Feb. 14, 2013
Minnesota at UCLA Game Notes | Listen Live
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Los Angeles, Calif. -
The No. 2 ranked UCLA baseball team will kick off its 2013 season against Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 15 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m. Junior right-hander Adam Plutko will take the mound as the Bruins' starting pitcher in the season opener.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS (2012 stats)
Friday, Feb. 15 - 6 p.m.
Minnesota - Tom Windle, LHP, Jr. (3-5, 3.27)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, Jr. (12-3, 2.48)
Saturday, Feb. 16 - 2 p.m.
Minnesota - Ben Meyer, RHP, So. (0-2, 2.37)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, Jr. (10-4, 4.43)
Sunday, Feb. 17 - 1 p.m.
Minnesota - Jordan Jess, LHP, So. (2-2, 4.01)
UCLA - Grant Watson, LHP, So. (9-2, 4.45)
ONLINE RADIO BROADCAST (click here)
Each game of UCLA's home games will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. UCLA will also broadcast select road games throughout the season. UCLA's John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend as the Bruins begin their season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Fans can also follow every UCLA Baseball game online through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on uclabruins.com.
BRUINS OPEN VERSUS MINNESOTA
UCLA begins its 2013 season against Minnesota tonight, opening a three-game non-conference series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins have won five of their last six season openers. In eight seasons under head coach John Savage, UCLA has posted a 6-2 record in season openers. UCLA and Minnesota have faced each other four times on the baseball diamond, with the Bruins winning three of those matchups. This will be the first time that the two schools have played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. With John Savage at the helm of UCLA's program, the Bruins have gone 6-3 against teams from the Big Ten Conference.
NEW LOOK OUTFIELD
With 2012 starters Cody Keefer, Beau Amaral and Jeff Gelalich all having been selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Bruins will look to a new group of players to fill the void in the outfield. Sophomore Eric Filia will look to take over in right field after playing in 20 games as a freshman and enjoying a breakout summer in the Northwoods League, hitting .383 with 32 runs, 37 RBI and 24 stolen bases for the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Junior Brian Carroll is expected to make an impact in center field while fellow junior Brenton Allen will push for playing time in left. Freshman Ty Moore, who was named the Gatorade State of Player of the Year at Mater Dei High School in 2012, will also see time in the outfield.
AROUND THE INFIELD
Senior Cody Regis is back for the 2013 season after playing in 178 games in his first three seasons at UCLA. Regis is ineligible for the rest of the winter quarter due to academics and is expected to return by the start of the spring quarter in April. In the meantime, junior Pat Gallagher will push for time at first base, as will sophomore Chris Keck. Second baseman Kevin Williams is currently battling a shoulder injury so freshman Trent Chatterton will step in after enjoying a fine four-year career at Pacifica High School (Garden Grove, Calif.). Shortstop Pat Valaika and third baseman Kevin Kramer return to the left-side of the infield in 2013. Valaika improved his batting average by 28 points in 2012 and will serve as one of the team captains. Kramer led the Bruins in the postseason with a .385 batting average and hit .281 overall during his freshman season.
STARTING THE SEASON OPENER
Taking the mound for the season opener will be junior right-hander Adam Plutko. Plutko, who served as UCLA's Friday starter a season ago, captured All-American honors as a sophomore in 2012 and earned All-Pac-12 honors for the secon consecutive year. He was named a preseason All-American in 2013 and in two seasons in Westwood, has gone 19-7 with a 2.26 ERA and 191 strikeouts. Plutko finished the 2012 season winning his last seven starts, pitching at least six innings in each of those games and posting an ERA of just 0.89. He started the season opener for the Bruins last season, going seven innings against Maryland and earning a no-decision.
Junior right-hander Nick Vander Tuig will enter his second year as UCLA's Saturday starter in 2013. As a sophomore in 2012, Vander Tuig went 10-4 with a 4.43 ERA, recording 77 strikeouts and 25 walks in 109.2 innings. In the postseason, he was even better, going 2-1 with 24 strikeouts in three postseason starts, highlighted by a career-high 11 strikeout performance against New Mexico in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional. Vander Tuig served as UCLA's closer in 2011, logging a 2.90 ERA and nine saves in 14 opportunities.
ROUNDING OUT THE ROTATION
After serving primarily as UCLA's midweek starter during his freshman season in 2012, sophomore left-hander Grant Watson will round out UCLA's weekend rotation. Watson went 9-2 last season, tying the school record for single-season wins by a freshman in the process. He made 35 appearances (15 starts), posting a 4.45 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 89.0 innings pitched. Watson was simply dominant in midweek games a year ago, going 6-0 with a 2.67 ERA. As a starting pitcher, he is 8-1 with a 3.76 ERA. Sunday will be Watson's fourth weekend start in his career.
BRUINS IN THE BULLPEN
The Bruins return a strong bullpen led by preseason All-American David Berg Berg established the Pac-12 and UCLA record for single-season appearances (50), one shy of the NCAA Division I all-time single-season record, as a freshman in 2012 and led the Pac-12 with a 1.46 ERA in 74 innings pitched. Redshirt junior Ryan Deeter also returns after posting a 0.89 ERA last season in 36 relief appearances. Freshman James Kaprielian will handle the closing duties after enjoying an outstanding four-year career as a starter at Beckman High School (Irvine, Calif.).
UCLA was selected to finish second in the Pac-12's preseason coaches' poll. Stanford was picked to finish first while Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona rounded out the top five in that order. The remaining six teams include (in order) Arizona State, California, USC/Washington State (tie), Washington and Utah.
In conference games since 2006, UCLA ranks second in wins (111) and win percentage (.610). The Bruins are fourth in total wins (260) and in overall win percentage (.610) 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. The Bruins finished second in 2010 and earned a third-place finish from 2006 through 2009.
Adam Plutko and David Berg were named preseason All-America honors from multiple publications in February. Plutko secured preseason All-America accolades from Baseball America (third team), Collegiate Baseball (first team), the NCBWA (first team) and Perfect Game USA (second team). Berg earned preseason All-America acclaim from the NCBWA (second team) and Perfect Game USA (second team). Plutko captured All-Pac-12 honors in both his freshman and sophomore years while Berg earned All-Pac-12 acclaim during his freshman season.
UCLA's 34-man roster features one senior, 10 juniors, seven sophomores and 16 freshmen. All but one player (Pat Gallagher, Nevada) hails from California. In addtion, of the 33 players from California, 23 come from Southern California, eight from Northern California and three from Central California.