Feb. 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The No. 22 UCLA baseball team hosts a three-game non-conference series against Baylor beginning Friday evening. First pitch of the series opener is 6 p.m. Sophomore Adam Plutko will start on the mound for UCLA. The Bruins improved to 2-2 last Tuesday with a 19-7 win at Cal State Northridge.
DODGERTOWN CLASSIC TICKETS AVAILABLE (click here)
UCLA will play USC at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. UC Irvine will face Pepperdine at Dodger Stadium at 2 p.m. Tickets to this year's event cost $5 in advance (when purchased through UCLA), $7 in advance (when purchased through the Los Angeles Dodgers), or $12 when purchased on the day of the game. Parking is free. Full concessions will be available at a discounted price.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, Feb. 24 - 6 p.m.
Baylor - Josh Turley, LHP, Jr. (0-0, 0.00, 4.2 IP)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, So. (0-0, 0.00, 7.0 IP)
Saturday, Feb. 25 - 2 p.m.
Baylor - Max Garner, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 5.40, 3.1 IP)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, So. (1-0, 7.20, 5.0 IP)
Friday, Feb. 26 - 1 p.m.
Baylor - Brad Kuntz, LHP, Fr. (1-0, 1.80, 5.0 IP)
UCLA - Zack Weiss, RHP, So. (0-1, 0.00, 5.0 IP)
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE (click here)
Each of this weekend's games against Baylor will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Audio broadcasts of all UCLA home games and select road games will be available at uclabruins.com this season. In addition, fans can follow pitch-by-pitch action online through GameTracker, available online at uclabruins.com.
BRUINS VERSUS BEARS
The Bruins have only played Baylor on the baseball diamond once, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Bears at the 2009 Houston College Classic (Feb. 28, 2009). In that contest, then-freshman Gerrit Cole made his second career start for UCLA, limiting Baylor to one run and two hits while striking out eight batters in six innings at the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park.
The Bruins downed Cal State Northridge, 19-7, on the road Tuesday, belting three home runs in one game for the first time since 2010. Jeff Gelalich led the 16-hit attack, going 2-for-4 with two homers, while Tyler Heineman put UCLA on the board 2-0 in the third inning with his first career home run, a two-run shot to right field. UCLA had six players with at least two hits, while Pat Valaika and Shane Zeile tallied three hits apiece. The 19 runs scored were the most by a UCLA team since March 19, 2010, when the Bruins defeated Oral Roberts, 20-4.
UCLA's infield turned a triple play in the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday's game at Cal State Northridge. With runners at first and second, Cody Regis fielded a sharp grounder, stepped on third base and fired to Kevin Kramer at second. Kramer stepped on the base and threw to first, where batter Cal Vogelsang was initally ruled safe. The umpires then ruled that the first base runner had interfered at second base, prompting the third out (scored 5-4 triple play). Ironically, when UCLA and Baylor last met, Baylor turned a triple play against the Bruins.
The Bruins' roster features six position players who have started at least 45 career games. Three of those veterans - juniors Beau Amaral (119), Cody Regis (113) and Cody Keefer (105) - have made at least 105 starts since the start of the 2010 season. Amaral, Regis and Keefer, along with Jeff Gelalich and Trevor Brown, were key contributors on UCLA's College World Series team in 2010 as freshmen and earned substantial playing time as sophomores in 2011. Gelalich (81), Valaika (54) and Brown (48) have each logged at least 45 starts.
ON THE HILL
Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko will take the mound for UCLA on Friday night. The native of Upland, Calif., pitched seven shutout innings in UCLA's season opener last week, striking out 10 batters and issuing just one walk. Plutko did not earn a decision, as Maryland overcame a 1-0 deficit with a two-run ninth inning. As a freshman in 2011, Plutko secured All-Pac-10 team honors, going 7-4 with a 2.01 ERA. He pitched in 16 games, making 15 starts as the team's Sunday starter, and totaled 92 strikeouts in 107.1 innings.
BRUINS GOING YARD
Jeff Gelalich became the first UCLA player to hit two home runs in one game since Cody Regis accomplished the feat on June 12, 2010. Regis crushed two homers in an extra-inning victory over Cal State Fullerton at Jackie Robinson Stadium in an NCAA Super Regional game. In fact, Tuesday's 19-7 win at Cal State Northridge marked the first time UCLA hit at least three homers in one game since June 5, 2010. That day, Gelalich, Regis and Dean Espy each connected with solo home runs in a 6-3 NCAA Regional win over LSU.
STARTING THIS WEEKEND
Sophomore right-handers Nick Vander Tuig and Zack Weiss are slated to start on the mound for UCLA on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Vander Tuig made his first collegiate start last Saturday, earning the victory as the Bruins edged Maryland, 6-5. He served as the team's closer during his freshman campaign last spring, making a team-leading 28 appearances. Weiss, who starred as UCLA's midweek starter one year ago, was tagged with the loss last Sunday versus Maryland, allowing three runs (all unearned) in five innings.
Head coach John Savage has produced 51 MLB Draft selections in his seven seasons at UCLA. Last June, right-handers Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh) and Trevor Bauer (Arizona) became the first and third overall selections in the MLB Draft. Three of Savage's pitchers have already been promoted to the major leagues (Hector Ambriz, David Huff and Josh Roenicke). Most recently, three-year UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford was promoted to the San Francisco Giants in May 2011. Of the 51 draft selections, 16 have been selected in the first 10 rounds.
EYEING THE BIG LEAGUES
As major league Spring Training opens in Florida and Arizona this month, UCLA has 11 former players who have been invited to major league camp. Seven of those 11 players are currently listed on 40-man major league rosters. The full list of players includes Hector Ambriz (Cleveland), Trevor Bauer (Arizona), Charles Brewer (Arizona), Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh), Brandon Crawford (San Francsico), Ben Francisco (Toronto), David Huff (Cleveland), Casey Janssen (Toronto), Rob Rasmussen (Miami), Josh Roenicke (Colorado) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia).
UCLA's returning players account for 63 percent of the total at-bats from last season (1218 or 1936). Those veterans account for 64 percent of the team's total at-bats from last season (325 of 509). The Bruins return 30 percent of their total at-bats from the 2010 team (706 of 2362) and 32 percent of their total hits from that spring (229 of 718).
UCLA was selected fourth in the Pac-12's preseason coaches' poll. Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State earned the top three spots, respectively. The remaining seven teams include (in order) Oregon State, California, Oregon, USC, Washington State, Washington and Utah.
In conference games over the last six seasons (2006-11), UCLA ranks second in both wins (91) and winning percentage (.599). Overall, the Bruins rank fourth in total wins (212) and fourth in winning percentage (.586). UCLA won the Pac-10 title in outright fashion in 2011 for the first time since 1986. The Bruins finished second in 2010 and earned a third-place finish from 2006 through 2009. Prior to UCLA winning the conference title last season, Arizona State had won the Pac-10 title the previous four seasons (2007-10).