Baseball Gears Up For Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara
April 12, 2005
UCLA (7-21, 0-6)
at Loyola Marymount (13-18, 6-5)
Tuesday, April 12 - 3 PM - Page Stadium
vs. UC Santa Barbara (16-17, 1-2)
Friday, April 15 - 6 PM - Jackie Robinson Stadium
Saturday-Sunday, April 16-17 - 1/1 PM - Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
LF Will Penniall (5-11, 180, S/R, So.)
SS Tommy Lansdon (6-0, 165, R/R/ So.)
DH Hector Ambriz (6-2, 210, L/R, So.)
1B Brett McMillan (6-5, 225, L/R, Jr.)
C Matt Sharp (6-0, 205, L/R, Sr.)
2B Sean Carpenter (6-0, 170, R/R, Jr.)
RF Anthony Norman (6-0, 180, L/L, Jr.)
CF Jarrad Page (6-0, 200, S/R, So.)
3B Eric Taylor (6-1, 200, R/R, Sr.)
Tues. Adam Simon (1-3, 6.26 ERA)
Fri. Hector Ambriz (2-3, 3.95 ERA)
Sat. Bryan Beck (0-6, 5.36 ERA)
Leading Off: UCLA will be playing games No. 5, 6 and 7 of a stretch in which the Bruins play 11 of 12 games on the road. This week includes four non-conference games, a Tuesday matchup across town at Loyola Marymount and a three-game home-away-away series with UC Santa Barbara. UCLA enters this week winless since February 25 and in a school record 17 game losing streak. However, for the first time since March 5, the Bruins will be squaring off against non-top-25 teams. Nine of UCLA's last 17 games have been played against teams ranked nationally in the top-15.
This Week on the Radio: Tuesday's contest at LMU will be available on the internet via the Lions' official website, LMULions.com. This weekend's games against UCSB will be available via webcast on uclaBruins.com. Friday's broadcast will feature the Bruins' radio team of Danny Lee and Darren Preston while the Saturday and Sunday contests will be called by the Gauchos' broadcast squad.
A Look at Last Week: The Bruins' road woes continued last week as UCLA dropped a midweek non-conference matchup in heartbreaking fashion, 2-1 to Long Beach State and then was swept by cross-town rival USC in Pac-10 action over the weekend. Against the Dirtbags, Brandon Godfrey's ninth-inning sacrifice fly scored the winning run as UCLA squandered effective pitching performances from Adam Simon, Daniel Miltenberger and Bryan Beck. On Friday against USC, junior first baseman Brett McMillan provided what turned out to be the only run UCLA would score all weekend as he blasted a solo home run in the seventh inning of an 11-1 loss. Trojan right-hander Ian Kennedy then tossed a magnificent complete game shutout in Saturday's 9-0 USC win while striking out a career high 15 batters. The Bruins never got it going on Sunday either as three USC hurlers combined to shutout UCLA for the second straight day. The Bruins were outscored 26-1 over the weekend.
Lions and (Bruin) Bears, Oh My!: UCLA and LMU will meet for the first of two scheduled games between the non-conference foes this Tuesday at Page Stadium. The squads will meet again at Jackie Robinson on May 17. The all-time series between the two schools is a close one with the Bruins claiming the upperhand 32-31 since 1975. In 2004, the schools split two games with the Lions winning the first game at LMU 7-3 and UCLA taking the second contest 7-5 in Westwood. First-year UCLA Head Coach John Savage has never faced LMU.
Simon Says: Junior right-hander Adam Simon enters his start against the Lions with a 1-3 record and a 6.26 ERA. After beginning the season as the Bruins' closer and picking up saves on January 28 and February 4, Simon was inserted into the starting mix, making his first start at Texas A&M on March 11. His second start came against Long Beach State on April 5, allowing just one run in five innings in an eventual 2-1 loss. Simon was named to the Stopper of the Year Watch list by the NCBWA in February.
Simon vs. LMU: Simon has faced LMU twice and holds an 0-0 record and a 10.80 ERA in those two relief outings. In 2003, Simon tossed one inning, allowing no runs on one hit in a 9-0 UCLA loss. Then in 2004, the right-hander allowed two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings pitched on February 17 in a 7-3 UCLA loss.
From Here You See Santa Barbara and LA: Two University of California (UC) schools will do battle in non-conference action as UCLA and UCSB hook up for a three-game home-away-away series this weekend. The Gauchos will travel to Westwood and play game one against the Bruins Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium before the two teams turn around and play Saturday and Sunday's contests at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara. The Bruins lead the all-time series against UCSB 37-29 with UCLA taking the only game between the two schools in 2004 by a score of 3-2. In that game, Bruin catcher Chris Denove launched a game-winning walk off home run on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the twelvth inning to propel the Bruins to victory.
