May 15, 2008
LOS ANGELES - UCLA hosts a three-game Pac-10 series against Washington State this weekend, beginning Friday, May 16, marking the team's final three home games of the season. Last spring, the Bruins dropped the first two contests of a three-game set at Washington State. This weekend's Pac-10 series has major postseason implications for both squads. Friday night's matchup will feature UCLA left-hander Tim Murphy squaring off against Cougar southpaw Matt Way. Saturday's game, slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., will be nationally televised on Fox Sports Net. The Pac-10 foes conclude the three-game series with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday, when the Bruins will honor their four seniors as a part of the annual "Senior Day" ceremony.
Friday, May 16 - 6 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
WSU's Matt Way, LHP, Jr. (3-3, 3.79) vs. UCLA's Tim Murphy, LHP, Jr. (3-6, 4.23)
Saturday, May 17 - 1:30 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium (TV - FSN)
WSU's Jayson Miller, LHP, Sr. (7-1, 4.24) vs. UCLA's Charles Brewer, RHP, So. (7-4, 5.18)
Sunday, May 18 - 1 p.m. - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
WSU - TBA vs. UCLA's Gavin Brooks, LHP, So. (5-2, 5.37)
SEVEN GAMES REMAINING
The Bruins have seven games remaining in their regular-season slate. Following this weekend's three-game series against Washington State, UCLA hits the road for a Tuesday night game (May 20) at Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins conclude their regular season at California, playing three games in Berkeley, Calif. (May 23-25). Nine of UCLA's final 15 games feature opponents ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Washington State enters this weekend's series with a 28-22 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Pac-10 Conference. Scott Suttmeier leads Washington State with a .331 average in 47 games. Jim Murphy has totaled a team-leading 13 home runs and 56 RBI, starting all 50 games. Washington State's pitching staff is led by left-handers Matt Way (3-3, 3.79, 59.1 IP) and Jayson Miller (7-1, 4.24, 85.0 IP).
BRUINS ON THE TUBE
Saturday's game between UCLA and Washington State will be televised live, nationally, on Fox Sports Net (FSN Prime Ticket in the L.A. area). Barry Tompkins and Jerry Kindall will have the call from Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Saturday's game marks the third nationally-televsied contest for UCLA this season.
Among the most competitive conferences in the nation, from top to bottom, the Pac-10 currently features eight of nine teams with winning records. Six teams are separated by just three games in the Pac-10 standings, as Arizona State holds a one-game lead over second place Stanford. Washington occupies sole possession of third place, while California and Oregon State are tied (11-10) for fourth. UCLA and Arizona have both compiled 8-10 records, tied for sixth place. USC rests one game ahead of ninth-place Washington State.
Senior Alden Carrithers has emerged as a legitimate All-America candidate, having registered a team-leading .380 average in 48 games. Carrithers leads UCLA in several other categories, including on-base percentage (.467), hits (71) and stolen bases (17). Carrithers has tallied separate hit streaks of 11 and 10 games this season. Carrithers' .380 batting average is the fifth-highest mark in the Pac-10.
ACCOLADES ALL AROUND
Several Bruins have garnered national attention within the college baseball community. Alden Carrithers has been named as one of 50 players to the Dick Howser Award watch list. Two weeks ago, Carrithers was chosen as one of 100 players on the revised Brooks Wallace Award watch list. Prior to Opening Day, Ryan Babineau was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, a compilation of the nation's top 36 catchers. Brandon Crawford was tabbed as one of 50 players to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.
Left-hander Tim Murphy, slated to start Friday night's game against Washington State, earned his first save of the season at No. 12 UC Irvine on Tuesday, May 13. Murphy entered the ballgame with the bases loaded and one out, as UCLA held a 6-3 lead. After a fielding error in the infield, Murphy recorded one strikeout and induced a groundout to first base, sending UCLA away with a non-conference 6-4 win. Murphy currently leads the Bruins with 89 strikeouts, having averaged 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Sophomore Charles Brewer, a right-hander from Paradise Valley, Ariz., leads all Bruin pitchers with seven wins. Brewer has logged 58 strikeouts and 27 walks in a team-leading 80.0 innings. Brewer has earned the victory in each of his last three starts (at Washington, vs. Arizona State, at Oregon State). Last Saturday, the sophomore tied his career high with nine strikeouts in the Bruins' 11-4 victory at Oregon State.
The UCLA baseball program will honor its four seniors prior to Sunday's game against Washington State (1 p.m.). Second baseman Alden Carrithers (.380 avg, 4 HR, 40 RBI), catcher Brent Dean (.271 avg., 1 HR, 6 RBI) and outfielders Brady Dolan (.273 avg., 1 HR, 16 RBI) and Mickey Weisser (.271 avg., 2 HR, 14 RBI) will play in their final home games this weekend, as the Bruins host Washington State for three games.
CRUSHING IT FARTHER
Sophomore Casey Haerther leads UCLA with eight home runs and has belted seven of those round-trippers since going 7-for-7 at Arizona on March 29. In that 20-8 victory, Haerther established the Pac-10 and UCLA record for most hits in a game. UCLA's starting first baseman has batted .321 in 47 games (46 starts), totaling eight home runs, 18 doubles and 40 RBI. Haerther has logged a .549 slugging percentage and stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts. Haerther crushed two home runs in an 18-7 rout of UC Riverside (April 12).
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).
