UCLA Baseball Hosts UC Irvine On Tuesday

April 3, 2006

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Game Data:

UCLA vs. UC Irvine - Jackie Robinson Stadium at 6 p.m., Jason Novak, RHP (0-0, 5.60) vs. Gary Nakashima, RHP (2-0, 3.44)

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (16-13, 1-2 Pac-10) returns home to Jackie Robinson Stadium to host UC Irvine (18-13, 0-3 Big West) in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday, April 4 at 6 p.m. The Bruins are looking to win six-consecutive home games for the first time since 2001.

Washington Recap: UCLA played its first Pac-10 Conference series of the season and walked away with one win in three games at Husky Ballpark in Seattle. The Bruins ran into an outstanding pitching performance by UW junior ace Tim Lincecum on Friday night in a 5-0 loss, but rebounded to top the Huskies, 3-2, in 11 innings on Saturday. UCLA dropped the rubber game on Sunday, 4-1.

About the Anteaters: The UC Irvine Anteaters enter Tuesday night's game with an 18-13 overall record and a 0-3 mark in Big West Conference play. UCI is 7-8 on the road so far this season, has lost three-consecutive games after being swept at Long Beach State this past weekend in its Big West opener, and has dropped four of its last five ball games. Before that stretch, the Anteaters won five-in-a-row. As a team, UC Irvine hits .269 (272-1012) with 10 home runs, 143 RBI, 164 runs scored, and 65 stolen bases in 88 attempts. The UCI pitching staff owns a 3.68 team ERA with 205 strikeouts in 276.1 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .277 batting average. Head Coach Dave Serrano is in his second season at the helm of the Anteater program.

The UC Irvine-UCLA Series: UCLA leads the all-time series with UC Irvine with a mark of 35-20-1. The Bruins swept the Anteaters last year in a home-and-home series, winning 3-1 at home on April 26, and 11-1 at UC Irvine on May 10. When UC Irvine restarted its baseball program in 2002 led by head coach John Savage, the Anteaters were 4-0 against the Bruins.

Welcome Back: UCLA will play its first home game at Jackie Robinson in 16 days, last playing at home on March 19 against San Diego State. UCLA has won five-straight home games, including six of its last seven. The Bruins have not won six-straight home games since the 2001 season.

In Need Of Some Home Cookin': UCLA scored a total of four runs in its three-game series against Washington this past weekend. Before that, the Bruins scored 61 runs in their last seven home games, outscoring the opposition by 38 runs in that seven-game span. UCLA posted marks of 16, 14, 12, and 9, in their last four home games, averaging 12.8 runs per game in that span and 6.9 runs per game in 16 home games so far on the season. UCLA is 9-7 at home so far this season.

Shutout, But Never Shut Down: The Bruins have been shutout by the opposition three times this season. However, after each shutout loss, UCLA has rebounded to win the next game on each occasion.

L-W-L: UCLA enters Tuesday's game after losing one, winning one, and then losing one at Washington this past weekend. The last time UCLA sandwiched a win in-between two losses was with a loss at Pepperdine, a win over Ole Miss and a loss to Ole Miss. After that L-W-L in the results column, the Bruins responded to win five-straight games.

March Madness: UCLA played its best baseball of the season so far in the month of March. The Bruins went 9-3 in the month, a drastic improvement from last season when they went winless in March with a 0-8 mark. UCLA posted both a four-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak in March.

Rank This: 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season have been against nationally ranked opposition, with a streak of 12-consecutive games versus ranked opponents once in effect. UCLA is 9-9 against ranked opposition on the season.

Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranked in this week at No. 20 in the national RPI rankings, with a fourth-ranked strength of schedule.

Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 14-3 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns an 11-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 15-3 this season when recording eight or more hits in a game. UCLA is conversely 0-7 on the season when scoring one run or less, and 1-10 when recording five hits or less in a game.

Extra-Extra: UCLA played in its first extra-inning game of the season on Saturday, coming out with a 3-2 win in 11 innings over the Huskies. Ironically, UCLA played 11 innings in two hours and 53 minutes, shorter than most UCLA nine-inning games.

Home Run Tear: The 13-game home run streak ended last Friday in a shutout against Washington ace Tim Lincecum, but UCLA has still been on a hot home run pace. The Bruins have ripped a long ball in 14 of their last 16 games, knocking 24 jacks in that span. UCLA has 32 home runs on the season, good for second in the Pac-10. The Bruins have already topped last year's season total for home runs, 21, by 11 in half the number of games. 14 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with nine players already owning two-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 3, Babineau 2, Crawford 2, Decker 2, Jensen 4, McMillan 5, Smith 3, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 2). UCLA is 14-4 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.

First Time For Everything: UCLA's home run tear was added to by senior Josh Roenicke on Saturday. The 6-foot-3 outfielder/pitcher hit the first home run of his career, a solo job in the seventh inning. Ironically, it was Roenicke's first extra-base hit of the year.

Sacking Up: UCLA was the victim of probably the most dominant pitching performance in Washington history by Husky junior ace Tim Lincecum on Friday. One Bruin, however, was a thorn in the side of Lincecum and his chance at a no-hitter. That Bruin was freshman Ryan Babineau. The Bruin catcher went 2-for-3 against Lincecum, collecting the only UCLA hits on the evening.

E-rah, E-rah... Jobs: Eric Taylor, Jr. got a job done when the Bruins needed it most in Saturday's 3-2 extra-inning win. Taylor drove in senior Sean Smith from second base after he doubled in the top of the 11th inning for the game-winning run. Taylor went 4-for-7 (.571) in two starts at third base against the Huskies.

Good D: UCLA's defense has been superb this year as the Bruins currently rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .977 fielding percentage.

Dealing: UCLA's pitching has been solid all season long. The Bruins currently rank tied for first in the Pac-10 with Washington State with a 3.40 team ERA, and are second in the conference with a .243 opposing batting average.

Bring It: This season, UCLA isn't backing down from anyone which shows in the toughness of its schedule. The Bruins are set to play 32 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last season, with 11 teams listed in this year's preseason top-25 rankings.

UCLA will take on 12 teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last year (Miami, Pepperdine, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, NC State, Ole Miss, UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Stanford, and Oregon State), and will have 18 games during the season against NCAA Super Regional participants (Miami, Cal State Fullerton, Ole Miss, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State).

The Bruins' tough schedule was noted with the No. 1 strength of schedule nod by Boyd's World, a baseball statistics internet site.

Up Next: UCLA will host Washington State for a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium beginning Friday, April 7 at 6 p.m.

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