Hector's High Honors: All-America candidate Hector Ambriz has lived up to his billing so far this season. The sophomore, one of several players added to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List in March, is leading UCLA on the mound and at the plate. Ambriz is batting a team high .372 with 32 hits and has posted a team-best 3.95 ERA through nine starts. He is averaging just under six innings per start while also contributing eight multi-hit games at the plate. His .495 on-base percentage also tops the squad.
Ambriz vs. UCSB: Ambriz has faced the Gauchos once in his career - a start at UCSB back on February 18, 2003. In four innings, Ambriz allowed a career high seven runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out six Gauchos. He did not have an at bat in the game. The Bruins ultimately lost the contest 7-5.
Beck-oning for a W: UCLA senior right-hander Bryan Beck has fallen to an undeserving 0-6 this season after coming into the year with a 5-5 career mark. Beck has lasted at least six innings in five of his seven starts this season including the last four in a row. However in those last four starts, Beck has only received ten runs of support from the Bruin offense. Also, in those four outings, Beck has allowed just eight runs combined throughout the first five innings. His overall ERA of 5.36 is second on the team only to Ambriz as is his innings pitched mark (43.2) and strikeouts (29).
Beck vs. UCSB: Beck has faced UCSB three times - once in 2002 and twice in 2003. On April 30, 2002, Beck allowed three runs on two hits over 0.2 innings against the Gauchos. In 2003, Beck tossed 5.1 innings against UCSB in two different relief outings, allowing just three hits and non runs. His lifetime ERA against the Gauchos is 4.50 and UCSB has hit .158 collectively against him.
Let's Talk About the Lions: Loyola Marymount enters this Tuesday's game with a 13-18 overall record and a 6-5 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Lions are coming off a week in which they defeated then-No. 1 Cal State Fullerton 13-6 during midweek play and then took two of three from WCC opponent Portland over the weekend. Head Coach Frank Cruz' club is being led at the plate by senior outfielder Joe Frazee and his .369 batting average and 12 RBI. Junior third baseman Kyle Mura leads the team with 22 RBI.
The Isla Vista Nine: UC Santa Barbara enters this week with a 16-17 record and a 1-2 mark in Big West action. The Gauchos will play a midweek contest against USC on Wednesday before taking on the Bruins this weekend. Freshman Matt Aidem has been leading UCSB at the plate with a .382 average while senior outfielder Matt Wilkerson leads the club with eight home runs and 31 RBI. Seniors Loren Fraser and Alex McRobbie have anchored the Gaucho bullpen while expected Friday starter Michael Martin leads the starting staff with a 4.19 ERA.
Defense, Defense, Defense: What once was a rather futile UCLA defense has suddenly turned into one of the most formidable ones around. Heading into last week's game against Long Beach State, UCLA held a .955 fielding percentage with 41 errors in 24 games. However in four games last week, the Bruins did not commit a single error and imroved that fielding percentage six full points to .961. The Bruins also turned four double plays in three games at USC, including a season-high three twin killings on Friday.
Bullpen Blues: While opponents' bullpens have posted a measly 2.73 ERA against UCLA this season, the Bruins' relief core has not faired so well. Bruins out of the bullpen have posted a 7.11 ERA against a 5.18 ERA by UCLA starters. However, Bruin relievers have been on call quite a bit this season, averaging over 3.2 innings of work per game.
No Repeat: The last time UCLA opened Pac-10 play with a sub-.500 record was in 2002. In that season, UCLA entered conference action against California with a 13-17 mark and ultimately finished 26-35 (9-15).
Will the Thrill: UCLA had no clear lead off hitter entering the season but sophomore Will Penniall has accepted the role with open arms. The left fielder is hitting .315, leads the team with three triples and has reached base in 20 of 45 lead off at-bats (.444). The sophomore from La Canada also leads the Bruins with ten stolens bases in 12 attempts. Penniall has also displayed finesse in left field as he has posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 42 putouts through 28 games played. Penniall also leads the team with 11 multi hit games.
B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 18 RBI. The interesting part about that number is that 12 of those RBI have come from just three games. McMillan has posted an uprecedented three, four-RBI performances with half of the season left to play. McMillan first did it against Cal State Northridge on February 13 and then blasted grand slams against Pacific (2/25) and Texas A&M (3/11).
