Baseball Heads to Washington State For Final Weekend Roadtrip of the Season
May 18, 2005
washington state COUGARS (20-32, 0-18 Pac-10)
May 20-22 - Bailey-Braton Field- 6/1/12 PM
With two victories this weekend, UCLA can clinch no worse than an 8th place Pac-10 finish Second baseman Sean Carpenter has four hits in his last eight at bats Right fielder Chris Jensen had his 18-game hitting streak snapped last Sunday. He got right back on track with a hit on Tuesday. Catcher Chris Denove threw out seven consecutive base stealers from May 6-13.
Leading Off: The Bruins make their final weekend road trip of the season as they travel to Pullman, Washington for a three-game set with Washington State. The Cougars are currently winless in Pac-10 play but will be looking to end that skid against the Bruins, who are 2-16 in conference action. UCLA is coming off a weekend at Stanford in which the Bruins took one of three from the Cardinal.
This Week In the Media: All three games this weekend can be heard through WSU's official website, wsucougars.com
Last Weekend at Stanford: The Bruins turned some heads last weekend by defeating then No. 21 Stanford 4-3 on Saturday. The Bruins almost held on for victory on Friday as well, taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth with ace Hector Ambriz on the mound. But the top of the Cardinal lineup rallied for three runs in the final frame for a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Chris Jensen's two-RBI base hit in the seventh proved to be the game winner as UCLA upset the Cardinal for its first win over a ranked opponent this season. On Sunday, the Bruins were no match for Stanford as the Cardinal ran away with the finale, 11-1. Senior Matt Sharp hit his first career home run in the loss.
Savage Notches Win No. 100: UCLA Head Coach John Savage earned his 100th career victory on Tuesday, May 10 in ironic fashion as his Bruins defeated his former school UC Irvine, 11-1. Savage is now 2-0 against the Anteaters. Back in 2002 when with UCI, Savage earned his first career head coaching win against UCLA.
Fighting the Good Fight: BoydsWorld.com, a statistics-based college baseball website, currently ranks UCLA's 2005 strength of schedule as the toughest in the country. The Bruins have played 18 of their 48 games against top 25 teams. The site also lists the Pac-10 Conference third in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) and fourth in Psuedo-RPI. UCLA's 2006 schedule will not get any easier as the Bruins are slated to play weekend series against the likes of Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Miami, Mississippi and North Carolina State along with Pac-10 opponents such as Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Oregon State.
Terrific Tuesdays: For the first time in a month, UCLA lost a midweek game as the Bruins fell to LMU, 6-1 on May 17. The Bruins had won three consecutive Tuesday contests by defeating UC Irvine on April 26, the University of San Diego on May 3 and UCI again on May 10.
We're Going Streaking!: Right fielder Chris Jensen had his 18-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, May 17, bringing to an end the junior's amazing hit parade. Jensen joined the UCLA lineup on April 15 after missing the season's first two months due to injury and recorded at least one hit in every game until Sunday. Still, Jensen is hitting a team best .402 with five home runs and 15 RBI.
Denove Firing On All Cylinders: Before Tuesday's game against LMU Junior catcher Chris Denove had thrown out ten of the last 17 base runners attempting to steal, including a span of seven in a row from May 6 to May 13. Over the last eight games Denove has also picked off two runners at second base. In Baseball America's preseason rankings, Denove was listed as having the best arm and defensive skills of any catcher in the Pac-10 Conference. The Agoura Hills native has also been getting hot at the plate, raising his average almost forty points over the last ten games. Since April 24 at Arizona State, Denove is batting .288 (15-for-52) with eight RBI.
Comeback Bruins: UCLA has gone from a team that had not won after trailing in a game to a team that expects to come from behind. Beginning with UCLA's 3-1 win over UC Irvine on April 26, the Bruins have notched four comeback victories, most recently a 4-3 win against then-No. 21 Stanford on May 14, in which UCLA trailed 3-1 as late as the sixth inning.
I Feel The Need... The Need For Speed: UCLA is 42 of 59 (71%) in stolen base attempts this season. At two points this season the Bruins have stolen eleven and ten bases consecutively without being thrown out. Leading the way on the paths is left fielder Will Penniall and his ten swipes
Flying Solo: Thirteen of UCLA's 19 home runs hit this season have been solo home runs. The Bruins have two grand slams this season - Brett McMillan has hit both.
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 .276 clip with 24 RBI and two home runs. Only the number four hole can boast better numbers with a .330 average and 61 hits, ten doubles, a triple and a home run. The five spot has been least productive with a .188 average but does have 21 RBI.
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 .333 batting average and another team best 3.93 ERA. Ambriz is also slugging a team-high .444 and has a team-high on-base percentage of .433 (.877 OPS). He leads the team with 13 doubles, including five in the last ten games, and in strikeouts as a pitcher with 77 in 89.2 innings. Ambriz is the only two-way player in the Pac-10 Conference.
Beck-oning for a W: UCLA senior right-hander Bryan Beck had fallen to an undeserving 0-9 record to start the before earning his first win in dramatic fashion on May 14 against Stanford. In that contest, Beck lasted past the eighth inning for the second time in three outings while holding the Cardinal to just two earned runs on eight hits (seven singles). Beck has lasted at least seven innings in seven of his 11 starts this season, including a complete game in a loss on April 30. His overall ERA of 5.47 is third and his innings pitched mark (77.1) and strikeouts (52) are second. In his complete game on April 30, Beck fanned a career-high tying seven batters.
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 third on the squad with a .273 batting average and leads the team with ten stolen bases and three tripes.B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 29 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 this season. 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.
Smith Out For Season: Junior second baseman Sean Smith will miss the final eight games of the season after undergoing arthoscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Smith sprained that shoulder on April 1 against Arizona and had only played in two games since before shutting it down.