No. 8 UCLA Baseball Wraps Up Regular Season at Stanford

May 23, 2013

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Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-ranked UCLA Baseball team (38-15, 20-7 Pac-12) will conclude its regular season on the road this weekend by traveling to Palo Alto to face the Stanford Cardinal (30-21, 14-13 Pac-12) in a three-game series from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26. Game times are 7 p.m., 7 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively and each game will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks. Roxy Bernstein will handle the play-by-play for Friday and Sunday's games while Paul Sunderland will call Saturday's game. J.T. Snow will provide the color commentary for all three games.

Friday, May 24 - 7 p.m.
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, Jr. (7-2, 2.60)
STAN - Mark Appel, RHP, Sr. (9-4, 2.20)

Saturday, May 25 - 7 p.m.
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, Jr. (10-3, 1.96)
STAN - John Hochstatter, LHP, So. (3-3, 3.65)

Sunday, May 26 - 3 p.m.
UCLA - Grant Watson, LHP, So. (6-3, 3.38)

All three of the UCLA/Stanford games this weekend will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at John Ramey will have the call live from Stanford's Sunken Diamond. Fans can also follow all three games online through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on Links can be found on the front page of on the events calendar or on the 2013 UCLA Baseball schedule page.

The Cardinal hold a 192-146 advantage in the all-time series while head coach John Savage has an all-time record of 12-12 against Stanford. Last season, the Cardinal took two of three from the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Entering the final weekend of conference play, the Bruins find themselves tied for second place with Oregon in the standings, just two games behind Pac-12 leaders Oregon State. The Bruins have clinched at least third place in the conference, marking the eighth consecutive season that they have finished in the top of three of the Pac-12, the only Pac-12 team to do so. While UCLA will finish the conference slate at Stanford, Oregon will travel to Utah for a three-game series while Oregon State will host Washington State.

Junior-right hander Adam Plutko will take the mound in the series opener on Friday night. Plutko, who earlier this season was named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list, owns a record of 7-2 entering this weekend's games, posting a 2.60 ERA in 14 starts this season. In his last seven starts, Plutko is 5-0 with a 1.77 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Overall, Plutko has a team-high 69 strikeouts in 90 innings this season, sixth-most in the Pac-12, and has allowed hitters to bat just .209 against him, which is fifth-lowest in the conference. He has also allowed just a .202 batting average to opponents in conference play.

Junior-right hander Nick Vander Tuig will start for the Bruins in game two of the series on Saturday night. Vander Tuig enters this weekend 10-3 on the year and has enjoyed an outstanding season so far, striking out 68 batters in a team-high 96.1 innings. Overall, Vander Tuig leads all UCLA starters with a 1.96 ERA and has walked just 13 batters all season, fifth-fewest in the Pac-12. His 1.96 ERA is also fourth-best in the conference and he has allowed a .214 batting average against him, all while giving up just 24 runs all season, seventh-fewest in the Pac-12. In his last six starts, Vander Tuig is 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA and 33 strikeouts versus six walks. In Pac-12 play, he is 7-1 in nine starts with a 1.84 ERA, two complete games and 51 strikeouts to just nine walks. Additionally, Vander Tuig has thrown at least six innings in 13 of his 14 starts this season and his 10 wins are 11th--best nationally and second-best in the Pac-12, trailing the conference leader by just one win.

Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson will start Sunday's series finale for the Bruins. Watson, who owns a career record of 14-4 as a starter, is 6-3 on the season with a 3.38 ERA. He has surrendered just 14 walks on the season, good for sixth-fewest in the conference, and has struck out 46 batters in 74.2 innings pitched. In his last outing at USC, Watson earned the win by allowing just two runs (one earned) in five innings of work while walking just one. In 2012, he set a UCLA record for wins by a freshman with nine and was rewarded with freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

With his three saves at USC over the weekend, sophomore David Berg broke the UCLA single-season record for most saves in a season, surpassing Scott Griggs' 15 saves in 2012. Berg, a preseason All-American, currently leads the nation with a 0.58 ERA and is just three saves shy of matching the all-time record for saves at UCLA (Gabe Sollecito, 21). Berg has also allowed the fewest walks (7), runs (4) and hits (40) in the conference and is second in the nation in WHIP with a 0.75 mark. He has appeared in 39 games thus far (most in the Pac-12), posting a record of 6-0 with 62 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. Additionally, Berg has allowed an opponent's batting average of just .184, the lowest opposing average in the Pac-12, and has not allowed a run in his last 35.2 innings of work, the longest scoreless innings streak in the nation this season. He also ranks seventh in the nation with his 17 saves and has gotten the save in UCLA's last four games.

