No. 22 UCLA Travels To Cal For Three-Game Pac-10 Series

April 26, 2006

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Game Data:

No. 22 UCLA at California - Evans Field, April 28 at 2:30 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (5-5, 3.54) vs. Brandon Marrow, RHP (7-1, 1.52)

No. 22 UCLA at California - Evans Field, April 29 at 1 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (5-2, 2.85) vs. Tyson Ross, RHP (4-4, 3.94)

No. 22 UCLA at California - Evans Field, April 30 at 1 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (5-4, 4.57) vs. TBA

Get After It: The No. 22-ranked UCLA baseball team (23-17, 7-5 Pac-10) plays a crucial three-game Pac-10 series at California (19-21, 6-9 Pac-10) beginning Friday, April 28 at Evans Field in Berkeley, Calif. The Bruins look to win four-consecutive Pac-10 series for the first time since 1999.

UC Santa Barbara Recap: The UCLA pitching gave up three home runs and issued a season-high nine walks in route to an 11-8 upset loss to UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Gauchos raced out to a 6-2 lead through three innings and held off a five-run UCLA rally in the eighth inning which included three-straight pinch hits to hang on for the win.

About the Golden Bears: The California Golden Bears enter this weekend's matchup with a 19-21 overall record and a 6-9 mark in the Pac-10. Cal enters the series on a four-game losing streak, as the Golden Bears have lost nine of their last 12 ball games. Cal does have Pac-10 series wins at home against Washington and Arizona, and one on the road at Washington State. As a team, Cal hits .264 (351-1328) with 35 home runs, 173 RBI, 190 runs scored, and 28 stolen bases in 45 attempts. The Golden Bear pitching staff owns a 3.81 team ERA with 279 strikeouts in 354.0 innings pitched while limiting opponents to a .268 batting average. Head Coach David Esquer is in his seventh season at the helm of the Cal baseball program.

The California-UCLA Series: Cal owns a 164-156 all-time series advantage over UCLA. Last season, the Golden Bears took two games in a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Since 2000, UCLA is 8-10 versus Cal, losing four of the last six series with the Golden Bears. UCLA won two of three games at Cal in its last trip to Berkeley, Calif., in 2004.

Turning Point: UCLA's season has made a change for the better since the Bruins played Long Beach State on Feb. 28. Entering that February game, UCLA was 5-9 overall and fresh off being swept in three-games by Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins knocked off the No. 15 Dirtbags (6-3) that day, and went on to sweep No. 17 NC State on the road. Since Feb. 28, UCLA is 18-8 (.692).

Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 11-3 when scoring in the first inning, and 15-4 when scoring before the opposition in a game. UCLA is 8-13 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 21-2 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 22-0 when owning the lead after eight innings. On the other side of things, UCLA is 1-11 when trailing after six innings and 0-15 when behind after eight innings of play.

Rank This: Get used to it - the UCLA baseball team is ranked in the national polls. The Bruins entered the week ranked No. 22 in the nation by Baseball America, and No. 25 by the Rosenblatt Report. This week marked the first time since March of 2001 that UCLA has been ranked in the Top-25 by Baseball America.

Rank That: UCLA was back in familiar territory this past weekend when it played No. 10-ranked Arizona State, taking two of three games from the Sun Devils. 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 11-10 against ranked opposition on the season. UCLA is 10-5 in its last 15 games against unranked opponents.

Speaks For Itself: UCLA rank in this week at No. 17 in the national RPI rankings, with a second-ranked strength of schedule.

Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 21-4 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 12-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 22-7 this season when recording eight or more hits in a game.

1-2 Step: UCLA has a knack for scoring runs early. So far this season, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 69-32 in the first two innings.

Home Run Tear: The Bruins have ripped a long ball in 20 of their last 27 games, knocking 33 jacks in that span, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games. UCLA has 41 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 three-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 4, Babineau 4, Crawford 5, Decker 3, Jensen 4, McMillan 6, Smith 3, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 3). UCLA is 17-7 this season when a Bruin homers in a game. However, UCLA is 1-3 in its last four games when hitting a home run.

Big Innings: UCLA likes to score its runs in bunches, as the Bruins have scored three or more runs in an inning 36 times this season. 126 of UCLA's 244 total runs (52 percent) this season have come when posting three or more runs in an inning. Scoring three or more runs in an inning in a game translates into success for UCLA, as the Bruins are 19-2 this season when scoring three or more runs in an inning. UCLA lost for just the second time this season when posting three-or-more runs in an inning against UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday. The only other game the Bruins lost when posting three-or-more runs in a game was in the season-opener against Fresno State.

Good D: UCLA's defense has been superb this year as the Bruins currently rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .975 fielding percentage, a mark that is 10th-best in the nation.

Scoops: The Bruins have done a solid job at scooping the ball into the glove lately as UCLA has not committed an error in its last three-consecutive games, tying its longest stretch without recording a fielding blunder.

Beware of the Gun: Freshman Ryan Babineau has established himself as a shoot-to-kill catcher behind the plate when gunning runners down on the base paths. UCLA, with Babineau behind the dish, has allowed just one stolen base in its last 11 games, as opponents have been caught stealing five times in that span. Those 11 games included a three-game series with Washington State and one with Arizona State, two teams that own over 50 stolen bases on the season.

