April 29, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team returns to the road for a three-game Pac-10 series at Oregon beginning Friday, May 1. The Bruins (20-21, 11-7 Pac-10) have not faced Oregon (13-29, 3-12 Pac-10) since 1979 and have not played the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., since 1969. Winners of 10 of their last 14 games, the Bruins will send right-hander Gerrit Cole to the hill for Friday afternoon's series opener. UCLA looks to right-hander Trevor Bauer for Saturday's 11 a.m. contest before closing the series Sunday afternoon with right-hander Charles Brewer on the mound.
SERIES VS. OREGON: UCLA leads, 11-2
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: UCLA, two wins
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, May 1 (3 p.m.)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, Fr. (4-3, 3.99)
Oregon - Erik Stavert, RHP, Jr. (4-3, 2.63)
Saturday, May 2 (11 a.m.)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, Fr. (6-3, 2.60)
Oregon - Tyler Anderson, LHP, Fr. (2-5, 5.11)
Sunday, May 3 (1 p.m.)
UCLA - Charles Brewer, RHP, Jr. (2-4, 3.83)
Oregon - TBA
- UCLA enters this weekend's series at Oregon having won 10 of its last 14 games.
- Cody Decker (15 HR, 37 RBI) and Casey Haerther (7 HR, 32 RBI) have led the Bruins' offense in 2009.
- Right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA's pitching staff with six wins, a 2.60 ERA and 69.1 innings pitched.
- Right-hander Gerrit Cole has logged a team-high 78 strikeouts (56.1 inn.) and a .197 opponent average.
- UCLA has picked up its pace in Pac-10 play, posting victories in five of its last six conference contests.
- Left-hander Gavin Brooks has recorded three saves in the last four games, having notched eight this spring.
OFF TO OREGON
UCLA plays its first games against Oregon this weekend since the university chose to reinstate baseball as an NCAA sport in the summer of 2007 (dropped following the 1981 season). The Bruins went 11-2 in 13 meetings against the Ducks from 1967 through 1979. UCLA has played at Oregon three times - the Bruins earned a 4-1 win May 9, 1969 and swept a doubleheader against the Ducks on May 13, 1967 (10-2, 3-0). The Bruins last faced Oregon on March 24, 1979, when UCLA won both games of a doubleheader (14-3, 5-4). The first two games of the series will feature a live video broadcast available online (fee required) at goducks.com. The series finale on Sunday will air live on Comcast SportsNet Northwest (local cable network).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Right-hander Gerrit Cole has earned the role as UCLA's Friday night starter, as he leads the Bruins with 78 strikeouts in 56.1 innings (12.5 K/9 IP average). The former standout pitcher at Orange Lutheran High School has gone 4-3 in 10 starts, registering a 3.99 ERA and .197 opponent batting average, tops on the Bruins' staff. Two weeks ago, Cole limited Washington (April 17) to one hit and two unearned runs in eight innings, logging a career-high 13 strikeouts in a 4-2 UCLA victory. Last month, he notched 12 strikeouts in five innings at East Carolina (March 13) before a rain delay forced the right-hander out of the contest. Through Tuesday's action, Cole ranked third in the Pac-10 in opponent batting average (.197) and tied for fourth in strikeouts (78).
THE BAUER FILE
Right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA with six wins (6-3 record), a 2.60 ERA and 69.1 innings. After opening the season as a go-to relief pitcher, Bauer continued to blossom as a midweek starter before entering the weekend rotation at Washington State (April 5). He has gone 4-0 in Pac-10 play, posting a 2.75 ERA in conference action. The freshman from Valencia, Calif., has limited the opposition to a .226 batting average, compiling 65 strikeouts and 15 walks. As a starting pitcher, he has gone 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA, 40 strikeouts and seven walks in 43.2 innings. Bauer has twice earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors in his freshman campaign, becoming the first Bruin pitcher to earn the award twice in one season since Tyson Brummett (2007).
Senior first baseman Cody Decker earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors Monday for the second time this season. UCLA's team leader in home runs (15) and RBI (37), Decker went 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers and five RBI in four games last week. Decker became the first Bruin to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice or more in one season since 2000 (Forrest Johnson). With his 41st career home run on Saturday, Decker moved into sole possession of eighth place on UCLA's all-time home runs list, surpassing Colorado Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins, who belted 40 round-trippers from 1998-2000. The resident of Santa Monica, Calif., has become the first Bruin to hit at least six homers in each of four seasons since current Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes belted 48 home runs from 1995-98.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Junior third baseman Casey Haerther leads the Bruins with a .333 average and ranks second on the team with seven home runs and 32 RBI. The resident of Chatsworth, Calif., logged a career-high five RBI in a 2-for-4 effort against Long Beach State on Tuesday. Haerther's first-inning grand slam put UCLA ahead, 4-0, before he notched his fifth RBI of the game in the third inning. Haerther has belted two grand slams this spring (one vs. Long Beach State, one at USC on March 21) and boasts a .504 slugging percentage. Haerther was named Pac-10 Player of the week on March 24 after going 7-for-14 with two home runs and eight RBI in a three-game series at USC. He leads all active UCLA players in career batting average (.312) and doubles (30).
