Baseball Host Cal Poly This Weekend In 2005 Opener

Jan. 25, 2005

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Leading Off...
UCLA opens its 2005 season this weekend against the only 3-0 team in the nation, Cal Poly SLO. The 38th ranked Mustangs began play last weekend with a road sweep of the University of San Diego and will come to Westwood looking to do the same. First-year Bruin Head Coach John Savage will attempt to lead UCLA to its first back-to-back 30 win seasons in four years. Last year, UCLA finished at 34-29 and ultimately made its 12th post-season appearance in school history, appearing in NCAA Regional at Oklahoma City... The Bruins and Mustangs are meeting for the first time since 1968... Since 1975 UCLA is 19-11 on opening day.

On Deck
January 28, vs. Cal Poly, 6:00 p.m., Jackie Robinson Stadium
Jimmy Shull, RHP (0-0, 5.14 ERA), vs. Hector Ambriz, RHP (NA)
January 29, vs. Cal Poly, 1:00 p.m., Jackie Robinson Stadium
Garrett Olson, LHP (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Bryan Beck, RHP (NA)
January 30, vs. Cal Poly, 1:00 p.m., Jackie Robinson Stadium
Bud Norris, RHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Brant Rustich, RHP (NA)

What's Bruin
Since 1975, UCLA is 19-11 on opening day... UCLA defeated UC Riverside 4-1 on opening day last year... The Bruins and Mustangs are meeting for the first time since 1970... Last: UCLA swept a doubleheader from Cal Poly by scores of 10-4 and 10-5 on February 21, 1970 at Sawtelle Field... This weekend will mark the first time the Mustangs have been to Jackie Robinson Stadium... UCLA leads the all-time series against Cal Poly 16-3... UCLA's three projected starting pitchers (Ambriz, Beck, Rustich) have thrown a combined 202.2 innings in their careers... Beck is one-third of an inning away from 100 for his career... UCLA's 2004 leaders in all ten major offensive categories have all graduated to the professional ranks... UCLA outscored its opponents 395 to 355 in 2004, the first time a Bruin team had done so since 2000... In 2000, when UCLA advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, the Bruins outscored their opponents 551-469... Chris Denove, is the only player on the 2005 squad with an active hitting streak - 3 games.

About Cal Poly
Led by third-year head coach Larry Lee, the Mustangs pulled off a season-opening series sweep against the University of San Diego last weekend and have begun the 2005 campaign a perfect 3-0. In 2004, Cal Poly narrowly missed a post-season appearance after tough second-half. Lee is hoping to avoid that scenario in 2005 with a group of experienced hurlers on powerful bats.

In its first three games, Cal Poly was led by junior outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand and junior first baseman Bret Berglund. Van Ostrand pounded out six hits in 11 at-bats over the weekend and tallied two RBI while Berglund, with only three hits, tallied nine RBI.

On the mound, the Mustangs used ten different pitchers in the three contests. Right-hander Bud Norris, who took over in the first inning of the finale and is Cal Poly's expected starter this Sunday, was most impressive, holding the Tritons to just one run over five innings of work. As a staff, Cal Poly struck out 17 batters and walked 18.

Cal Poly's expected Saturday starter Garrett Olson was named last summer's Alaskan League Top Prospect.

The Mustangs are tied with UCLA in the ESPN/Sports Weekly Baseball poll at No. 40... Cal Poly finished 2004 with a record of 38-23-1... Four Mustangs were drafted in 2004 (Jimmy Shull - returned, Chalon Tietje, Cory Taillon and Sam Herbert)

2005 Bruins Down Alumni, 7-0
During an afternoon peppered with baseball alumni from the past fifty years, the 2005 UCLA team defeated the 'Young-Timers/Professional' Alumni team 7-0, January 22 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Led by sophomore pitcher Hector Ambriz' five-inning, one-hit performance, the Bruins made quick work of their alumni counterparts during the five-inning contest. Junior catcher Chris Denove went 1-for-3 at the plate including a two-RBI double in UCLA's five-run fourth inning. Among the six hits pounded out in the fourth were consecutive singles from Sean Carpenter, Josh Roenicke and Nolan Rouse and a two-RBI triple from center fielder Jarrad Page.

Freshman southpaw Brendan Lafferty pitched for the alumni team against the 2005 squad.

Earlier in the afternoon, Bruin alums from pre-1980 scrapped for a four-inning contest with the Gold Team claiming a 4-2 victory.