The Bruins closed out the regular season home schedule on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over UC Santa Barbara. Freshman Cody Poteet allowed just one run in six innings to earn the win while sophomore David Berg picked up his 17th save of the year. At one point, Poteet retired 14 batters in a row to keep the Gaucho offense in check. At the plate, junior Brian Carroll went 2-4 with a run scored while junior Kevin Williams went 2-2 with a RBI and a walk. Junior Pat Valaika knocked in what would be the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth that scored Carroll.

Since April 16, sophomore Kevin Kramer is batting .345 with 15 runs, 13 RBI, a .448 slugging percentage and a .400 on-base percentage. Kramer has also hit safely in 21 of his last 23 games and is currently on a career-long 13 game hitting streak. Overall, the Turlock, Calif. native leads the team in on-base percentage (.415), batting average (.296), hits (59) and multi-RBI games (11). In addition, he is tied for first the team with 28 walks and 38 RBI while leading the team with 13 hit by pitches (second most in the Pac-12). Kramer is second on the team in runs scored (36), slugging percentage (.412) and home runs (3) as well.

Since the start of 2010, UCLA has gone 71-32 in all road and neutral site contests. The Bruins have also gone 39-15 in Pac-12 road games since 2010. In the last two seasons, UCLA has gone 33-10 on the road. The Bruins have logged five Pac-12 road sweeps in the last three years (2010 at Washington, California; 2011 at Oregon; 2012 at Washington, Utah; 2013 at USC) and one non-conference road sweep (2012 at Georgia). The Bruins are 14-6 on the road this season, winning series at Baylor, Oregon, Washington State and USC and winning midweek games at UCSB, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine.

Earlier this week, junior shortstop Pat Valaika was named to the updated Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award watch list. Valaika is one of 14 candidates on the updated watch list this year and one of just two shortstops from the Pac-12 that made the list. He is currently second on the team in batting average with a .273 mark, while leading the Bruins in doubles (13), triples (3), slugging percentage (.439), home runs (5) and multi-hit games (17). In the field, Valaika has started every game for the Bruins at shortstop, posting a fielding percentage of .982 while committing just four errors all season, tied for the fewest among all Pac-12 shortstops. In Pac-12 play, Valaika is hitting .287 with a team-high 31 hits and 19 RBI.

UCLA's outfield pair of Eric Filia and Brian Carroll have led the Bruin offense to a recent surge in production. In his last 19 games, Filia is hitting .324 with 15 runs, five doubles and 11 RBI, all while slugging .397 and posting an on-base percentage of .446. Filia has also hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games and has reached base safely in his last 19 appearances. Carroll has been a catalyst at the top of the lineup all season, stealing 27 bases in 33 attempts, good for second-most in the conference and 22nd-most in the country. Carroll's 27 stolen bases are also tied with Niko Gallego's 27 in 2010 for the most by a UCLA player in a single season since 1999. In addition, Carroll leads the team in runs scored (39) and has posted a high on-base percentage of .378.

The Bruins are outscoring their opponents 100-66 through the first three innings. UCLA is also 25-4 on the year when they score first and 14-2 when they score in the first inning. In addition, UCLA has a record of 32-4 when they score three or more runs in a ballgame. In one-run games, the Bruins are an outstanding 15-1 on the season, giving them the highest winning percentage in one-run games in the country (min. 10 games). They are also 31-0 when leading after seven innings and 30-0 when holding their opponent to three runs or fewer. The Bruins have held their opponents to two runs or fewer in 25 of their 53 games this year. Finally, since 2010, head coach John Savage has won 172 out of 244 games played, giving him an outstanding winning percentage of .705 winning percentage.

UCLA's pitchers have combined to post a team ERA of 2.73, which ranks third in the Pac-12 and is 17th-best nationally. The Bruins also rank fifth in the country with an overall WHIP of 1.09. UCLA's starting pitchers have posted a combined ERA of 2.92 in 53 games, striking out a total of 208 batters, while UCLA's bullpen has combined for a record of 11-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 177 innings pitched. As a team, the Bruins have held opponents to just a .222 batting average against them, second-lowest in the Pac-12, and have allowed the second-fewest walks (143) and second-fewest runs (169) in the conference. In addition to David Berg is leading the conference in appearances, junior Zack Weiss ranks second with 36 appearances on the year. Weiss is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA this season.

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