GOT `EM SWINGING
Through Wednesday's games, UCLA's pitching staff ranks second among all Pac-10 clubs with 386 strikeouts (trails Arizona State by two strikeouts). The Bruins' hurlers have averaged 9.62 strikeouts per nine innings. Additionally, UCLA has notched 10 or more strikeouts in 18 games. UCLA totaled a season-best 17 strikeouts in an 8-6 win in the second game of doubleheader at East Carolina (March 13). Freshmen right-handers Gerrit Cole (12) and Trevor Bauer (5) combined for the 17 punchouts. Through Tuesday's games Cole ranks fourth (tied) and Bauer, sixth, in strikeouts among Pac-10 pitchers.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks has tied Arizona's Jason Stoffel for the Pac-10 lead in saves with eight. Brooks has become the first Bruin pitcher to register eight saves since Jake Meyer led UCLA with eight in 1997. The left-hander from Vista, Calif., has recorded the save in three of UCLA's last four games. Since assuming the role as UCLA's closer, Brooks has compiled a 2.73 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 13 walks in 26.1 innings. Brooks' most dominant outing of the season came in a five-inning no-hit relief stint at Oklahoma (March 8).
Junior Blair Dunlap has logged a .281 batting average as the Bruins' starting center fielder in all 41 games. He leads the Bruins with 15 doubles and ranks third on the club with six home runs, 28 RBI and 32 runs. He belted a grand slam in UCLA's 13-0 victory against Washington (April 18) before blasting a three-run line drive homer in the team's 6-3 win the following afternoon. He leads UCLA with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Dunlap earned All-Malibu Regional Team honors in 2006 and All-Fullerton Regional Team accolades in 2008. The Mission Viejo, Calif., resident has tallied five of his six homers and 18 of his 28 RBI in Pac-10 action.
STARTING ON SUNDAYS
Junior right-hander Charles Brewer from Paradise Valley, Ariz., has gone 2-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) this spring. Brewer has registered 55 strikeouts and 14 walks in 54.0 innings, the third-highest total on the staff. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts. Brewer has pitched 6.0 innings or more in three of his last four starts. The former standout at Chaparral High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has compiled a 2.96 ERA with 21 strikeouts and one walk in his last four starts (24.1 innings). In six Pac-10 games (all starts), Brewer has gone 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA, 30 strikeouts and six walks in 33.1 innings.
UCLA's double-play combination of shortstop Niko Gallego and second baseman Eddie Murray have steadied the Bruins up the middle and in the lineup this spring. Murray ranks third on the club with a .316 batting average and first with a .478 on-base percentage. Murray leads UCLA with 29 walks and 14 hit-by-pitches and has provided some pop in the Bruins' leadoff spot, totaling two homers, two triples and 12 doubles. Gallego enters this weekend's series with a .268 batting average. The former standout at Esperanza High School has collected 18 RBI and 21 runs and has hit at a .333 clip (21-for-63) in Pac-10 contests.
Senior first baseman Cody Decker ranks eighth on UCLA's career home runs list with 41 (trails Ryan McGuire, 47). Senior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has climbed up UCLA's career pitching appearances list. The reliever from Riverside, Calif., has moved into third place on the appearances list (90), trailing Chuck Yeager (111) and Bill Wenrick (119). Senior right-hander Jason Novak ranks seventh on the same list, having pitched in 82 career games. Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks is tied with four other players for 10th place on the career saves list (8), and is tied for fifth on the single-season saves list (8).
UCLA's 17-2 win at USC on Monday, March 23, proved to be a milestone victory in the crosstown rivalry's all-time series. The Bruins set a UCLA program record for margin of victory against the Trojans in the historic, 82-year history of the baseball rivalry. UCLA's previous high for margin of victory against USC was 14 runs, established in an 18-4 victory on May 17, 1955. That win also handed UCLA its ninth win over USC in the teams' last 12 meetings. Additionally, UCLA has won three of the last four season series against USC and has not dropped a season series to its crosstown rival since being swept in 2005 (tied, 2-2, in 2008).
Following this weekend's series against Oregon, the Bruins will play Cal State Bakersfield next Tuesday for the first time in school history. Game time against Cal State Bakersfield is 6 p.m. The following weekend, UCLA opens its final home Pac-10 series of the season as the California Golden Bears travel to Los Angeles. The Bruins face California on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Following the Pac-10 series against California, UCLA will host Long Beach State on a Tuesday evening before opening a three-game series May 15-17 against Cal State Fullerton (Friday, at Fullerton; Saturday and Sunday, at UCLA).
IN HONOR OF JACK
A circular black patch with the initials "JG" adorn the left sleeve of UCLA's uniforms in 2009, in honor of the late Jack Gifford. Among the UCLA baseball program's most loyal and passionate supporters, Gifford played for the Bruins alongside former head coach Gary Adams in the early 1960s. Gifford, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2009, and his wife Rhodine generously funded the construction of UCLA's state-of-the-art hitting facility. Named in their honor - the Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility - the practice complex stands 23-feet high behind the right field fence and spans 10,500-square feet.
MAJOR LEAGUE BRUINS
Four Bruins opened the season on major league rosters, and two former UCLA players began the year on the 15-day disabled list. Among those playing in the big-league ranks this spring include Garrett Atkins (Colorado Rockies), Eric Byrnes (Arizona Diamondbacks), Ben Francisco (Cleveland Indians) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies). Former UCLA standouts Troy Glaus (St. Louis Cardinals) and Casey Janssen (Toronto Blue Jays) have opened the 2009 campaign on the 15-day disabled list. UCLA has three former players pitching at the triple-A minor league level - David Huff (Columbus Clippers, Cleveland) and Josh Roenicke (Louisville Bats, Cincinnati), who both starred at UCLA as recently as 2006, as well as Dave Johnson (Memphis Sounds, Milwaukee).