Denove Noted by Baseball America
UCLA's junior catcher Chris Denove was noted by Baseball America as the best defensive catcher in the Pac-10 when the publication released its annual conference preview on January 11. The Agoura Hills native was also listed as having the best arm of all Pac-10 backstops.

Baseball America also awarded the Pac-10 the No. 2 conference power ranking, essentially naming the conference the second most competitive in the nation. UCLA has been picked to finish sixth the publication's preseason poll, behind nationally ranked teams Stanford (6), Washington (8), Arizona State (9), Arizona (12) and USC (30).

Recruiting Class Ranked Third Best In The Nation
Head Coach John Savage's first recruiting class at UCLA has been ranked third best in the country by, a nationally collegiate recruiting website. The Bruins' 2006 class of 12 signees includes three infielders, three outfielders, a catcher and six pitchers (three left-handers). Several players play multiple positions.

Perhaps the two biggest names among the 12 signees are national prospects shortstop Brandon Crawford and outfielder Johnny Drennen III. Three members of the class, Drennen (#22), Tim Murphy (#53) and Brian Kirwan (#79) have been listed as top-100 high school recruits by Baseball America and Perfect Game USA, a national recruiting agency. Ten of the players have been nationally ranked in the top 50 by TeamOne Baseball and

The complete 2006 signing class includes Corey Ashner, Ryan Babineau, Tyson Brummett, Crawford, Robert Dickmann, Drennen, Blair Dunlap, Brian Kirwan, Tim Murphy, Eddie Murray, Jason Novak and Andy Suiter.

School Record 10 Bruins Sign Professional Contracts After 2004When 22nd round draft pick Kyle Wilson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2004, the Bruins 2004 college-to-pro class officially became the largest in school history. Joining free agent Preston Griffin and eight other drafted Bruins, Wilson became the 10th player from UCLA's 2004 squad to sign a professional contract.

In 2000, UCLA boasted an NCAA record 12 draftees, but only nine players went on to sign with their respective clubs. In addition to Wilson and Griffin, the eight other Bruin signees were (in order of draft selection): Wes Whisler, Casey Janssen, Bill Susdorf, Ryan McCarthy, David Johnson, Brandon Averill, Mike Svetlic and Matt Thayer.

New Coaching Staff Takes the ReinsHead coach John Savage begins his first season at UCLA in 2005, accompanied by first year assistants Pat Shine, Brian Green and Matt Jones. Shine and Jones both assisted under Savage previously at UC Irvine, where Savage served as head coach from 2001-2004. While with the Anteaters, Savage compiled an 88-84-1 overall record and guided UCI to the school's first ever NCAA Regional appearance in 2004. Savage's first year as a head coach, 2002, was also the first year of competition in over 10 years for the UC Irvine program, meaning Savage was responsible for rebuilding the program from the ground up. Under his tutelage, the Anteaters finished over .500 in two of three seasons and at one point was ranked by Collegiate Baseball as the seventh best team in the nation.

Shine, the Bruins' new hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator, assisted Savage at UCI from 2001-2004 and was responsible for overseeing the hitters and outfielders. Prior to his time at Irvine, Shine held coaching posts with the University of New Mexico and California as well as serving on the coaching staffs of collegiate summers teams such as the Brewster Whitecaps , the St. Cloud Riverbats and the Topeka Capitals. While with the Riverbats, Shine was named the Northwoods League Manager of the Year in 1999 after leading his squad to a league record for wins.

Green, who served as an assistant at Hawaii from 2003-2004, will serve as UCLA's infield and baserunning coach. Aside from Hawaii, throughout Green's 11 seasons as an assistant coach he has spent time at the University of San Diego, Oregon State, Chapman, Cal Poly Pomona and Riverside Community College. He also served as the head coach of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers of the Alaskan Summer League in 2001 and 2002.

Jones assisted Savage at UCI in 2004 and has been called upon again by Savage to serve as an assistant/catching coach for UCLA in 2005. Jones began his coaching career at California as an undergrad assistant from 1997 to 1999 and eventually went on to serve as the head coach at Los Medanos College.

Bruins Capture 2,000th All-Time WinThe Bruins' regular season-ending victory against Oregon State on May 30, 2004, was not the just the precursor to UCLA's first post-season win in four years, more notably it marked the university's 2,000 win all-time. Fittingly, it was UCLA junior Wes Whisler, who ranks among the career top ten at UCLA appearances and was eventually a 2nd round draft selection, who picked up the milestone 11-6 victory.

UCLA went on to go 2-2 at the NCAA Regional in Oklahoma City that season and enter 2005 with 2,002 total wins under its belt.

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