May 7, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team plays its final home Pac-10 series this weekend, hosting California (20-26, 6-15 Pac-10) for a three-game set beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The Bruins look to win their sixth conference series in eight attempts when they take on the Golden Bears at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA has won each of the past two series against California, capturing the first two games in the annual three-game set in 2007 and 2008. UCLA (23-22, 13-8 Pac-10) enters this weekend's series in second place in the conference standings, trailing Arizona State by three games.
SERIES VS. CALIFORNIA: California leads, 166-162
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: California, one win
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, May 8 (6 p.m.)
California - Erik Johnson, RHP, Fr. (3-5, 5.19)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, Fr. (4-4, 3.64)
Saturday, May 9 (2 p.m.)
California - TBA
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, Fr. (7-3, 2.53)
Sunday, May 10 (1 p.m.)
California - TBA
UCLA - Charles Brewer, RHP, Jr. (3-4, 3.60)
TICKETS AND RADIO
Admission to home games at Jackie Robinson Stadium costs seven dollars for adults and five dollars for children. The stadium is located on the grounds of the Veteran Administration in West Los Angeles on Constitution Avenue (north of Wilshire Blvd, west of Sepulveda Blvd.). For fans unable to attend, UCLA offers a free, live audio broadcast of each home game online, available at uclabruins.com.
- UCLA has won 13 of its last 18 games, including seven of its previous nine Pac-10 contests.
- The Bruins have won seven of their 10 three-game weekend series and have three weekends remaining.
- UCLA has equaled its 13-win total in Pac-10 games from 2008, having gone 13-8 in conference action.
- The Bruins have spent seven of 11 weekends playing series on the road (six involving air travel).
- A series victory against California would help UCLA secure its most Pac-10 series victories (6) since 2000.
- Right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA's staff with seven wins and two complete games in 78.1 innings.
- Infielders Cody Decker (15 HR, 38 RBI) and Casey Haerther (8 HR, 35 RBI) have helped provide the power.
SERIES AT A GLANCE
UCLA enters the weekend having won seven of their last nine Pac-10 contests. The Bruins' team batting average (.284) and team ERA (4.23) each rank fourth in the conference. California arrives in Los Angeles with the second-highest team batting average (.302) and ranks last in team ERA (5.97). UCLA will send freshmen right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer to the hill on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before junior right-hander Charles Brewer makes the start Sunday in the series finale. California will send freshman right-hander Erik Johnson to the mound for the series opener on Friday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
AROUND THE PAC
After winning the final two of three games at Oregon last weekend, UCLA have moved into second place in the Pac-10 Conference. UCLA (13-8) trails conference leader Arizona State (16-5) by three games and stands one-half game ahead of Oregon State (11-7) and Washington State (11-7). Washington (10-8) currently assumes fifth-place, while Stanford (10-11) and USC (10-11) are tied for sixth. Arizona (8-13), California (6-15) and Oregon (4-14) round out the conference's 10 teams. The Bruins rank fourth in the Pac-10 in batting average (.284), hits (434), RBI (249, tied), slugging percentage (.440) and on-base percentage (.385).
This weekend's series between UCLA and California will feature two teams who have displayed plenty of power in 2009. California leads the Pac-10 with 61 home runs, and UCLA ranks fourth with 45. The Bruins, who belted a season-high four homers against Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday, are led in that department by Cody Decker (15) and Casey Haerther (8). Blair Dunlap (6) and Gabe Cohen (5) rank third and fourth on the team, as Cohen notched the third multiple-home run game of his career on Tuesday, blasting a home run in each of his first two plate appearances. California's Mark Canha leads the Golden Bears with 12 homers, Blake Smith has tallied 10, and Brett Jackson, Jeff Kobernus and Dylan Tonneson have each belted seven.
GOT `EM SWINGING
UCLA's pitching staff ranks second in the Pac-10 with 410 strikeouts. Arizona State leads the pack with 421, and California follows UCLA with 374. Right-hander Gerrit Cole has collected a team-leading 82 strikeouts, fifth-most in the conference. Right-hander Trevor Bauer has registered 69 strikeouts in a team-leading 78.1 innings, tied for the Pac-10's seventh-highest strikeout total. Additionally, UCLA has notched 10 or more strikeouts in 19 games. Cole (12 K) and Bauer (5 K) combined for UCLA's season-high 17 strikeouts in an 8-6 win in the second game of a doubleheader at East Carolina (March 13).
PROOF IS IN THE PITCHING
UCLA's starting pitching has logged a 10-5 record and 3.11 ERA through the Bruins' last 19 games. In that span, UCLA's starting pitchers have combined for 114 strikeouts and 27 walks in 115.2 innings. The starters have surrendered 48 runs (40 earned) in the last 19 games, averaging 2.5 runs allowed per start.
