Baseball Plays Host to No. 4 Oregon State This Weekend
May 4, 2005
Leading Off: UCLA enters this weekend's Pac-10 series against No. 4 Oregon State with a modest two-game winning streak and as winners of three of its last five. The Bruin pitching staff has stepped up over the last week, posting an impressive 3.80 ERA over the last five games. Meanwhile, the UCLA bats have racked up a .302 average in that same span. Oregon State, one of the nation's best and most surprising teams, enters the weekend with an overall record of 33-8 and a Pac-10 mark of 11-4 and one game behind conference leading Arizona.
Pitching Rotation:UCLA is scheduled to send right-hander Hector Ambriz (2-5, 4.38 ERA) to the mound on Friday and right-hander Bryan Beck (0-8, 5.80 ERA) on Saturday. Sunday's starter has yet to be announced.
This Week on the Radio: All three games this weekend will be carried live on the internet via uclaBruins.com with Danny Lee and Darren Preston on the call. Fans may also follow all the action for free using CollegeSports GameTracker.
Chris Jensen Stays Hot: UCLA right fielder Chris Jensen has unarguably been the hottest Bruin at the plate over the last three weeks. Since returning to the lineup from injury on April 12, Jensen is batting .479 (23-for-48) with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBI in 12 games. The junior posted a career high four-hit, four-RBI performance in UCLA's 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara on April 16. Overall on the season, Jensen is hitting .460 (23-for-50) and currently has a 12-game hitting streak.The right-fielder missed the first two months of the season with a hamstring injury.
Savage Closing In On No. 100: He's been close for a while but now UCLA Head Coach John Savage is just one win away from notching career victory No. 100. Savage is in his fourth year as a head coach and first at UCLA.
Bruin Offense Explodes In 8-5 Win Over University of San Diego: Eric Taylor's home run in the bottom of the sixth tied the game at five and Chris Jensen's RBI sacrifice fly later in the inning gave the Bruins the final run they would need as UCLA defeated the University of San Diego, 8-5 Tuesday night in non-conference action at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Back in the Swing of Things: Over the last four games, UCLA has shown glimpses of a team that is much better than its record indicates. Spanning midweek games against UC Irvine and San Diego and a Pac-10 series against California, the Bruins are hitting over .300 and the pitching staff has held opponents to just a .243 mark. Junior Chris Jensen (9-for-18) and senior Matt Sharp (7-for-14) are both hitting .500 over the last five games while southpaw Brian Schroeder has appeared in four games on the mound, posting a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 relief innings while accumulating two wins.
I Feel The Need... The Need For Speed: UCLA is 40 of 55 in stolen base attempts this season. At two points this season the Bruins have stolen eleven and then ten bases consecutively without being thrown out. Leading the way on the paths is left fielder Will Penniall and his ten swipes.
Infield Merry-Go-Round: UCLA's current infield situation has all four infielders playing positions to which they're not ordinarily accustomed. Senior Matt Sharp, who had only seen action in 31 games (3 starts) in his first three years in Westwood, has made the transition from backup catcher to starting first baseman over the past several weeks. The change was made in part because of third baseman Eric Taylor's sore hamstring which forced him out of action against Arizona State. With Taylor on the bench, UCLA's normal first baseman Brett McMillan moved to third, where he has played ever since. Up the middle, starting second baseman Sean Smith's sprained shoulder has forced Sean Carpenter, a reserve outfielder in 2004, into the starting second base role. Lastly, at shortstop, Tommy Lansdon's fielding woes have forced Taylor into action at that position. With backup shortstop Nolan Rouse suffering a broken toe on May 3, the infield rotation has become rather thin.
Lucky 7: Outside of the cleanup spot in the UCLA lineup, the seven-spot has been the most productive this season in terms of pure average. Bruin hitters hitting in that spot are sporting a .319 clip with 23 RBI and two home runs. Only the number four whole can boast better numbers with a .327 average and 50 hits, nien doubles, a triple and a home run. The five spot has been least productive with a .189 average but does have 19 RBI.
