No. 12 UCLA Baseball to Open Home Series Against No. 13 Stanford

April 26, 2012

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LOS ANGELES - The No. 12 UCLA baseball team will host a three-game Pac-12 series against No. 13 Stanford this weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time on Friday is 6 p.m. The Bruins enter Friday night's series opener tied for second place in the Pac-12 standings with Oregon (both 11-7 in Pac-12 play). UCLA trails conference leader Arizona (12-6, Pac-12) by one game in the standings. Stanford won two of three games against UCLA at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif., last season.

Friday, April 27 - 6 p.m.
Stanford - Mark Appel, RHP, Jr. (5-1, 2.88)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, So. (5-2, 2.98)

Saturday, April 28 - 2 p.m.
Stanford - Brett Mooneyham, LHP, R-Jr. (5-3, 3.32)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, So. (4-3, 5.22)

Sunday, April 29 - 1 p.m.
Stanford - TBA
UCLA - Zack Weiss, RHP, So. (2-1, 3.08)

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Each game of UCLA's remaining regular-season games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend when the Bruins host Stanford. Fans at the game, using a portable radio, can listen to a live in-stadium broadcast on 87.7 FM. Live stats of the game are available through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on

Tickets to UCLA home baseball games at Jackie Robinson Stadium cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under). Parking at the ballpark costs $8. Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on Constitution Ave. just west of the 405 freeway and Sepulveda Blvd. The Bruins have played at Jackie Robinson Stadium since the ballpark's founding in 1981.

UCLA hosts a three-game Pac-12 series against Stanford this weekend. The Bruins enter Friday night's series opener tied for second place in the Pac-12 standings with Oregon (both 11-7 in Pac-12 games), trailing conference leader Arizona (12-6, Pac-12) by one game. UCLA and Stanford rank second and third, respectively, in the Pac-12 in batting average. Likewise, UCLA and Stanford are third and fourth, respectively, in the conference in earned-run average. Stanford won two of three games against UCLA at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif., last season.

As a show of support to local Boy and Girl Scout Troops in the greater Los Angeles area, all Boy and Girl Scouts who attend Saturday's game (2 p.m.) in uniform earn free admission. Likewise, any youth baseball players (ages 13 and under) who wear their Little League jerseys to Sunday's game will be admitted for free at the main entrance. Little League coaches will have to wear their jersey to earn free admission (coach cannot be a high school or junior college student).

The Bruins defeated UC Irvine, 9-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday night, extending their non-conference winning streak to 14 games. UCLA has posted a perfect 7-0 record in midweek games this season. Last weekend, the Bruins won the series opener at Oregon State, 4-0, before dropping the second and third games of the series on Saturday and Sunday. UCLA has won four of its six Pac-12 series this spring, having opened the conference schedule with consecutive series wins over Arizona State, Washington State and Utah.

Friday's series opener will feature two of the conference's premier right-handed starting pitchers - Stanford's Mark Appel (5-1, 2.88) and UCLA's Adam Plutko (5-2, 2.98). Plutko, a sophomore from Upland, Calif., earned the victory at Oregon State last Friday by tossing 7.2 scoreless innings and scattering just two hits. Appel leads all Pac-12 pitchers with 71 strikeouts, while Plutko is tied for sixth in the conference in that category (59).

Junior center fielder Beau Amaral has raised his batting average over 100 points the last six weeks. A career .332 hitter for the Bruins, Amaral is currently hitting at a .346 clip with four home runs, five triples, seven doubles and a conference-best 45 runs. Amaral's 45 runs scored have already surpassed his team-leading 37 runs scored in 2011. Over UCLA's last 21 games, he has batted .419 (39-for-93) with 30 runs and 24 RBI. Amaral's career-best 21-game hitting streak ended last Sunday in UCLA's 7-6 loss at Oregon State.

Junior infielder/catcher Trevor Brown enters Friday night's game batting .309 with a team-leading 31 RBI in 37 games. Brown has emerged the last three seasons as UCLA's most versatile position player. The former standout at Hart High School (Valencia, Calif.) can play behind the plate and at each of the four positions around the infield. He has made 17 career starts at catcher and 30 starts at first base this season, after having started 24 games at second base in 2011. In addition he has made seven career starts as UCLA's third baseman.

