Los Angeles, Calif. - The 18th-ranked UCLA Baseball team will take a break from conference play to host the Long Beach State Dirtbags on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time is set for a 6 p.m. start.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, March 25 - 6:00 p.m.
LBSU – Cody Marshall, RHP, Fr. (1-1, 3.60)
UCLA – Grant Dyer, RHP, Fr. (2-2, 2.22)
UCLA VS. LONG BEACH STATE
The Bruins lead the all-time series with Long Beach State, 59-40, and have won four of the last six meetings against the Dirtbags. Head Coach John Savage owns a record of 10-9 against Long Beach State in his time at UCLA. Last season, the two schools split their season series with each team winning on the opponent’s home field.
BRUINS ON TV
Tomorrow night’s game will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks in what will be the first ever broadcast by the Networks at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Ted Robinson and Aubrey Huff will have the call for the Pac-12 Networks. UCLA will make 15 appearances on the Pac-12 Networks this year and two appearances on ESPNU. Eight of the 17 total TV appearances for UCLA will come at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Tomorrow’s game against Long Beach State will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Fans can also follow the game online through a live stats link, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on uclabruins.com. Links can be found on the front page of uclabruins.com on the events calendar or on the 2014 UCLA Baseball schedule page.
Freshman right-hander Grant Dyer will once again take the mound for the Bruins tomorrow night. Dyer made his collegiate debut on Feb. 15 against Portland, pitching a scoreless inning in relief in UCLA’s 12-1 win over the Pilots. In his first start against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 18, Dyer earned the win with five shutout innings while allowing just two hits and fanning three. In four midweek starts this season, he is 2-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 13 strikeouts. Overall, Dyer has posted a 2.22 ERA in nine appearances and has allowed the third-fewest hits (15) and fifth-lowest opposing batting average (.161) in the Pac-12. In high school, Dyer was a three-year varsity letterwinner at Dana Hills High School in Laguna Niguel, Calif., posting a 6-4 record as a senior in 2013. He also logged a 1.24 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, all while holding opponents to a .208 batting average against him. Additionally, Dyer tossed four complete games and walked only eight batters during his senior season.
UCLA’s pitching staff has picked up right where it left off in 2013 as the Bruins continue to string together great performances on the mound this season. UCLA as a team is sixth in the Pac-12 conference with 156 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .199 batting average, the second-lowest in the conference. The Bruins have also allowed the third-fewest hits (140), second-fewest walks (52) and own the third-lowest ERA (2.55) in the Pac-12. UCLA’s 2.55 ERA is also the 25th-lowest in the nation while the Bruins’ pitchers own the fourth-best WHIP in the country at 0.96, tops in the Pac-12. UCLA’s starting quartet of James Kaprielian, Grant Watson, Cody Poteet and Grant Dyer have posted an ERA of 2.71 in 22 starts this season while holding opponents to a .200 batting average. The Bruins have also allowed two runs or less to the opposition in six of their last seven contests and in the last two seasons are 52-3 when holding the opposing team to three runs or fewer.
UCLA has won 20 of its last 26 midweek games dating back to the 2012 season. The Bruins are also 21-7 in their last 28 games against Big West opponents. UCLA posted a perfect 9-0 record against Big West Conference foes in 2012. The Bruins went 7-4 in midweek games last season, defeating UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine on the road and Hawai’i, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine at home. This season, UCLA is 2-2 in midweek games.
PLAYING FROM AHEAD
In the last two seasons, UCLA has done a tremendous job of getting an early lead and then not relinquishing that lead. The Bruins are a combined 39-8 when they score first in the last two seasons and since the start of 2013 are a perfect 52-0 when leading after the seventh inning. Additionally, UCLA has a record of 23-4 in the last two seasons when scoring in the first inning.
The Bruins have done an excellent job this season of laying down sacrifice bunts. UCLA ranks 12th in the nation and third in the Pac-12 with 29 sacrifice bunts. Freshman Luke Persico leads the Bruins and is fourth in the Pac-12 with six sacrifice bunts while freshman Brett Stephens, sophomore Trent Chatterton and senior Brian Carroll are second with four. Last season, UCLA set a school record with 76 sacrifice bunts. In the sacrifice fly category, the Bruins have recorded eight on the year with sophomore Christoph Bono leading the way with two sacrifice flies.
UCLA came in at No. 18 in this week’s Baseball America top-25 poll, marking the 41st 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 2013 season ranked No. 1 in each of the nation’s major polls. In the last four seasons, the Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 by Baseball America a total of 17 times. UCLA also concluded the 2013 campaign with an RPI of 9 and the No. 2 strength of schedule according to boydsworld.com.
