May 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The No. 14 UCLA baseball team opens a three-game series against No. 13 Purdue beginning Saturday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko will take the hill for the Bruins (29-12) in Game 1 on Saturday against the Boilermakers (34-7).
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Saturday, May 5 - 1 p.m.
Purdue - Joe Haase, RHP, Sr. (7-0, 3.38)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, So. (5-3, 3.65)
Saturday, May 5 - 5 p.m.
Purdue - Lance Breedlove, RHP, Sr. (6-3, 2.71)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, So. (5-3, 5.32)
Sunday, May 6 - 1 p.m.
Purdue - Connor Podkul, RHP, Fr. (2-1, 3.19)
UCLA - Zack Weiss, RHP, So. (2-2, 3.80)
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE (click here) | 2012 UCLA Baseball Broadcast Schedule
Each game of UCLA's remaining regular-season games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call from Jackie Robinson Stadium on Saturday and Sunday for the Bruins' three games against Purdue. Fans attending the game can listen to a live, in-stadium broadcast by tuning a portable radio to 87.7 FM. Live stats of the game will be available through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on uclabruins.com.
LOOKING AT UCLA, PURDUE
Purdue has won 14 of its last 16 games, having taken two of three against conference foe Michigan State last weekend. UCLA and Purdue have played just one game against each other in the past, with the Bruins earning a 10-6 victory over the Boilermakers on March 14, 2001, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. This weekend's games mark the final non-conference series for UCLA during the 2012 regular season. Under eighth-year head coach John Savage, UCLA has never played a team from the Big Ten Conference (Bruins have gone 4-2 against Nebraska while the Cornhuskers were in the Big 12 Conference prior to 2012).
UCLA EDGES LONG BEACH STATE
Freshman left-hander Grant Watson threw six scoreless innings, scattering just two hits, to earn his team-leading eighth win as UCLA defeated Long Beach State, 2-1, at Blair Field on Tuesday night. Trevor Brown drove home both runs for the Bruins, who earned a two-game season sweep of Long Beach State. Watson has become just the fourth pitcher in school history to collect at least eight wins during his freshman season (Trevor Bauer and Pete Janicki each totaled nine wins as freshmen). UCLA has gone 8-0 in midweek games this spring.
DEETER EARNS ACADEMIC HONORS Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Deeter has secured Capital One All-District VIII team honors, as announced Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Majoring in math/economics, Deeter ranks second in the Pac-12 with 26 pitching appearances (all in relief). He has gone 1-0 with a 0.83 ERA, logging 19 strikeouts and 11 walks in 21.2 innings (press release here).
Jeff Gelalich (.383) and Tyler Heineman (.381) enter the weekend ranking third and fifth, respectively, in the Pac-12 Conference in batting average. In addition, Cody Keefer (.362) is ninth in that category. Tyler Heineman (.488) and Jeff Gelalich (.475) rank first and second, respectively, in the conference in on-base percentage. Gelalich leads all Pac-12 players with 14 stolen bases, and Beau Amaral leads the conference with 47 runs.
STARTING ON SATURDAY
Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko (5-3, 3.65 ERA) will start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader for the Bruins. Plutko, hailing from Upland, Calif., ranks seventh in the Pac-12 with 62 strikeouts entering this weekend. He has had four starts of six or more innings in which he has blanked the opposition this season. Plutko's most dominant outing came at then-No. 9-ranked Georgia, where he struck out a season-high 11 in his second career complete game, scattering just five hits at the Bulldogs' Foley Field in Athens, Ga.
SATURDAY, PART TWO
Sophomore right-hander Nick Vander Tuig (5-3, 5.32) is slated to start Game 2 of the doubleheader on Saturday. Vander Tuig earned the victory in UCLA's 7-4 win over Stanford last Saturday. He allowed four runs and six hits in 5.2 innings, but had limited Stanford to just two runs and four hits through the first five innings before allowing back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the top of the seventh. Vander Tuig has issued two walks or fewer in eight of his 11 starts this season. He earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention acclaim as UCLA's closer in 2011.
UCLA's three outfielders, all juniors who hit left-handed, enter Saturday's doubleheader batting above .325. The trio has played extensively since arriving in Westwood in the fall of 2009. Jeff Gelalich has started all 41 games in right field this year, batting .383 with six home runs, seven doubles and 29 RBI. Beau Amaral has been UCLA's starting center field the last three seasons and is batting .329 with four homers, 31 RBI and a conference-best 47 runs. Cody Keefer has batted .362 with six doubles, 24 RBI and a .441-on base percentage in 40 games.
STEADY AT SHORTSTOP
Entering Friday's conference games, sophomore shortstop Pat Valaika leads the Pac-12 Conference with 140 assists, having started the Bruins' last 48 games at shortstop (dating back to 2011). Valaika has batted .261 with one home run and a team-leading 11 doubles, starting at shortstop in all 41 games this spring. The native of Valencia, Calif., has totaled nine multiple-hit games and five multiple-RBI efforts.
Since the start of the 2010 season, UCLA has gone 48-23 in all road and neutral site contests. The Bruins have opened this season with an 12-3 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.
LEADING UCLA'S BULLPEN
Right-hander Scott Griggs has totaled 10 saves in 23 relief appearances, posting a 1.11 ERA and .076 opponent batting average in 24.1 innings. Griggs' 10 saves is tied for second place on the school's single-season saves list. Right-hander David Berg enters the weekend leading the Pac-12 with a 1.67 ERA and .170 opponent batting average, having gone 4-2 in a team-leading 28 relief appearances during his freshman season.
WHO TO WATCH
Junior outfielder Jeff Gelalich has been selected to the midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award (nation's top player). He leads UCLA with a .383 batting average and six home runs. Junior catcher Tyler Heineman has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award (nation's top catcher). He ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with a .381 batting average and first with a .488 on-base percentage. Junior right-hander Scott Griggs has been selected to the midseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award (nation's top closer). Griggs has totaled 10 saves, logging a 1.11 ERA with 40 strikeouts and six hits allowed in 23.1 innings.
Junior Trevor Brown enters this weekend's series against Purdue batting .309 with a team-high 35 RBI. Brown has emerged the last three seasons as UCLA's most versatile position player. He has made 17 career starts at catcher and 34 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.
WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS
Through 11 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 1.83 ERA in 143.0 innings, combining for 123 relief appearances through the team's first 41 games. In fact, the team's relief corps has held the opposition to 13 runs (10 earned) and 49 hits through the last 25 games (5-2 record, 1.02 ERA, with a .168 batting average). In that 25-game span, Scott Griggs has pitched 13.0 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while logging 22 strikeouts and seven walks.
BIG LEAGUE BALLPARKS
UCLA will play Washington at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, the night of Friday, May 11. That game will mark the Bruins' seventh contest played in a Major League Baseball stadium since the start of the 2009 season. UCLA played three games at Minute Maid Park (Houston) in 2009. The Bruins have played one game at Dodger Stadium each of the last three seasons (2010-2012). UCLA has gone 2-4 in those six games.