STARTING PITCHING STATS - THROUGH LAST 19 GAMES
The Bruins have played among the nation's most challenging schedules. After opening the season with three home games versus UC Davis, the Bruins spent four consecutive weekends on the road - in the Houston College Classic (Feb. 27-March 1), at Oklahoma (March 6-8), at East Carolina (March 13-14) and at USC (March 21-23). UCLA has played seven of its 11 weekends on the road, including six of those weekend trips away from southern California. In all, UCLA has played 25 of its 45 games away from home.
Senior first baseman Cody Decker has become the first Bruin to capture Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice in the same season since 2000 (Forrest Johnson). He leads UCLA with 15 home runs (second in conference), 38 RBI (tied, ninth in Pac-10) and a .635 slugging percentage (sixth in Pac-10). Decker ranks eighth on UCLA's career home runs list (41). He has become the first Bruin to hit at least six homers in each of four seasons since Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes belted 48 homers from 1995-98.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Junior infielder Casey Haerther has compiled a .331 batting average and .516 slugging percentage, the second-highest marks on the squad. Haerther has belted eight homers and collected 35 RBI, 10 of which have come in the Bruins' last eight games (batting 11-for-32, .344 avg, in that span). The resident of Chatsworth, Calif., logged a career-high five RBI in a 2-for-4 effort against Long Beach State on April 28. Haerther's first-inning grand slam put UCLA ahead, 4-0, before he notched his fifth RBI of the game in the third inning.
A fixture in UCLA's rotation since the first weekend of the 2009 season, freshman right-hander Gerrit Cole has logged a 4-4 record and 3.64 ERA, third-lowest on the team. Cole leads UCLA with 82 strikeouts and a .201 opponent batting average (both figures rank fifth in the Pac-10). Cole has gone 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA and .199 opponent average in seven Pac-10 starts. His most dominant outings have come at East Carolina (March 13, 5.0 IP, 12 K) and in a one-hit effort versus Washington (8.0 IP, 13 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H).
Freshman right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA with seven wins (7-3 record) and a 2.53 ERA in a team-high 78.1 innings. Bauer began ths season pitching out of the bullpen before moving into a midweek starting role. After shutting down San Diego State (March 11) and Pepperdine (March 25) in midweek starts, Bauer has excelled in the weekend rotation. He has gone 5-0 in seven starts, compiling a 2.56 ERA. In Pac-10 action, Bauer leads the Bruins with a 5-0 record, having logged 39 strikeouts and eight walks in 48.1 innings.
STARRING ON SUNDAYS
Junior right-hander Charles Brewer has gone 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). Brewer has notched 57 strikeouts and 15 walks in 60.0 innings, the third-highest total on the staff. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any start. Brewer has pitched 6.0 innings or more in four of his last five starts. In six Pac-10 starts, he has gone 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA, 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 39.1 innings.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks is tied with 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. Since assuming the role as UCLA's closer, Brooks has compiled a 2.63 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 14 walks in 27.1 innings. He hurled five innings of no-hit baseball in relief at Oklahoma on Sunday, March 8.
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 fifth on the club with a .305 batting average and first with a .462 on-base percentage. Murray leads UCLA with 29 walks and 16 hit-by-pitches. Gallego enters this weekend's series with a .275 batting average, having tallied 20 RBI and 23 runs.
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 moved into third place on the career pitching appearances list (91), trailing Chuck Yeager (111) and Bill Wenrick (119). Senior right-hander Jason Novak is tied for sixth on the same list, having pitched in 83 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).
IN HONOR OF JACK
A circular black patch with the initials "JG" adorn the left sleeve of UCLA's uniforms, in honor of the late Jack Gifford. Among the program's most loyal and passionate supporters, Gifford played for UCLA 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 stands 23-feet high 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 on MLB rosters are Garrett Atkins (Colorado), Eric Byrnes (Arizona), Ben Francisco (Cleveland) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia). Former UCLA standouts Troy Glaus (St. Louis) and Casey Janssen (Toronto) have opened the 2009 campaign on the 15-day disabled list.
MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
Four former UCLA pitchers are pitching in the minors at the triple-A level - Hector Ambriz (Reno Aces, Arizona), David Huff (Columbus Clippers, Cleveland), Dave Johnson (Memphis Sounds, Milwaukee), and Josh Roenicke (Louisville Bats, Cincinnati). Ambriz, Huff and Roenicke all starred on the mound at UCLA as recently as 2006 under head coach John Savage. Former UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford (2006-08) was promoted following Wednesday's game from San Jose (high-A) to Connecticut (double-A, San Francisco Giants).