Los Angeles, Calif. - The UCLA Baseball team will continue its eight-game road trip on Tuesday night, traveling down the freeway to take on No. 18 Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, April 8 - 6:00 p.m.
UCLA – Grant Dyer, RHP, Fr. (4-2, 2.13)
CSUF – TBA
UCLA VS. CAL STATE FULLERTON
The Bruins and Titans have met 97 times in their history, with Fullerton leading the all-time series 63-32-2. However, UCLA has won six of the last nine meetings. The two schools have also met four times in the NCAA postseason in the last seven years. In 2007, the Titans defeated the Bruins in the NCAA Fullerton Super Regional before beating UCLA again in the 2008 NCAA Fullerton Regional. The Bruins exacted revenge in 2010, taking the final two games of the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional to advance to the College World Series before sweeping the Titans last season at the NCAA Fullerton Super Regional en route to their first NCAA Championship in school history. Last season, Fullerton defeated UCLA in both of the regular season matchups before UCLA won the two matchups in the postseason. Additionally, the Bruins will square off against a former UCLA assistant this weekend, as Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook spent three seasons as an assistant under UCLA head coach John Savage from 2009-11.
Tomorrow’s game at Cal State Fullerton will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Goodwin Field. 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 six midweek starts this season, he is 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 17 strikeouts. Overall, Dyer has posted a 2.13 ERA in 13 appearances, the ninth-lowest ERA in the Pac-12, and has allowed the seventh-fewest hits (31) and 11th-lowest opposing batting average (.217) in the conference. In his last three starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA, 10 strikeouts and just three walks in 18.2 innings pitched. 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.
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 41-9 when they score first in the last two seasons and since the start of 2013 are 56-1 when leading after the seventh inning. Additionally, UCLA has a record of 26-5 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 fifth in the nation and is currently second in the Pac-12 with 45 sacrifice bunts, trailing leaders Washington by just two. Freshman Luke Persico and senior Brian Carroll are tied for the team lead and are sixth in the Pac-12 with seven sacrifice bunts apiece. Sophomore Trent Chatterton is right behind Carroll and Persico with six. The Bruins have laid down at least one successful sacrifice bunt in nine of their last 10 games and have a total of 20 sacrifice bunts in those 10 games. Last season, UCLA set a school record with 76 sacrifice bunts. In the sacrifice fly category, the Bruins have recorded 12 on the year with sophomore Christoph Bono and junior Chris Keck leading the way with two sacrifice flies apiece.
UCLA has won 22 of its last 28 midweek games dating back to the 2012 season. The Bruins are also 22-9 in their last 31 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 4-2 in midweek games.
UCLA has finished among the top three in the Pac-12 Conference in 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.
Since the start of 2010, UCLA has gone 87-35 in all road and neutral site contests, good for a .713 winning percentage. The Bruins have also gone 43-17 in Pac-12 road games since 2010. In the last three seasons, UCLA has gone 42-13 on the road and 10-2 in neutral site games. The Bruins have logged six Pac-12 road sweeps in the last four years (2010 at Washington, California; 2011 at Oregon; 2012 at Washington, Utah; 2013 at USC; 2014 at California) and one non-conference road sweep (2012 at Georgia). The Bruins went 17-8 on the road in 2013, winning series at Baylor, Oregon, Washington State and USC and are currently 6-1 on the road this season. UCLA has also won 17 of its last 18 games away from Jackie Robinson Stadium dating back to last season.
Senior Brian Carroll and sophomores Christoph Bono and Ty Moore are all having strong 2014 seasons thus far. Carroll, a San Diego, Calif. native, is batting at a .294 clip so far, scoring a team-high 18 runs. Serving as the leadoff hitter in every game thus far, Carroll has posted a .414 on-base percentage and has hit safely in 16 of his last 20 games. In the last 20 games, Carroll has batted .308 with 11 runs scored. He has also reached base safely in 23 of his last 26 games. Bono, Carroll’s counterpart in right field, has hit safely in 13 of his last 18 games and has logged at least one RBI in 11 of those 18 games. Bono currently has a team-high 10 doubles, fifth-most in the conference, and leads the team in RBI (18). Additionally, he is second to Shane Zeile with nine multi-hit games and is second to Carroll with 15 runs scored. Finally, in left field, sophomore Ty Moore has hit safely in 13 of his last 18 contests and is batting .318 with 11 RBI and a .430 OBP in his last 18 games. Moore has also recorded multi-hit games in four of his last eight games.
TAKING THE HITS
UCLA has done a remarkable job this season of reaching base via the hit by pitch. Overall, UCLA hitters have been hit 52 times in 30 games thus far, which is the most in the Pac-12 and 17th-most in the country. Senior Brian Carroll leads the Bruins individually with 10 hit by pitches, third-most in the conference, while sophomore Ty Moore has been hit nine times. UCLA has had a batter get hit by a pitch in 10 straight games and has had a total of 26 batters get hit by a pitch in those 10 games. Last season, the Bruins drew 82 hit by pitches, the most in the Pac-12 Conference.
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 a school record 125 appearances, breaking the previous mark of 119 set by Bill Wenrick from 1984-87, and has posted a 15-4 record with a 1.29 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 (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 (34). This season, Berg has thrown 36.0 innings in a conference-leading 24 appearances, all while logging a 3-1 record, nine saves and a 1.75 ERA (fourth-lowest in the Pac-12). Berg has also won his last 11 of his last 12 decisions dating back to 2012 and his nine saves are second-most in the conference and sixth-most in the country.
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 11th in the Pac-12 with a .339 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 a team-high 11 multi-hit games while leading UCLA with 39 total hits, 13 walks (tied with Carroll) and a .421 on-base percentage. His 39 hits rank ninth in the Pac-12 and he has also reached base safely 13 of his last 14 games. Behind the plate, Zeile has handled a pitching staff that has allowed the second-lowest opposing batting second-lowest ERA (2.75) in the conference.
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 .700 since 2010.
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 holding opponents to a .220 batting average, the third-lowest in the conference. The Bruins have also allowed the fourth-fewest hits (214), fewest walks (69) and own the second-lowest ERA (2.75) in the Pac-12. The Bruins’ pitchers also own a WHIP of 1.04, the second-best in the Pac-12 and 10th-best in the nation. Additionally, UCLA’s bullpen has posted an ERA of 2.13 in 30 games this season while holding opponents to a .208 batting average. Max Schuh currently leads all UCLA pitchers with a 1.15 ERA in 17 relief appearances. The Bruins have also allowed three runs or less to the opposition in 10 of their last 15 contests and in the last two seasons are 56-3 when holding the opposing team to three runs or fewer.