Junior catcher Tyler Heineman ranks second in the Pac-12 with a .405 batting average and leads the conference with a .500 on-base percentage. Heineman had a 15-game hitting streak snapped in UCLA's 4-0 victory at Oregon State on Friday night. The resident of Pacific Palisades, Calif., has hit safely in 31 of 35 games and has posted a team-leading .459 batting average in conference games. Heineman has made 30 starts behind the plate and five starts as the designated hitter, throwing out 12 of 30 attempted base stealers (40 percent).

Since the start of the 2010 season, UCLA has gone 47-23 in all road and neutral site contests. The Bruins have opened this season with an 11-3 record away from home, posting a 6-3 mark on the road in Pac-12 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. In conference action, UCLA has tallied a 26-10 road record since 2010.

Four Bruins rank among the top five in pitching appearances in the Pac-12. David Berg (25) and Ryan Deeter (23) are first and second, respectively, in that category. Scott Griggs, Grant Watson and ASU's Jake Barrett are tied for third in appearances (21). In addition, Griggs is tied for second in the Pac-12 with eight saves, having gone 0-1 with a 1.21 ERA in 22.1 innings. Berg leads the Pac-12 with a 1.69 ERA and .160 opposing batting average.

Junior right fielder Jeff Gelalich leads UCLA with six home runs and enters the series against Stanford with a .373 batting average (sixth-highest in the Pac-12), 27 RBI and 35 runs. Gelalich leads the Pac-12 with 13 stolen bases. He has started all 37 games for the Bruins in right field and opened the season by reaching base safely in UCLA's first 25 contests. Gelalich has posted a career .315 batting average with 10 home runs and 53 RBI.

Sophomore right-hander Nick Vander Tuig (4-3, 5.22 ERA) will start on the mound for UCLA this Saturday. He has started 10 games on the weekend, notching 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 60.1 innings, the second-highest total on the team. Sophomore right-hander Zack Weiss (2-1, 3.08) takes the mound on Sunday afternoon for UCLA, having tallied 24 strikeouts and 17 walks in 38.0 innings. Weiss has started six games (all on the weekend) in addition to making four relief appearances. Opponents have hit Weiss at a .219 clip this spring.

Junior catcher Tyler Heineman has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, presented annually to the nation's premier catcher. Heineman has batted .405 with one home run, five doubles, 20 RBI and 28 runs in 35 games. Junior right-hander Scott Griggs (UCLA's closer) has been selected to the midseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award, presented annually to the nation's top closer. Griggs has totaled eight saves, logging a 1.21 ERA, .081 opposing batting average, 36 strikeouts and 18 walks in 21 games.

Through 10 weeks, UCLA has had six Pac-12 Player/Pitcher of the Week award selections. Beau Amaral (March 26, April 16) and Jeff Gelalich (Feb. 29, March 13) have twice captured Player of the Week honors. Adam Plutko earned Pitcher of the Week honors (March 13) after throwing a complete game shutout at Georgia (March 9). Grant Watson was named Pitcher of the Week (March 20) after logging two wins in three games.

UCLA's bullpen has gone 10-3 with a 1.88 ERA in 129.0 innings, combining for 112 relief appearances through the team's first 37 games. In fact, the team's relief corps has held the opposition to 10 runs (eight earned) and 39 hits through the last 17 games (4-2 record, 1.10 ERA, with a .176 batting average). Scott Griggs has pitched 10.0 scoreless innings, surrendering three hits, while logging 16 strikeouts and two walks in the last 17 games.

UCLA had a 12-game winning streak earlier this year, the program's longest since opening 2010 with 22 consecutive wins ... Beau Amaral's 21-game hitting streak that ended April 22 was the longest by a UCLA ballplayer since 2001 (Josh Canales, 24-game streak) ... Tyler Heineman currently sports a .500 on-base percentage, which would stand as the program's highest OBP since 1997 (Troy Glaus, .520) if the season ended today.

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