May 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team closes its regular-season schedule with a three-game Pac-10 series at No. 15 California this weekend. The Bruins have won five of their last seven games, including a three-game sweep of Washington State last weekend (May 16-18), and must win two of three games to ensure a third-place Pac-10 finish. UCLA and California currently are tied for third in the Pac-10 standings with identical 11-10 conference records. In Friday afternoon's series opener, the Bruins will send left-hander Tim Murphy to the mound. California will counter with right-hander Tyson Ross.
Friday, May 23 - 2:30 p.m. - at California's Evans Diamond
UCLA's Tim Murphy, LHP, Jr. (4-6, 3.89) vs. CAL's Tyson Ross, RHP, Jr. (7-2, 4.29)
Saturday, May 24 - 1 p.m. - at California's Evans Diamond
UCLA's Charles Brewer, RHP, So. (7-4, 5.42) vs. CAL's Craig Bennigson, LHP, Jr. (4-3, 6.28)
Sunday, May 25 - 1 p.m. - at California's Evans Diamond
UCLA's Gavin Brooks, LHP, So. (6-2, 4.92) vs. CAL - TBA
PUSH FOR THE POSTSEASON
With just three games remaining on the schedule, the Bruins look to make a final push for their third consecutive postseason berth this weekend. UCLA won all four games last week (one at No. 12 UC Irvine, three at home vs. Washington State) before dropping a non-conference game at No. 6 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday. The current Pac-10 standings feature six teams all within two games of each other. UCLA and California (11-10) are tied for the third place, while Washington, Arizona and USC are tied for fifth place at 10-11.
ON THE WEB
Each of UCLA's three games at California this weekend can be listened to online with an Internet radio broadcast available free of charge at uclabruins.com. Tim Wilhelm and Danny Lee will have the call. All remaining games can be followed live on CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com. Should UCLA advance to the NCAA Tournament, each of the Bruins' postseason games will be broadcast live at UCLA's official athletics website, uclabruins.com
Second baseman Alden Carrithers has been named as one of 50 semifinalists for the 2008 Golden Spikes Award, annually given to the nation's top amateur player. Carrithers is one of seven Pac-10 performers on the list of 50 semifinalists, as announced by USA Baseball. Entering this weekend's series against California, Carrithers leads all Bruins with a .384 batting average and a .484 on-base percentage. Earlier this spring, the Portland, Ore., resident registered separate hit streaks of 11 and 10 games.
THE LAST MEETING
Last May, UCLA won the first two of three games against California at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Right fielder Gabe Cohen led the Bruins at the plate in that series, batting .500 (6-for-12) with three homers, five RBI and three runs. Third baseman Jermaine Curtis finished the weekend going 4-for-10 (.400) with one double and two RBI, and first baseman Casey Haerther was 4-for-11 (.364) with one double and two RBI. Left-hander Tim Murphy earned the victory on Saturday (May 5), striking out nine in 7.0 innings.
AT A GLANCE
California enters this weekend's series having compiled a 32-17-2 overall record and an 11-10 Pac-10 mark. David Cooper (.370 avg., 19 HR, 55 RBI) and Josh Satin (.388 avg., 17 HR, 51 RBI) have emerged as two of the conference's top power hitters. Cooper and Arizona State's Brett Wallace are tied for the Pac-10 lead with 19 home runs, and Satin is tied with two players for third place. Junior right-hander Tyson Ross, slated to pitch on Friday, leads the staff with a 7-2 record, 4.29 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 65.0 innings.
In addition to having been named a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, Alden Carrithers earned team most valuable player honors at the Bruins' annual team banquet on Sunday evening. In two seasons at UCLA, the Bruins' second baseman has logged a .367 batting average, including 158 hits, 30 doubles, 75 RBI, 95 runs and 26 stolen bases in 33 attempts. Additionally, left-hander Brendan Lafferty captured most valuable pitcher accolades at the team banquet. Lafferty is tied for second among Pac-10 pitchers with 29 appearances (all in relief), and has compiled a 3-2 record, 3.86 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 58.1 innings out of the bullpen.
MURPHY GETS IT DONE
Tim Murphy was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday after having led the Bruins to four straight victories last week. Murphy earned the save, his first of the year, in a 6-4 win at UC Irvine on May 13. Three nights later, the left-hander from Vista, Calif., tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering two hits while striking out eight to notch the victory. The following afternoon, Murphy came off the bench to play center field and knocked home the game-winning run with a pop-fly single to center in the bottom of the 10th inning.
