryan Deeter (RHP, RS Sophomore - Newark, Calif.)
Has gone 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA, 24 strikeouts and 16 walks in 27.2 innings, all in relief ... named a Capital One Academic All-District VIII selection earlier this season ... among UCLA's best performers in the classroom, is majoring in math/economics ... has not allowed more than three hits or one run in any relief appearance this season.

Scott Griggs (RHP, Junior - Alamo, Calif.)
Ranks second in the Pac-12 and eighth in the nation with 15 saves, UCLA's new single-season record ... named a third-team All-America selection by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball on May 31 ... has tallied 61 strikeouts, second-highest total on UCLA's staff, and 31 walks in 35.2 innings ... secured All-Pac-12 Conference honors for the first time in his career ... has recorded three strikeouts in one inning five times this season

Led by the team's junior class, UCLA has achieved its highest three-year win total (128). Five of the team's juniors played extensively as freshmen in 2010, helping guide UCLA to the finals of the College World Series and to a record-setting 51-win total that season. UCLA won 120 games from 1967 through 1969 and had multiple three-year stints that featured 113 victories. UCLA's 51 wins in 2010 and 42 wins in 2012 are the two highest win totals in the last 15 years.

UCLA has had seven Pac-12 Player/Pitcher of the Week award selections in 15 weeks this season. Beau Amaral (March 26, April 16) and Jeff Gelalich (Feb. 29, March 13) twice captured Player of the Week honors. Adam Plutko (March 13, May 7) twice secured Pitcher of the Week honors. Grant Watson was named Pitcher of the Week (March 20) after having earned two victories in three games during one week.

The Bruins are tied for the nation's best winning percentage away from home (.833, tied with Central Florida, 15-3) going 20-4 in those 24 contests. UCLA completed its midweek schedule with an 11-0 record and has gone 9-0 against Big West Conference opponents this season. The Bruins' only road losses came at Arizona (April 13), at Oregon State (April 21-22) and at California (May 20).

Junior Trevor Brown has emerged as UCLA's most versatile position player. In three years, he has played catcher, first base, second base, third base and right field. This season, he batted .326 with a team-leading 46 RBI in all 56 games. Brown has made 22 career starts at catcher and 38 starts at first base this season. He has started 28 career games at second base (including 24 starts at that position in 2011) and nine at third base. Brown made his debut in the outfield, playing right field, on May 8 in UCLA's 6-2 victory at Pepperdine.

UCLA has gone 1-1 in two previous meetings against Creighton. The two schools faced each other in two games at the 2003 Domino's Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic at Texas A&M in February 2003. UCLA has gone 15-7 in the all-time series against San Diego. The two schools last faced each other on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, with the Toreros earning a 5-3 win at UCLA. John Savage has compiled a 4-6 record against San Diego in 11 seasons as a head coach (at UCLA and UC Irvine). UCLA has gone 3-0 against New Mexico, with the last meeting taking place March 12, 1986 (UCLA won, 6-0).

UCLA was selected fourth in the Pac-12's preseason coaches' poll. Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State earned the top three spots, respectively. The remaining seven teams included (in order) Oregon State, California, Oregon, USC, Washington State, Washington and Utah. UCLA has not finished any lower than third place in the Pac-12 or Pac-10 Conference since 2005. The Bruins won the Pac-10 title in outright fashion last spring for the first time since 1986 (three-way tie in 2000).

UCLA is making its 18th appearance in the NCAA Regionals this season. UCLA head coach John Savage has led the Bruins to NCAA Regionals in six of his eight seasons at the helm. The Bruins have hosted NCAA postseason games in five seasons - 1969, 1986, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Over the past two years, the Bruins have gone 7-3 in 10 postseason contests at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Bruins' 2010 team that advanced to the finals of the College World Series featured several freshman (now juniors) that earned considerable playing time in Omaha. Looking at the Bruins' 2010 roster, 11 players from that season's team remain in 2012. Of those 11 ballplayers, six competed in the 2010 playoffs and just five played in that season's College World Series.

After having played in 12 postseason games in 2010 and four more last season, junior Beau Amaral is among UCLA's leaders in nearly every offensive category in the program's postseason record books. Amaral, Cody Regis and three players from the 2010 team are tied for second with 16 games played. Amaral's 22 career postseason hits are one shy of the all-time record (23, Nick Theodorou). Likewise, Amaral's 64 postseason at-bats trail record-holder Blair Dunlap (71). He leads UCLA with 15 runs scored in playoff games and is tied for the school's record in doubles (6) with Justin Uribe.

Facing a situation in which UCLA had to defeat San Francisco and UC Irvine in the same day to stay alive, then-freshman Adam Plutko was masterful in UCLA's 4-1 win last season against the USF Dons. Plutko allowed one hit in 7.2 shutout innings, He issued one walk in the second inning and did not allow a hit until Travis Higgs opened the fifth with a double. Nick Vander Tuig pitched the final inning and one-third to earn the save. Plutko finished his first and only postseason start with six strikeouts and two walks, making 109 pitches.

UCLA head coach John Savage has posted a 16-12 overall record for the Bruins in five previous trips to the postseason. The Bruins' eighth-year head coach has gone 11-6 at NCAA Regionals, including perfect 3-0 records at the 2007 Long Beach Regional and at the 2010 Los Angeles Regional. Savage has gone 2-3 in two trips to the NCAA Super Regionals and went 3-3 in UCLA's two-week stay in Omaha in 2010.

Beau Amaral earned All-NCAA Regional Team honors in 2010 and 2011, in addition to securing All-CWS Team accolades as a freshman in 2010. Cody Regis earned All-NCAA Regional Team honors and All-CWS Team acclaim as a freshman in 2010. Last season, Amaral, Cody Keefer and Jeff Gelalich captured All-NCAA Regional Team honors at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

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