SCRAP AND WIN
Revered as one of the team's most scrappy, selfless players, senior Mickey Weisser has sparked the Bruins' offense since breaking into the starting lineup one month ago (vs. Stanford, April 19-20). Weisser, who belted his second career homer in the Bruins' 6-4 win at No. 12 UC Irvine (May 13), has batted .355 in the team's last 14 games. A difficult out, Weisser has compiled a .271 batting average in 30 games (17 starts), including a .394 on-base percentage (nine walks and three hit-by-pitches). Weisser, who transfered to UCLA after playing two seasons at Sierra College (Rocklin, Calif.), is one of UCLA's four seniors.
THE REAL DEAL
Junior right-hander Jason Novak earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on Tuesday, May 6, after having thrown seven scoreless innings in three appearances the previous week. Novak continued his solid work in relief at Oregon State last weekend. In two appearances at Goss Stadium, allowed just one run and four hits in 5.2 innings. In Saturday's 11-4 victory, Novak recorded his second save of the season, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings in relief. Sunday afternoon, Novak allowed one run in four innings out of the bullpen.
Left-hander Brendan Lafferty entered the week tied for third among Pac-10 pitchers with 25 appearances, all coming in relief, before registering his second victory of the season against UC Irvine on Tuesday (out of the bullpen). Lafferty has logged a 2-2 record and 4.22 ERA in a team-high 26 outings, totaling 47 strikeouts in 53.1 innings. The junior from Riverside, Calif., hurled 4.1 scoreless innings of relief against Stanford (April 19), totaling four strikeouts and one walk. Lafferty earned his third save of the season in UCLA's 4-3 win at Washington (April 27) in the series finale, totaling four strikeouts in two innings of hitless relief.
UCLA has posted a 3-2 record in five extra-inning ballgames. Two of the team's first four games were extra-inning affairs. 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).
Senior Brady Dolan has logged a .273 batting average, playing in 42 of 49 games 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
Jermaine Curtis ranks fifth in the conference and leads the Bruin ballclub with a .394 batting average in Pac-10 action. Curtis has tallied six doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBI and 14 runs in conference games. Casey Haerther's .649 slugging percentage in Pac-10 games ranks fifth, and Alden Carrithers' .468 on-base percentage in conference contests ranks seventh. Haerther is tied for the Pac-10 lead with nine doubles and ranks first among all Bruins with four home runs in conference action.
BEHIND THE PLATE
UCLA pitching staff and defense has benefitted greatly from the team's two veteran catchers this season - junior Ryan Babineau and senior Brent Dean. Babineau, named to the Johnny Bench Award list prior to the season, has committed just two errors in his three seasons as UCLA's starting catcher (1,196 chances, .998 fielding percentage). The Johnny Bench Award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. Babineau has thrown out 42 of 105 base stealers in three seasons (40.0 pct), nailing 10 of 23 base stealers this season. Dean, who transferred to UCLA from L.A. Harbor City College after the 2006 season, has posted a .271 average in 23 games, starting 20 games as the Bruins' catcher this year.
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.
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 21-3 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.
NEWLY-NAMED STEELE FIELD
The baseball program dedicated the field at Jackie Robinson Stadium in honor of the Steele Foundation prior to a Pac-10 game against Arizona State on May 3. Thanks to a generous lead gift from the Steele Foundation, UCLA was able to renovate its field in the offseason with a major-league caliber playing surface.
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.
Sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher Justin Uribe will miss the remainder of 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).
ON THE WEB
Each of UCLA's three games versus Washington State 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 regular-season games can be followed live on CSTV's GameTracker, available at uclabruins.com. Likewise, the Bruins final three games at California (May 23-25) will be broadcast via live Internet radio and video at uclabruins.com. Danny Lee will be calling the Bruins' final regular-season series.
UCLA'S REMAINING SCHEDULE
The Bruins have two Pac-10 series and one mid-week non-conference game remaining this spring. UCLA will play three more games at Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend - a three-game set versus Washington State (May 16-18). Saturday's game against the Cougars will be nationally televised on Fox Sports Net (FSN Prime Ticket in the Los Angeles area). The UCLA baseball program will honor its four seniors prior to the game on Sunday, May 18, as part of the annual Senior Day ceremony. The Bruins conclude the season with a game at Cal State Fullerton next Tuesday (May 20) before playing three games at California (May 23-25).
ON THE HORIZON
Head coach John Savage announced on Nov. 14, 2007, that seven student-athletes had signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to attend UCLA and play baseball. These student-athletes will arrive on campus and enroll in the fall of 2008. Headed by assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Green, the fourth recruiting class under Savage includes six position players and one pitcher. This group features three AFLAC All-Americans - infielders Chris Amezquita and Clark Murphy and right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole. All seven signees have earned all-league honors in high school and were Milwaukee Brewers Area Code Games selections. Cole and Cutter Dykstra have captured preseason first-team All-America honors and Murphy has earned third-team All-America accolades from Baseball America.
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.
MOVIN' ON UP
Former UCLA right-hander Tyson Brummett, a two-year letterwinner with the Bruins, was recently promoted to the Clearwater Threshers, the Philadelphia Phillies' high-A affiliate. In six starts with the Lakewood BlueClaws, Philadelphia's single-A affiliate, Brummett recorded a 3-0 record and 1.95 ERA, totaling 36 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 37.0 innings of work. Brummett registered five strikeouts in seven innings in his first start for Clearwater, allowing two runs and seven hits for the Threshers. Last season, Brummett went 10-6 as UCLA's staff ace, compiling 111 strikeouts in 138.0 innings, including seven complete games.