April 10, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team opens a three-game series against UC Riverside on Friday at 6 p.m. The Bruins (14-13, 3-3 Pac-10) will send left-hander Tim Murphy to the mound in game one against the visiting Highlanders (9-18, 3-3 Big West). Last season, both programs split a pair of Tuesday evening contests. UCLA and UC Riverside continue the three-game set Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Friday, April 11 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCR's Stephen Penney, RHP, Jr. (0-3, 5.30) vs. UCLA's Tim Murphy, LHP, Jr. (2-3, 3.55)
Saturday, April 12 - 2 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCR's Matt Larkins, RHP, Fr. (4-1, 3.37 ERA) vs. UCLA's Charles Brewer, RHP, So. (3-3, 5.03)
Sunday, April 13 - 1 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
UCR's Paul Bargas, LHP, So. (1-3, 4.89) vs. UCLA's Gavin Brooks, LHP, So. (2-2, 5.61)
SERIES VS. UC RIVERSIDE
UCLA leads the all-time series against UC Riverside by a 16-9 margin. Last season, the Bruins downed the Highlanders, 3-2, at Jackie Robinson Stadium in both teams' seventh game of the year (Feb. 13). UC Riverside won, 3-1, at Riverside Sports Complex on April 24. Under head coach John Savage, the Bruins have tallied a 3-3 record against UC Riverside. In two games last year versus the Highlanders, Alden Carrithers led the Bruins with a .556 average, hitting 5-for-9 with one walk.
LEADING THE WAY
Slated to start Friday evening, left-hander Tim Murphy leads the Bruins' staff with 58 strikeouts in a team-high 50.2 innings. A native of Vista, Calif., Murphy has averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The left-hander was tagged with his third loss of the year, making a relief appearnce Tuesday evening, as he surrendered one run and two hits in the 10th inning of a 6-5 setback against No. 7 UC Irvine. Last Friday against USC, Murphy totaled 10 strikeouts in 7.1 innings, limiting the Trojans to three runs (two earned) and six hits.
ON THE WEB
All UCLA home games can be listened to and viewed online at uclabruins.com. Danny Lee and Tim Wilhelm have the call at UCLA's official athletics website. Audio broadcasts of road series Oregon State (May 9-11) and California (May 23-25) will be carried live online. All remaining regular-season games can be followed live through CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com.
Alden Carrithers has compiled an eight-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 23 of 27 games. Earlier this spring, Carrithers recorded a 10-game hitting streak, during which he hit at a .500 clip (23-for-46) with 11 runs and nine RBI. Currently, the Portland, Ore., resident leads the team with a .385 average, 42 hits, 109 at-bats, eight doubles, three triples, 27 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Last season, Carrithers led UCLA with a .352 batting average, a .455 on-base percentage, 53 runs and 32 walks.
RALLY FALLS SHORT
UCLA overcame a 5-0 deficit Tuesday evening against No. 7 UC Irvine, only to lose by a 6-5 margin in 10 innings. Trailing by five runs after four innings, the Bruins added one in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh. UCLA's bullpen clamped down, holding the visiting Anteaters scoreless from the fifth through the ninth innings. UC Irvine's Ollie Linton drew a leadoff walk in the 10th inning, advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and scored the go-ahead run on a base-hit up the middle by Jeff Cusick.
Brandon Crawford, the Bruins' slick-fielding shortstop, has posted a .318 batting average in 27 starts. Crawford has collected 34 hits in 107 at-bats, tallying three home runs, 19 RBI, 21 runs and eight stolen bases. The Pleasanton, Calif., resident was one of 75 players to be named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Crawford was also named a preseason All-American by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
RIVALRY ENDURES, STREAK ENDED
UCLA's six-game winning streak against crosstown rival USC was snapped April 4, as the Trojans defeated the Bruins, 6-1. USC won two of three games over the weekend, as both teams split four games during the regular season. The Trojans earned a 7-4 win Saturday, before UCLA responded with a 4-2 victory Sunday afternoon. In 2006 and 2007, UCLA captured the season series against its crosstown rival - the Bruins won two of three games at home in 2006 and swept USC at Dedeaux Field in 2007.
The Bruins have posted a 10-2 record when scoring five or more runs. When scoring three runs or fewer, UCLA has logged a 1-9 mark. UCLA has scored 10 or more runs in six games this spring. The Bruins scored a season-high 20 runs at Arizona (March 29), pounding out a season-best 22 hits and totaling 17 RBI in the Pac-10 victory. UCLA also scored 22 runs in a currently-suspended game at Cal State Northridge - that game will be resumed in the bottom of the eighth innning on April 15 (4:30 p.m.), when the Matadors travel to Jackie Robinson Stadium for the final regular-season affair between both teams (6 p.m. start).
- John Savage stands five victories shy of 100 as UCLA's head baseball coach (95-107 record).
- UCLA's remaining schedule features 16 Pac-10 games and nine non-conference contests.
- The Bruins will conclude the season playing eight of 11 games away from Jackie Robinson Stadium.
- UCLA's pitching staff has logged two shutouts through the first 26 games.
- Each weekend starter has had at least one outing of eight innings or longer this spring.
Left-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty hails from Riverside, Calif., and two other Bruins - catcher Ryan Babineau and third baseman Jermaine Curtis - grew up nearby. Lafferty attended Riverside Polytechnic from 2001-2004, earning a varsity baseball letter each of his final three seasons. Lafferty was a classmate of UC Riverside outfielder Aaron Wible, a fourth-year senior. Babineau, a graduate of Etiwanda High School, grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., roughly 25 miles northwest of Riverside. Curtis, who attended A.B. Miller High School, hails from Fontana, Calif., a 15-mile trek from Riverside.