Senior Brian Carroll and sophomore Christoph Bono are both having strong 2014 seasons thus far. Carroll, a San Diego, Calif. native, is batting at a .300 clip so far, scoring a team-high 14 runs. Serving as the leadoff hitter in every game thus far, Carroll has posted a .423 on-base percentage and has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games. In the last 12 games, Carroll has batted .327 with eight runs scored. He has also reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games and leads the Bruins with five stolen bases on the season. Bono, Carroll’s counterpart in right field, has been on a tear as of late, hitting safely in nine of his last 10 games and logging at least one RBI in eight of those 10 games. Bono is currently batting .309 overall with a team-high eight doubles, fourth-most in the conference, and has batted .359 since UCLA’s game on March 7 vs. Pepperdine. Bono also leads the team in RBI (15), is tied with Shane Zeile for the team lead in multi-hit games (8), is second to Carroll with 13 runs scored and is tied for second on the team with Luke Persico with a .432 slugging percentage.
UCLA has finished among the top three in the Pac-12 Conference each of the last eight seasons (2006-2013), the only Pac-12 team to have done so. Under John Savage, UCLA finished third from 2006 through 2009, before finishing second in 2010 and winning the confernece title in 2011 and 2012. Last season, UCLA finished third with a 21-9 Pac-12 record. Never before in school history has UCLA enjoyed an eight-year span with as many top finishes in the standings.
In conference games since 2006, UCLA ranks second in wins (137) and win percentage (.628), trailing only Arizona State. The Bruins are third in total wins (323) and overall win percentage (.628) among Pac-12 teams. UCLA and Arizona split the 2012 Pac-12 title, and UCLA won the 2011 Pac-10 championship in outright fashion for the first time since 1986. In 2013, UCLA won the first NCAA title in program history.
All-American closer David Berg has enjoyed as fine a career as any reliever in the history of college baseball. In three seasons, Berg has made 119 appearances, which is tied with Bill Wenrick (1984-87) for the most in school history, and has posted a 15-3 record with a 1.31 ERA. Berg also owns the NCAA single-season record for saves with 24 in 2013 and tied the NCAA record for most appearances in a season with 51 last year. Additionally, he became the first reliever in conference history to win Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year last season and was UCLA’s first recipient of the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, given out to the nation’s top relief pitcher. Berg was named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the second time in his career in 2013, making him just the 25th UCLA player all-time to receive all-conference acclaim at least twice. In addition, he finished second in the country in both WHIP (walks and hits allowed per innings pitched) with a mark of 0.85 and ERA last year. Finally, Berg is the only pitcher in UCLA history to lead the conference in ERA in back-to-back seasons and is UCLA’s all-time record holder for most postseason appearances (17), postseason saves (6) and career saves (31). This season, Berg has thrown 26 innings in a conference-leading 18 appearances, all while logging a 3-0 record, six saves and a 2.08 ERA. Berg has also won his last 11 decisions dating back to 2012.
Junior catcher Shane Zeile has continued to hit the ball well at the plate during the 2014 season. The Valencia, Calif. native leads the Bruins and ranks sixth in the Pac-12 with a .383 batting average. Zeile, who was named to the 2014 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, given out to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, has also logged eight multi-hit games while leading UCLA with 31 total hits, 11 walks and a .463 on-base percentage. His on-base percentage currently ranks fifth in the conference. Behind the plate, Zeile has handled a pitching staff that has allowed the second-lowest opposing batting average (.199) and third-lowest ERA (2.55) in the conference. Last season, Zeile started 57 of the Bruins’ 66 games, logging nine doubles and two home runs.
HEAD COACH JOHN SAVAGE
Head coach John Savage was named the 2013 National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, the ABCA and Perfect Game USA. By guiding the Bruins to their second straight College World Series last year, Savage became one of just 10 coaches all-time from the Pac-12 to lead their teams to back-to-back College World Series appearances. Additionally, Savage is one of just five coaches in college baseball history to have led his team to one CWS championship, produced a No. 1 MLB Draft pick and coached a Golden Spikes Award winner. Savage helped UCLA post an overall 49-17 record in 2013, marking the second-highest single-season win total in school history, and is UCLA’s all-time winningest postseason manager with 32 postseason victories. UCLA also matched a school record with 21 conference victories in 2013. Finally, Savage has guided the Bruins to the postseason in seven of the last eight seasons and has a staggering winning percentage staggering .707 since 2010.