# AVG GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SLG% BB HBP SO GDP OB% SB-SBA1 .254 49 173 20 44 6 4 1 15 `61 .353 16 1 33 1 .319 13-182 .277 50 155 28 43 6 1 3 17 60 .387 21 5 34 1 .379 5-73 .258 54 155 19 40 12 0 2 18 58 .374 18 9 29 3 .364 0-14 .327 49 153 28 50 9 1 1 16 64 .418 24 4 28 4 .429 1-25 .189 53 159 17 30 5 2 2 19 45 .283 18 1 29 7 .274 0-06 .253 65 154 17 39 7 1 2 24 54 .351 18 2 32 2 .333 1-47 .319 56 144 22 46 3 0 2 23 55 .382 19 5 28 6 .417 6-78 .208 60 154 14 32 8 0 1 11 43 .279 11 2 53 4 .269 7-79 .255 73 141 13 36 8 1 1 19 49 .348 10 1 35 1 .305 7-9
Bullpen Blues: While opponents' bullpens have posted a measly 2.61 ERA against UCLA this season, the Bruins' relief core has not fared so well. Bruins out of the bullpen have posted a 6.95 ERA against a 5.52 ERA by UCLA starters. However, Bruin relievers have been on call quite a bit this season, averaging just under 3.2 innings of work per game.
ERA W-L APP GS CG SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR B/Avg WP HBPStarters5.43 4-19 41 41 3 0 210.2 221 147 127 109 171 37 2 14 .272 12 22Bullpen6.70 7-11 41 0 0 4 145.0 196 129 108 95 117 34 1 14 .328 20 19
Comeback Bruins: Standing with an 8-28 record entering its April 26 game against UC Irvine, UCLA had not won a single game in which they had been trailing. Since then, the Bruins have pulled off three come-from-behind wins, starting with the contest against UC Irvine. UCLA fell behind the Anteaters 1-0 in the first but scored three unanswered runs in the game's final eight innings for its first comeback win of the season. Five days later against California, the Bruins scored three times in the eighth to take a 4-2 contest from the Golden Bears for their second comeback win in four games. Then on May 3 against the University of San Diego, the Bruins overcame multiple deficits, including the Torero's two-run first inning, to complete the 8-5 comeback victory.
Hector's High Honors: All-America candidate Hector Ambriz has pulled double duty for the Bruins all season long as UCLA's Friday night starting pitcher and as the team's designated hitter. The sophomore from Placentia, Calif., has been a leader for the Bruins, posting a team-high .339 batting average and a second-best ERA of 4.38 through 41 games. Ambriz is also slugging a team-high .466 and has a team-high on-base percentage of .444 (.910 OPS). He leads the team with 12 doubles, including five in the last six games, and in strikeouts as a pitcher with 67 in 74.0 innings. Ambriz is the only two-way player in the Pac-10 Conference.
Beck-oning for a W: UCLA senior right-hander Bryan Beck has fallen to an undeserving 0-8 this season after coming into the year with a 5-5 career mark. Beck has lasted at least six innings in seven of his ten starts this season, including a complete game in a loss on April 30. His overall ERA of 5.80 is fourth and his innings pitched mark (63.2) and strikeouts (44) are second. In his complete game on April 30, Beck fanned a career-high tying seven batters.
The Loveable Lefty: Paul Oseguera, April 19th's starting pitcher against San Diego State made his first career start and just his fourth career appearance in his outing against the Aztecs. A junior, Oseguera has battled back from three successive injuries dating back to his senior year in high school just to be able to take the mound in 2005. Oseguera underwent Tommy John surgery prior to his freshman year at UCLA, then was sidelined as a sophomore after more surgery to remove scar tissue and then broke his collar bone last summer prior to this season's fall practice. He made his collegiate debut with a scoreless 1.2 innings pitched on March 6 against Cal State Fullerton. He earned his first career save last Saturday in UCLA's 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara.
Will the Thrill: Left-fielder Will Penniall began this season as UCLA's leadoff hitter but has since been moved around since demonstrating his power. Penniall launched his first home run of the year on May 1 and was inserted into the No. 6 slot in the lineup the next game. The sophomore from La Canada is second on the squad with a .278 batting average and leads the team with ten stolen bases and three tripes.
B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 25 RBI. The interesting part about that number is that 12 of those RBI have come from just three games. McMillan has posted an unprecedented 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). He picked up the game-winning RBI in UCLA's streak-breaking 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara on April 16. McMillan leads the team with six home runs, including the game-winner against UC Irvine on April 26.