HITTING IT HAERTHER
First baseman Casey Haerther has collected nine home runs and a team-high 44 RBI in 51 games, Haerther leads the team with a .379 average in Pac-10 action. Last weekend, Haerther batted .462, going 6-for-13 with three RBI. In the Bruins' Pac-10 series opener at Arizona, Haerther established a Pac-10 and UCLA single-game record, going 7-for-7 in a 20-8 win (March 29). Since then, Haerther has belted eight of his nine homers. Haerther enters the weekend ranking second in the Pac-10 with 20 doubles.
GETTING ON, GETTING IN
Shortstop Brandon Crawford leads all Bruins with 44 runs after having scored four times in UCLA's sweep of Washington State last weekend. In that series, Crawford was 4-for-9, drawing three walks and stealing two bases (in two attempts). The junior from Pleasanton, Calif., has started in each game (172) since arriving at UCLA for the 2006 season, compiling a career .315 average, including 18 home runs and 126 RBI.
THE REAL DEAL
Junior right-hander Jason Novak earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on May 6, after having thrown seven scoreless innings in three appearances the previous week. In UCLA's four games last week, Novak earned one save in two appearances, allowing two runs and two hits in 5.1 innings. The Agoura, Calif., resident limited the opposition to a .118 average last weekend and has recorded a .248 opponent batting average in 16 appearances this spring. Novak's 3.45 earned-run average is tied for the lowest mark on the staff.
Cody Decker, who has started 43 games this spring (41 at designated hitter, two at first base), belted the first grand slam by a Bruin last Friday since accomplishing the feat in UCLA's 15-8 win over Pacific on March 25, 2007. Decker finished the weekend against Washington State hitting at a .364 clip, going 4-for-11 with a team-leading six RBI. Decker was 3-for-4 at the plate in UCLA's 7-6, 10-inning victory Saturday afternoon.
UCLA's pitching staff has compiled a 4.57 ERA in Pac-10 games, the third-best mark among all conference teams. Stanford entered Monday's game against Arizona with a 4.05 ERA, and Arizona had logged a 4.35 mark. The Bruins' pitchers have registered a .261 opponent batting average, tied with Stanford for the best mark in Pac-10 play prior to Monday's ballgame (Stanford at Arizona). Left-hander Tim Murphy's .216 opponent batting average ranks third-lowest among Pac-10 pitchers, in conference games only.
Sunday's game against Washington State marked the final home game for UCLA's four seniors. Second baseman Alden Carrithers (.384 avg, 4 HR, 43 RBI), catcher Brent Dean (.277 avg, 1 HR, 8 RBI) and outfielders Brady Dolan (.273, 1 HR, 16 RBI) and Mickey Weisser (.232 avg, 2 HR, 15 RBI) have become major contributors to UCLA's success. Carrithers has led the Bruins in most offensive categories all season and currently leads the team with a .384 average, .484 on-base percentage and 17 stolen bases.
Alden Carrithers has registered five four-hit efforts this season. No Bruin has tallied that many games with four or more hits since Brian Baron logged seven four-hit performances in 2001. That season, Baron finished the year with 33 multi-hit games - 19 two-hit efforts, seven three-hit contests and seven four-hit performances. Also, Casey Haerther's seven hits at Arizona (March 29) were the most hits in a game by a Bruin since Ryan McCarthy went 5-for-5 in 2004 against Arizona State (April 18).
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty enters the weekend having pitched 29 games, tied for the second-highest appearances total among all Pac-10 pitchers. Lafferty earned two victories in a three-game span last week. In UCLA's 6-4, 10-inning win at UC Irvine, Lafferty limited the host Anteaters to two runs (one earned) and five hits in 3.1 innings of relief. Before a nationally-televised audience last Saturday, Lafferty hurled three scoreless innings, scattering two hits while notching two strikeouts to record the win against Washington State.
UCLA has posted a 4-2 record in six extra-inning games. UCLA lost a 12-inning game, 3-2, to Oklahoma in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader (Feb. 23). The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in 13 innings (Feb. 27) in a five-hour, 35-minute affair. UCLA edged Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings (March 28) in the Bruins' Pac-10 season opener. UC Irvine downed the Bruins, 6-5, in 10 innings at Jackie Robinson Stadium (April 8). UCLA used a two-out rally, keyed by Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 11th inning, to defeat UNLV, 8-7 (April 22). The Bruins defeated Washington State, 7-6, in 10 innings last Sunday.
Senior Brady Dolan has logged a .273 batting average, playing in 42 contests this season. Dolan, a proud resident of Reno, Nev., has made 31 starts in the outfield - 14 in left, 10 in right and seven in center. Dolan redshirted as a freshman at UC Irvine in 2004, spent the 2005 season at Sierra College with teammate Mickey Weisser, and has flourished the past three seasons at UCLA. After seeing limited playing time in 2006, Dolan hit .280 in 39 games last season, going 6-for-14 in an eight-game span prior to Super Regionals. This spring, the fifth-year senior has batted .300 in Pac-10 play, scoring nine runs in 14 games.