Dealing: UCLA's pitching has been solid all season long. The Bruins entered this week second in the Pac-10 with a 3.67 team ERA, and are third in the conference with a .253 opposing batting average.

A First: UCLA gave up double-digit runs to opponents in back-to-back games for the first time this season when the Sun Devils posted 10 runs on Sunday and the Gauchos followed with 11 runs on Tuesday. The Bruins have only given up double-digit run figures only four times this season, and are 1-3 when doing so.

Winning Without HR: UCLA might be 6-10 on the season when not putting one over the fence in a game, but the Bruins have won their last four games when not hitting a home run. UCLA won the last two games of the three-game series at Arizona without hitting a home run. Winning back-to-back games without knocking a round tripper was a first for the Bruins this season, as UCLA scored 13 runs on Friday without a long ball, the first time the Bruins scored in double-digits in a game this season without hitting a home run.

The Bruins would repeat themselves this past weekend against Arizona State. UCLA won back-to-back games against the Sun Devils without hitting a home run, and scored 11 runs in Sunday's win, its second double-digit run total in a game minus a long ball.

Multi-hitters: UCLA has three players with double-digit multi-hit games. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 17 multi-hit games, senior Chris Jensen has 16 multi-hit games, and junior Hector Ambriz has 12 games with two hits or more. 10 different Bruins have at least five or more multi-hit games, and 16 different Bruins have recorded multiple hits in a game this season a total of 110 times.

Go Four It: The Bruins accomplished something that has only been done once in the last five seasons at UCLA - win three-straight Pac-10 series. UCLA defeated Arizona State twice in the three-game series after back-to-back Pac-10 series wins against Washington State and at Arizona under its belt. The last time the Bruins won three-consecutive Pac-10 series was in 2004 when UCLA closed out the Pac-10 schedule with series wins over Washington State, Washington, and Oregon State.

UCLA has a chance to win four-consecutive Pac-10 series for the first time since 1999, when the Bruins knocked off Arizona State, Washington State, USC and Oregon State.

Road Warriors: UCLA has been pretty solid on the road this season as the Bruins enter their series with Cal owning a 9-7 road record. More importantly, UCLA has won three of its four three-game road series this season.

Keep On Hitting: UCLA hit .298 (31-104) this past weekend against Arizona State with one home run, eight doubles, 17 RBI, and 18 runs scored. Since starting the Pac-10 schedule batting .176 after three games at Washington, UCLA is hitting .327 (104-318) in its last nine conference games. The Bruins are currently hitting .290 (122-420) in Pac-10 play, good for third-best in the conference.

Pinch Hurters: UCLA pinch hitters have been putting a hurting on the ball as of late. In the last three games, the Bruins are a perfect 8-for-8 in pinch hit situations, recording six hits (two doubles), two walks and seven RBI. Freshman Cody Decker's two-run pinch hit double tied the game at 10-10 in the 10th against ASU on Sunday, and Decker and senior Anthony Norman each had a two-run single in the five-run eighth inning against UC Santa Barbara to cut the Gaucho lead to 9-8.

Not Rattled: No matter what the situation, the Bruins don't seem to get rattled late in the game at the plate. On Sunday against ASU, UCLA rallied down by one the tie the game and force extra innings, and rallied again down two in the 10th to score three runs for a dramatic11-10 win. On Tuesday against UCSB, UCLA was down 9-3 in the eighth only to explode for five runs in the inning and cut the Gaucho lead to 9-8.

Huff Honored: UCLA junior LHP Dave Huff was named the Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week for April 18-24, Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday.

Huff earns his first-career Pac-10 honor after posting his second-consecutive complete game win with a dominating performance against No. 10 Arizona State to lead the Bruins to a 5-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Huff gave up one run on two hits with six strikeouts and retired the final 22-of-23 Sun Devils he faced, holding the Sun Devils hitless through the final seven innings of the game.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., native shut down a high-powered Sun Devil offense that entered the week ranked second in the Pac-10 (23rd nationally) in batting average (.323) and tops in the Pac-10 with an average of 7.4 runs per game. Huff limited ASU to a season-low tying two hits with only two walks allowed, as the Sun Devils batted a collective .074 (2-27) in the game.

On the season, Huff has been a workhorse for the Bruins with a 5-2 record, a 2.85 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 88.1 innings pitched. In Pac-10 play, Huff is 2-0 in four starts with a 2.80 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 35.1 innings pitched. Huff has tossed 9.0 innings in three of his last four starts, and is 4-0 in his last seven starts.

Huff earns UCLA's third Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor this season, and the program's 40th all-time. Each starter in the UCLA rotation now owns Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors, as UCLA has earned four total Pac-10 weekly honors (three Pitcher of the Week, one Player of the Week) this season.

Huff Stuff: Dave Huff entered the week ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 with 88.1 innings pitched, second in the conference with 83 strikeouts, and fifth overall with a 2.85 ERA.

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: No. 22 UCLA will next travel to UC Riverside on May 2 for its make-up game with the Highlanders from March 28. The game will pick up in the fourth inning at 5 p.m.

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