Brian Baron's .443 Breaks UCLA Single Season Batting Average Record
May 20, 2001
TEMPE, AZ- Senior Brian Baron finished the season with a .443 batting average, shattering Don Slaught's record of .428 set in 1979, as the Bruinswrapped up the regular season with 12-9 loss at Arizona State. The Bruins finish the regular seasonwith a 30-27 record, 9-14 in Pac-10 play. Arizona State improves to 36-18-1, 14-10. UCLA finishes seventh in Pac-10 play.
Senior Eric Doble improved to 3-2 on the year and 3-0 as a starter with a strong five-inning performance. Doble scattered five hits and three runs in his outing, striking out four and walking two. Sophomore left-hander Bryce Kartler nailed down the win with two strong innings out of the bullpen to pick up his fourth save of the year.
After UCLA and ASU exchanged runs in the first frame, the Devils scored four runs in the second and three more in the third inning. Duffy staked ASU to the early lead with his third home run and second grand slam of the year with a two-out shot over the right field fence in the second. ASU sent nine runners to the plate in the three-run third inning. Senior Jeff Phelps plated a run with a single up the middle and freshman Ryan McKenna brought home two more with a single to right field.
Riding the strong pitching of Doble and solid defense, ASU carried an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth before UCLA battled back with four runs. First baseman Eric Reece belted a three-run home run off relief pitcher Aaron Klusman to bring the Bruins to within three runs at 8-5. Brandon Averill hit a solo home run in the eighth to pull to within two, but the Devils padded their lead with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the eighth.
Junior Brooks Conrad tabbed a two-run double to the left field gap and senior All-American catcher Casey Myers recorded a line-drive single to left field in his final at-bat at Packard Stadium.
UCLA starting pitcher Casey Janssen was saddled with the loss to fall to 2-3 on the year. He allowed five hits and five runs in just two innings of work. At the plate the Bruins were led by Reece (2-for-5, 5 RBI) and catcher Josh Arhart (3-for-4). Second baseman Josh Canales ended his Bruin career with a 24-game hitting streak intact. He hit safely in 39 of the last 40 games of the season.
Baron finished the season with 105 hits, good for 5th place on the single season list. What is most impressive about Baron's hittotal is that he recorded those hits in just 56 games. The four batters above him played in 64 (Bill Scott, 112, and Chase Utley, 108, 2000) and 67 (Troy Glaus, 108, Jon Heinrichs, 107, 1997) game seasons.