UCLA Travels To Arizona For Pivotal Pac-10 Series

April 11, 2006

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Game Data:

UCLA vs. Arizona - Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, April 13 at 7 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (5-4, 3.86) vs. Preston Guilmet, RHP (2-4, 3.33)

UCLA vs. Arizona - Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, April 14 at 6 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (3-2, 2.69) vs. Brad Mills, LHP (3-2, 3.75)

UCLA vs. Arizona - Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium, April 15 at 12 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (4-4, 3.98) vs. David Coulon, LHP (1-2, 5.40)

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (18-14, 3-3 Pac-10) travels to Tucson, Ariz., for a three-game Pac-10 Conference series with the Arizona Wildcats (14-16, 2-4) beginning Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. The Bruins will try to win their third-consecutive series at Arizona, as UCLA is 4-2 in the Old Pueblo since 2002.

Washington State Recap: UCLA won its first Pac-10 Conference series of the season with two wins over the visiting Cougars. UCLA used the long ball to get by WSU 9-5 in the first game, dropped a 3-4 heartbreaker in 10 innings in the second game on Saturday, but rallied for a 0-4 deficit to win 10-7 in the rubber game on Sunday to improve to 3-3 in the conference standings.

About the Wildcats: The University of Arizona Wildcats enter this week's Pac-10 series with a 14-16 overall record and a 2-4 mark in the Pac-10. UA won the last game of its three-game series with No. 14 Oregon State, 8-1, but has dropped 12 of its last 17 games. Arizona is 7-7 at home so far this season, and will play its first Pac-10 home series of the year this week against the Bruins. The Wildcats will play their first home game in 18 days. As a team, the Wildcats hit .271 (276-1018) with 13 home runs, 158 RBI, 172 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases in 47 attempts. The Arizona pitching staff owns a 4.38 team ERA with 288 strikeouts (second in the Pac-10) in 267.1 innings pitched, while allowing a .281 opponents batting average. Head Coach Andy Lopez is in his fifth year at the helm of the Arizona baseball program.

The Arizona-UCLA Series: UCLA trails the all-time series with UA 105-106-1. The Bruins are 32-42 all time in Tucson, Ariz., but have won the last two series they have played at Arizona. UCLA is 10-8 versus UA since 2000, winning four of the six series against the Wildcats during that span.

Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 7-2 when scoring in the first inning, and 13-3 when scoring before the opposition in a game. However, UCLA is 5-11 when opponents score first in a game.

In the Fridge: When UCLA has a lead late in the ball game, the Bruins are pretty consistent at sealing the deal. So far this season, UCLA is 17-1 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 18-0 when owning the lead after eight innings. On the other side of things, UCLA is 0-9 when trailing after six innings and 0-12 when behind after eight innings of play.

Rank This: 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season were 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. UCLA hasn't played a ranked foe in its last ten games, earning a 7-3 record in that stretch.

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 16-3 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 17-4 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 seven hits or less in a game.

Early Birds: UCLA has a knack for scoring runs early. So far this season, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 48-17 in the first two innings.

Home Run Tear: The Bruins have ripped a long ball in 16 of their last 19 games, knocking 27 jacks in that span, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games. UCLA has 35 home runs on the season, good for second in the Pac-10. 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 3, Crawford 3, Decker 2, Jensen 4, McMillan 6, Smith 3, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 2). The Bruins average 1.09 home runs per game, the 23rd best mark in the nation. UCLA is 16-4 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.

Good D: UCLA's defense has been superb this year as the Bruins currently rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .976 fielding percentage. The Bruins' fielding percentage also ranks in 10th nationally.

Dealing: UCLA's pitching has been solid all season long. The Bruins enter this week tops in the Pac-10 with a 3.44 team ERA, and are second in the conference with a .246 opposing batting average.

Beware of the Gun: Ryan Babineau might be a freshman, but his ability behind the plate has already been noticed around the Pac-10. Last week, Babineau went up against a Washington State team that led the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 59 stolen bases in 81 attempts. The Cougars didn't steal one base against Babineau in the three-game series, and left Los Angeles with only a caught stealing to add to their stats.

Huff Stuff: Junior Dave Huff has emerged as one of the top hurlers in the Pac-10. Huff entered this week No. 2 in the conference in innings pitched at 70.1, fourth in strikeouts with 66, and fifth in ERA at 2.69. However, in his last two outings, Huff has collected two no decisions while tossing 17.1 innings with 16 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA.

Multi-hitters: UCLA has three players with double-digit multi-hit games. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 15 multi-hit games, and senior Chris Jensen and junior Hector Ambriz each have 12 multi-hit games apiece.

Grand Salami: Freshman Brandon Crawford took advantage of having the bases loaded against WSU on Friday. Crawford nailed his first-career grand slam against the Cougars in the fourth inning to give UCLA an 8-0 lead. The bomb was Crawford's third of the season, and the first UCLA grand slam since Brett McMillan's slam on May 17, 2003 at Stanford.

Definition of Utility: Eric Taylor, Jr. has served as a true utility player for the Bruins this year. In the weekend series against WSU, Taylor, Jr. got a start at first base for UCLA, the third different position he has started at this season. Taylor, Jr. has been in the starting line up as a catcher, as a third baseman, and at first base. He currently leads the Bruins in Pac-10 play with a .667 (8-12) batting average.

Right Place, Right Time: Senior Josh Roenicke made the most of his opportunities at the plate on Sunday, driving in a career-best four RBI to help UCLA to a 10-7 win. Roenicke's first two came in the fourth inning on a clutch single up the middle to put the score at 4-3. Roenicke's ground out to second base in the sixth inning tied the game at 4-4 and his sacrifice fly in the seventh inning gave UCLA a 9-6 advantage, as it was his first multi-RBI game of the year.

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 return home to Jackie Robinson Stadium and host Long Beach State on Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m.

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