No. 8 UCLA Set for Showdown with No. 4 Cal State Fullerton

May 13, 2013

UCLA at Cal State Fullerton - Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Follow on Facebook

Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-ranked UCLA Baseball team (34-14), winners of nine of its past 11 games, will play a big non-conference game on Tuesday as they travel to Fullerton to face the fourth-ranked Cal State Fullerton Titans (41-8) at 6 p.m. at Goodwin Field.

Tuesday, May 14 - 6:00 p.m.
UCLA - Cody Poteet, RHP, Fr. (3-5, 4.60)
CSUF - Michael Lopez, RHP, Sr. (1-0, 2.79)

Tuesday's game at Cal State Fullerton will feature a live audio broadcast online at John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Goodwin Field. 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 Cal State Fullerton game through a live stats link, which can be found here.

The Bruins and Titans have met 94 times in their history, with Fullerton leading the all-time series 62-30-2. However, UCLA has won four of the last six meetings. The two schools have also met three times in the NCAA postseason in the last six 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. Finally, the Bruins will square off against a former UCLA assistant on Tuesday, as Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook spent three seasons as an assistant under UCLA head coach John Savage from 2009-11.

UCLA again kept pace in a tight Pac-12 race, taking all three games from Arizona over the weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins outscored the Wildcats, 29-8, en route to the three-game sweep. On Friday, UCLA took down Arizona, 10-2, behind a career-high six RBI from senior Cody Regis and 6.2 strong innings on the mound from junior Adam Plutko. Regis continued his hot hitting into Saturday, going 4-4 with two doubles and three runs scored as the Bruins defeated the Wildcats, 7-1. Junior Nick Vander Tuig was stellar on the mound once again, allowing just one run in 7.1 innings pitched to earn his fifth consecutive victory. Then in the finale on Sunday, UCLA finished off the sweep with a 12-5 win. Sophomore Chris Keck had a career day, going 2-3 with a home run and four RBI. Sophomore Kevin Kramer also had a big day, going 3-5 with a home run and three RBI while junior Pat Valaika smashed his fifth home run of the year as well. UCLA has now won eight consecutive Pac-12 series over Arizona.

Freshman right-hander Cody Poteet will take the mound once again for the Bruins tomorrow night. Poteet enters tomorrow's game with a 3-5 record on the year, logging a 4.60 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 57.2 innings pitched. He has made 23 appearances for the Bruins thus far and is 3-3 with a 4.66 ERA as a starter. Poteet pitched in three games last week, starting last Tuesday's game against Cal State Northridge before making two relief appearances in UCLA's three-game series vs. Arizona. Overall, he has allowed opponents to hit just .218 against him, sixth-lowest in the Pac-12, and has allowed the third-fewest hits in the conference (45).

UCLA has won 17 of its last 20 midweek games dating back to last season. The Bruins concluded the 2012 regular-season schedule having gone 11-0 in all Tuesday ballgames and are also 15-3 in their last 18 games against Big West opponents. UCLA posted a perfect 9-0 record against Big West Conference foes in 2012. The Bruins are 6-3 in midweek games this season, defeating UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine on the road and Hawai'i and UC Irvine 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 nation with a 0.64 ERA. He has allowed the fewest walks (7), runs (4) and hits (37) in the conference as well and is third in the nation in WHIP with a 0.78 mark. Berg has appeared in 35 games thus far (most in the Pac-12), posting a record of 6-0 with 13 saves and 55 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched. Additionally, Berg has allowed an opponent's batting average of just .188, the lowest opposing average in the Pac-12, and has not allowed a run in his last 30 innings of work. He also ranks 10th in the nation with his 13 saves. 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.

Since the start of 2010, UCLA has gone 68-31 in all road and neutral site contests. The Bruins have also gone 36-15 in Pac-12 road games since 2010. In the last two seasons, UCLA has gone 30-9 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) and one non-conference road sweep (2012 at Georgia). The Bruins are 11-5 on the road this season, winning series at Baylor, Oregon and Washington State and winning midweek games at UCSB, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine.

Junior shortstop Pat Valaika has been a steady presence in the middle of the lineup and a leader in the field this season. Valaika is tied for the team lead with 15 multi-hit games, and is second to Kevin Kramer with five multi-RBI games, 34 RBI and 49 hits. Valaika does lead the Bruins in home runs (5), total bases (79), doubles (13) and slugging percentage (.422, min. 70 ABs). He also enters tomorrow's game having hit safely in nine of his last 11 games and has reached base safely in his last 19 of his last 20 games. In the field, Valaika has anchored the defense at shortstop, leading the Bruins with 23 double plays turned while posting a .979 fielding percentage.

Sophomore Kevin Kramer has been swinging a hot bat as of late, as he is 21 for his last 62 (.339 avg.) and has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games. The Turlock, Calif. native leads the team in on-base percentage (.416), batting average (.291), hits (52), RBI (35) and multi-RBI games (10). In addition, he leads the team with 26 walks and 13 hit by pitches (tied for the most in the Pac-12). Kramer is second on the team in runs scored (33), slugging percentage (.419) and home runs (3) and enters tomorrow's game on an eight-game hitting streak.

The Bruins are outscoring their opponents 96-59 through the first three innings. UCLA is also 25-3 on the year when they score first and 14-1 when they score in the first inning. In addition, UCLA has a record of 30-4 when they score three or more runs in a ballgame. In one-run games, the Bruins are an outstanding 12-1 on the season. They are also 28-0 when leading after seven innings and 27-0 when holding their opponent to three runs or fewer. Finally, Bruins have held their opponents to two runs or fewer in 22 of their 48 games this year.

UCLA's outfield pair of Eric Filia and Brian Carroll have led the Bruin offense to a recent surge in production. In his last 14 games, Filia is hitting .353 with 12 runs, four doubles and seven RBI, all while slugging .431 and posting an on-base percentage of .459. Filia also has six multi-hit games in his last 16 appearances and is currently on an eight-game hitting streak. Carroll has been a catalyst at the top of the lineup all season, stealing 26 bases in 31 attempts, good for second-most in the conference and 18th-most in the country. Carroll's 25 stolen bases are also the second-most by a UCLA player in a single season since 1999. In addition, Carroll leads the team in runs scored (35) and has posted a high on-base percentage of .385.

UCLA's pitchers have combined to post a team ERA of 2.71, which ranks third in the Pac-12 and is 14th-best nationally. The Bruins also rank sixth in the country with an overall WHIP of 1.10. UCLA's starting pitchers have posted a combined ERA of 2.88 in 48 games, striking out a total of 194 batters, while UCLA's bullpen has combined for a record of 10-3 with a 2.43 ERA. As a team, the Bruins have held opponents to just a .224 batting average against them, second-lowest in the Pac-12, and have allowed the fewest walks in the conference (129) and second-fewest runs (154).

UCLA has been outstanding in the field this season, posting a team fielding percentage of .980, which is ranked fourth in the country and is tied for first in the Pac-12. The Bruins have committed only 38 errors thus far, the fewest in the conference. In 2012, UCLA's defense recorded a .976 fielding percentage, matching the second-highest mark in school history.

UCLA came in at No. 8 in the most recent Baseball America top-25 poll, marking the 31st 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 14 times.

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