No. 9 UCLA Baseball Returns Home to Face Long Beach State

April 22, 2013

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Los Angeles, Calif. - The ninth-ranked UCLA Baseball team (25-11) returns home for a Tuesday night matchup against the Long Beach State Dirtbags (17-20) on April 23 at 6 p.m. out Jackie Robinson Stadium. Freshman Cody Poteet will take the mound for the Bruins.

Tuesday, April 23 - 6:00 p.m.
LBSU - Landon Hunt, LHP, Sr. (2-0, 4.82)
UCLA - Cody Poteet, RHP, Fr. (2-3, 4.47)

Tuesday's game vs. Long Beach State will feature a live audio broadcast online at 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 this season. In addition, fans can follow pitch-by-pitch action of the Long Beach State game through gametracker, which can be found here.

The Bruins have won four of the last five meetings over the Dirtbags, including the last the three meetings. Earlier this season, the two sides met at Blair Field on March 5 where UCLA defeated the Dirtbags, 3-2. Junior Ryan Deeter earned the victory while David Berg earned the save. Finally, head coach John Savage has an all-time record of 10-8 against Long Beach State in his time at UCLA.

UCLA traveled to Eugene this weekend to take on Oregon in a three-game series and left with a crucial series victory, taking two of three from the Ducks. In the series opener on Friday night, the Bruins won, 1-0, behind a gem of a performance on the mound from junior Adam Plutko. Plutko gave up just three hits in seven scoreless innings, matching a season-high with eight strikeouts. UCLA got the only run of the ballgame in the fifth when junior Brian Carroll scored on a 5-4-3 double play. Then on Saturday, the hot pitching continued as junior Nick Vander Tuig tossed seven scoreless innings while striking out six to give the Bruins another 1-0 win over the Ducks. It was the first time in program history that UCLA has won back-to-back 1-0 ballgames. This time UCLA scored the only run of the game in the first when sophomore Eric Filia scored on an error by Oregon third baseman Mitchell Tolman. In the series finale on Sunday, Oregon bested the Bruins by a score of 5-3. The Ducks scored their first run of the series in the bottom of the third, which snapped a streak of 29.1 consecutive scoreless innings by UCLA's pitching staff.

By pitching 7.1 scoreless innings in relief last week, sophomore David Berg picked up Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors from the conference. Berg allowed just two hits and struck out four batters last week, earning a win on Tuesday and two saves against Oregon. He fanned three and did not allow a baserunner in a four-inning outing against UC Irvine on Tuesday en route to earning his fourth win of the season. Berg then held Oregon scoreless in 3.1 innings of work on Friday and Saturday, to claim his ninth and 10th saves of the season. Berg has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances (16 innings).

300 CLUB
With UCLA's win over Oregon on Saturday night, head coach John Savage earned his 300th victory as UCLA's head coach. Savage owns a record 300-218 at UCLA, managing the team to Pac-12 Championships in 2011 and 2012. He has also guided the Bruins to the postseason in six of the last seven seasons, leading UCLA to the College World Series in 2010 and 2012. Savage is also one of just eight head coaches in the history of college baseball to have led his team to the College World Series, produced a No. 1 overall MLB Draft selection and coached a Golden Spikes Award winner.

Freshman right-hander Cody Poteet is slated to take the mound this Tuesday for the Bruins. In his last start at UC Irvine on April 16, Poteet went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while fanning four in a no-decision. Poteet has made 16 appearances for the Bruins thus far, and is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA as a starter. In addition, he has allowed opponents to hit just a .226 against him. The right-hander from Bonita, Calif. was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft after enjoying a great three-year career at Christian High School (El Cajon, Calif.) and competing for club team ABD Bulldogs. He went 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 66.2 innings pitched for the Bulldogs in 2012.

UCLA has won 16 of its last 17 midweek games dating back to last season, with its only loss coming to Cal State Fullerton back on April 2. The Bruins concluded the 2012 regular-season schedule having gone 11-0 in all Tuesday ballgames and are also 14-1 in their last 15 games against Big West opponents. UCLA posted a perfect 9-0 record against Big West Conference foes in 2012. The Bruins are 5-1 in midweek games this season, defeating UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine on the road and Hawai'i at home.

After his record-setting freshman season in 2012, sophomore David Berg has continued to string together terrific performances out of the bullpen in 2013. Berg, a preseason All-American, currently leads the Pac-12 with a 0.85 ERA, which is also good for third best in the nation. He has allowed the fewest walks (4), fewest runs (4) and fewest hits (26) in the conference as well. Berg has appeared in 25 games thus far (tied for most in the Pac-12), posting a record of 4-0 with 10 saves and 42 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched. Additionally, Berg has allowed an opponent's batting average of just .176, the lowest opposing average in the Pac-12, and is second in the nation in WHIP with a 0.71 mark. In 2012, Berg led the Pac-12 with a 1.46 ERA, appearing in 50 games, which was one appearance shy of the NCAA Division I record. Berg also earned freshman All-America honors from Baseball America in 2012.

UCLA's pitchers have combined to post a team ERA of 2.55, which ranks second in the Pac-12 and is ninth-best nationally. The Bruins also rank fourth in the country with an overall WHIP of 1.05. UCLA's starting pitchers have posted a combined ERA of 2.65 in 36 games, striking out a total of 149 batters. In addition, the Bruins have held opponents to just a .216 batting average against them and have allowed the fewest runs in the conference (108).

UCLA has been outstanding in the field this season, posting a team fielding percentage of .980, which is ranked seventh in the country entering this week and second in the conference behind only Oregon (.986). The Bruins have committed only 29 errors their 36 games thus far. Individually, junior shortstop Pat Valaika has not committed an error in his last 26 games, with his last error coming back on March 3 against Wright State. In 2012, UCLA's defense recorded a .976 fielding percentage, matching the second-highest mark in school history.

UCLA came in at No. 9 in the most recent Baseball America top-25 poll, marking the 28th consecutive week that the Bruins have been ranked in the top 25. The Bruins last dropped out of the poll on May 22, 2011. UCLA finished the 2012 season ranked No. 5 by Baseball America and reached No. 1 in the poll back on April 12, 2010. In the last three seasons, the Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 by Baseball America a total of 11 times.

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