HEAD OF THE PACK
Several Bruins rank among the league leaders, offensively, in Pac-10 games. First baseman Casey Haerther has belted 10 doubles, the most by any Pac-10 performer in conference action. Haerther is tied with USC's Grant Green and Stanford's Jason Castro for fifth-place on the Pac-10 list with a .379 batting average. Haerther's .667 slugging percentage is tied as the fifth-highest mark with Arizona's Brad Glenn. Second baseman Alden Carrithers ranks fifth in conference action with a .484 on-base percentage.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
UCLA has stolen 73 bases in 52 games this spring, the second-highest mark among Pac-10 teams. Arizona State leads the way with 82 steals, and Arizona follows with 71 swipes. The Bruins have attempted 95 steals, the third-highest total in the conference. Alden Carrithers leads UCLA with 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts (.739), and Brandon Crawford ranks second with 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts (647).
UCLA was selected to finish third out of nine teams in the Pac-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll. The Bruins, currently tied for third place with No. 15 California, were slated to finish behind Arizona and Arizona State, respsectively. Arizona collected six of the nine first-place votes, and Arizona State picked up the remaining three votes. Last season, UCLA was chosen fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and finished third with a 14-10 mark in Pac-10 games.
Earlier this spring, UCLA became just the second team in the past two seasons to win a three-game series at Arizona, which currently boasts a 23-4 home mark. The Bruins took the first two of three games at Arizona (March 28-30) to open Pac-10 play. Last season, the Wildcats posted a 28-4 home record, losing one home series to USC. The weekend of April 25-27, UCLA won two of three games at Washington, where the Huskies had previously recorded an 18-5 home record with just one home series loss to Cal Poly.
2007 IN REVIEW
UCLA finished the 2007 season with its first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals since 2000 and totaled a 33-28 record. In the Super Regional, UCLA dropped both games to Cal State Fullerton (12-2 and 2-1). UCLA advanced after winning the Long Beach Regional, defeating 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.
Right fielder Gabe Cohen will miss this weekend's series with a left wrist injury. Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe is out for the season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). Freshman right-hander Dan Klein remains inactive with shoulder soreness. 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).
Seven former Bruin ballplayers are currently on 25-man MLB rosters. In 2007, nine former Bruins played in the major leagues. Two players from the 1997 College World Series squad, Eric Byrnes (Arizona) and Troy Glaus (St. Louis), and two teammates from 1998-2000, Garrett Atkins (Colorado) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia), are on big-league rosters. Former Bruin teammates Dave Roberts (San Francisco) and Adam Melhuse (Texas) are also among ex-UCLA players in the majors. Ben Francisco, who played at UCLA as recently as 2001 and 2002, was promoted to the Cleveland Indians this month.
ON THE FARM
Last summer, 17 former Bruins competed in minor league baseball - 11 of those players were drafted under head coach John Savage. Five former Bruins are playing minor league baseball at the double-A level, and one former Bruin, Wes Whisler, is competing on a triple-A club. Hector Ambriz, Chris Denove, David Huff, Dave Johnson, Paul Oseguera and Kyle Wilson have started their seasons in double-A ball. Two Bruins from last year's ballclub - Tyson Brummett and Brant Rustich - are playing at the single-A level.
DEALIN' IN DOUBLE-A BALL
Former Bruin David Huff, who pitched for UCLA in 2006, has logged a 3-1 record and 2.14 ERA in eight games (seven starts) this season, pitching for the double-A Akron Aeros (Cleveland Indians' affiliate). In his last three starts, Huff has allowed one earned run and nine hits in 19 innings, recording two wins, 15 strikeouts and four walks. Opponents are hitting the left-hander at a .178 clip in 46.1 innings. Right-hander Josh Roenicke, a teammate of Huff at UCLA, has compiled nine saves in 19 appearances for the double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (Cincinnati Reds' affiliate). Roenicke has totaled 23 saves in 19.0 innings.
Former UCLA right-hander Tyson Brummett, the ace of the Bruins' 2007 staff, was recently promoted to high-A ball with the Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Philles' Florida State League affiliate). In three starts for the Threshers, Brummett has registered a 3.32 ERA, totaling 12 strikeouts in 19 innings. Opponents are hitting the right-hander from Salem, Utah, at a .233 clip in the Florida State League. One year ago, Brummett led the Bruins with 111 strikeouts in 138.0 innings, posting a team-leading 10-4 record.