UCLA has posted a 2-2 record in four extra-inning ballgames this season. The Bruins did not play any extra-inning games in 2007. Two of the team's first three games this year were extra-inning affairs. UCLA lost a 12-inning game, 3-2, to Oklahoma in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader on Feb. 23. The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in 13 innings on Feb. 27, a game that lasted five hours and 35 minutes. UCLA edged Arizona, 4-3, in 10 innings on March 28 in the Bruins' Pac-10 season opener. UC Irvine downed the Bruins, 6-5, in 10 innings on April 8 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins last played an extra inning game of 13 innings or longer on April 18, 2003, when UCLA won at Arizona State, 8-7 (13 innings).
Right-hander Charles Brewer, slated to start Saturday's ballgame, has made nine appearances (five starts) in 2008. Brewer sports a 3-3 record and 5.03 ERA in 48.1 innings, the second-highest total on the staff. Brewer limited Cal Poly (March 14) to one run and four hits in nine innings of relief, entering the game with UCLA trailing, 4-0, and nobody out in the first inning. Brewer earned the victory in UCLA's 10-6 win. One week later, the sophomore from Paradise Valley, Calif., allowed three runs (two earned) and 12 hits in 8.1 innings, as the Bruins' dropped game one of a Saturday doubleheader (March 22) at Long Beach State.
Junior Ryan Babineau has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. Babineau has caught more games than any Pac-10 catcher (135), making 132 starts. Babineau has committed two errors in 1,067 chances (.998 pct.), throwing out 39 of 93 attempted base stealers (41.9 pct). This season, opponents have attemped to steal off Babineau 11 times (four successfully). As a freshman, he earned All-Pac-10 team honors. Last spring, Babineau was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection.
HAERTHER MAKES HISTORY
First baseman Casey Haerther recorded a UCLA and Pac-10 Conference record seven hits in seven plate appearances in a 20-8 win at Arizona on March 29. Haerther registered career highs with four doubles, four runs and four RBI. The Chatsworth, Calif., resident finished the weekend going 9-for-14 (.643) with four doubles, one home run, six RBI and 16 total bases. In the final two games at Arizona, Haerther raised his batting average 85 points (.203 to .288).
CLOSING THE DEAL
Right-hander Jason Novak notched his first collegiate save in UCLA's 4-2 win over USC on April 6, inducing Roberto Lopez to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Novak hurled 2.1 innings of hitless relief against UC Irvine on April 8, recording one strikeout. In five appearances (6.0 innings), the junior from Agoura, Calif., has allowed two runs and six hits. Novak has made 52 appearances in three seasons, including four starts as a freshman in 2006.
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty has made a team-high 14 appearances through 27 games. Lafferty collected his second save of the year in UCLA's 20-8 win at Arizona, hurling three scoreless innings while striking out four hitters. Lafferty has compiled a 1-1 record and 4.78 ERA in 32.0 innings, the fourth-highest total on the club. Lafferty has recorded 27 strikeouts and issued 15 walks. The Riverside, Calif., resident has competed with UCLA longer than any other player (only current player from the 2005 squad). Lafferty made 15 appearances in 2005, redshirted the 2006 season, and led the team with 25 appearances last spring.
Several freshmen have made solid contributions the last several weeks. Chris Giovinazzo, a standout football and baseball player at Laguna Hills High School, has started in the outfield in each of the Bruins' last seven games. Giovinazzo has hit safely in four of his seven starts, scoring five runs and drawing three walks. Niko Gallego, a talented second baseman from Esperanza High School, has gone 3-for-7 with one run and one RBI in the Bruins' last two games. Left-handed pitcher Matt Grace has made seven relief appearances, registering a 3.12 ERA and .172 opponent batting average in 8.2 innings. Grace, who starred at Palos Verdes High School for four seasons, captured CIF Southern Section Division IV Player of the Year honors as a junior.
PROJECTIONS AND PREDICTIONS
Baseball America tabbed UCLA as its preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 Conference. The national baseball publication predicts the Bruins to finish ahead of Arizona, Oregon State and Arizona State, respectively. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, outfielder Gabe Cohen and left-handed starter Gavin Brooks were named preseason All-Pac-10 selections by Baseball America. The publication listed Rob Rasmussen as one of the five top newcomers and pegged Crawford and left-hander Tim Murphy as the second- and sixth-best pro prospects in this year's draft class. Baseball America listed Jermaine Curtis as the conference's best defensive third baseman and Brandon Crawford as the Pac-10's best defensive shortstop.
TWO DOLLAR TUESDAYS
All season long, tickets to Tuesday evening games at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium will cost just two dollars. The remaining Tuesday night games include non-conference opponents Cal State Northridge (April 15), UNLV (April 22) and San Diego (May 6).
THE POLL IN THE PAC
UCLA was selected third out of nine teams in the Pac-10 preseason coaches' poll. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona and Arizona State, respectively. Arizona picked up six of nine first-place votes, and Arizona State recorded the other three first-place votes. Last season, UCLA was picked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and finished third with a 14-10 mark in Pac-10 ballgames.
Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of the 2008 season with a left elbow injury (torn UCL). Uribe's season-ending injury will require surgery. Freshman left-hander Rob Rasmussen will miss 2-3 weeks with a fractured left foot (return expected early May). Rasmussen sustained the injury on a line drive in the third inning against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 27). Freshman right-hander Dan Klein remains inactive with shoulder soreness. Freshman outfielder Jeff Rapoport (shoulder) missed the 2007 season with a shoulder injury and may return later this spring. Freshman right-hander Erik Goeddel (elbow) and junior right-hander Tim Schlatter (shoulder) remain sidelined.