That Kid From Goleta: Sophomore transfer Tommy Lansdon has overcome a shaky start at UCLA and welcomed his position as the Bruins' starting shortstop. The former Oxnard CC infielder from Goleta, California, is second on the squad with a .340 batting average and launched his first career home run on April 1 against Arizona. Lansdon has not made an error since April 2, spanning five games heading into this week's action.
Crowd Pleasers: UCLA is averaging 1,425 fans through its first 28 games (home and road). In comparison after 24 games in 2004, UCLA was averaging just 448 fans (home and road).
Early Birds: The Bruins have scored in the first inning in 11 of 28 games this season and have posted a total 22 runs in that first frame. In fact, UCLA is outscoring its opponents 52-42 in the first three innings but then begin to fall off. From the fourth inning on, UCLA is being outscored 141-67 including a 48-16 disparity in the fifth inning alone.
UCLA adds Two Games to 2005 Baseball Schedule: UCLA has added two games to its 2005 schedule to make up for cancelled contests against Utah earlier in the season. The Bruins will travel to San Diego State on April 19 and will host the University of San Diego on May 3. Both contests are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Hector Ambriz Added to Brooks Wallace Award Watch List: UCLA sophomore right-handed pitcher and designated hitter Hector Ambriz has been added to the 2005 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, the College Baseball Foundation announced March 8. Ambriz was among 38 players added to the revised watch list after the initial list was released prior to the 2005 season. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Cal State Fullerton's Kurt Suzuki was the winner of the 2004 award.
Adam Simon Placed On Stopper of the Year Watch List: UCLA right-hander Adam Simon was named to the intial watch list for the inagural National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced on February 23. Joining Simon on the list are UC Irvine's pre-season All-American Blair Erickson and South Carolina's Chad Blackwell, who finished 2004 with 17 and 20 saves, respectively. The 2005 watch list represents 15 conferences, led by three players from each of the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic-10, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Southern conferences. California's Matt Swanson and Arizona State's Zechry Zinicola join Simon as the Pac-10 Conference's other two selections. Finalists for the award will be announced on Wednesday June 1 and the NCBWA Stopper of the Year will be named on Wednesday, June 8.
Rustich Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Sophomore right-hander Brant Rustich was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for the week of February 8-14, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday, February 15. Rustich, from El Cajon, Calif., was masterful on Feb. 13 against Cal State Northridge as he picked up his first win of the season with a complete game performance, allowing just one unearned run. Rustich struck out eight and needed just 113 pitches en route to his first career complete game. He got stronger as the game progressed, retiring seven of the last nine batters he faced. The right-hander was not scheduled to pitch in the game because of a rainout two days earlier, but due to Bryan Beck's sore pitching shoulder, Rustich was reinserted into the starting slot. Rustich lowered his season ERA over two full runs down to 2.08. Opposing hitters are now batting a meager .197 against him. The Pitcher of the Week honor is the first ever for Rustich and the 37th selection all-time for UCLA.
Ambriz, Denove, Page and Rustich Noted by Baseball America: UCLA 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. The magazine also tabbed sophomore pitchers Brant Rustich and Hector Ambriz as the No. 28 and No. 33 best sophomores in the nation, respectively, as part of its 'Fab 50' baseball preview. Rustich was a 46th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 2003. 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). More recently, redshirt sophomore Jarrad Page and Ambriz were listed as the No. 71 and 80 top college players eligible for the 2005 draft. The magazine also noted several future Bruins, John Drennen (#26), Tim Murphy (#62), Ryan Babineau (#73) and Brian Kirwan (#77) - who are all members of UCLA's 2005 signing class, as four of the Top-100 High School Prospects of 2005.
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 Rivals.com, a national recruiting agency. 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 Rivals.com. 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 2004: When 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. 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.
Bruins Capture 2,000th All-Time Win: The Bruins' regular season-ending victory against Oregon State on May 30, 2004, was not 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.
UCLA Among Top-10 In Producing Major League Talent: In 2004, UCLA had ten former players in the major league ranks - that's the fifth most by any school in the country. Only Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton (11), Stanford (12) and USC (14) had more alums playing in the bigs last season. The former Bruins playing Major League Baseball in 2004 ranged from 1986 team members like Todd Zeile (NY Mets) to 2000 team member Garrett Atkins (Colorado). The other eight former Bruins in the majors last year were Eric Byrnes (Oakland), Jeff Conine (Florida), Troy Glaus (Anaheim), Eric Karros (Oakland), Adam Melhuse (Oakland), Dave Roberts (Boston), Chase Utley (Philadelphia) and Eric Valent (NY Mets).
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