UCLA Travels To UC Santa Barbara On Tuesday

May 8, 2006

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Game Data:

UCLA at UC Santa Barbara - Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, May 9, at 2 p.m., Jason Novak, RHP (2-1, 5.00) vs. TBA

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (25-19, 8-7 Pac-10) travels to UC Santa Barbara (20-23, 6-9 Big West) for a non-conference matchup with the Gauchos on Tuesday, May 9 at 2 p.m. The Bruins and the Gauchos will meet for the second time in two weeks, as UCSB defeated UCLA, 11-8, on April 25 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UC Riverside Recap: The UCLA baseball team defeated UC Riverside, 9-4, in the resumption of a suspended game from March 28. The game, which was suspended 35 days ago due to rain, was picked up in the top of the fourth inning with UCLA leading the Highlanders 6-3. Junior Hector Ambriz went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, and senior Sean Smith went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI. Freshman Jason Novak (2-1) tossed 3.1 innings in relief with two strikeouts to earn the win.

About the Gauchos: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos enter Tuesday's game with a 20-23 record and a 6-9 mark in the Big West. The Gauchos have lost three of their last four games, but did knock off No. 4 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, 8-2. UCSB is 12-9 at home this season. As a team, the Gauchos hit .280 (403-1438) with 26 home runs, 233 RBI, 251 runs scored and 23 stolen bases in 41 attempts. The UCSB pitching staff owns a 4.99 team ERA with 207 strikeouts in 371.2 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .276 batting average. Head Coach Bob Brontsema is in his 13th year at the helm of the Gaucho program.

The UCSB-UCLA Series: Since 1975, UCLA owns a 38-22 series advantage over UC Santa Barbara. The Bruins dropped two games in a three-game home-and-home series to the Gauchos last season. These two teams met exactly two weeks ago, with the Gauchos taking an 11-8 decision from the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

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 20-10 (.667).

Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 13-4 when scoring in the first inning, and 17-5 when scoring before the opposition in a game. UCLA is 8-14 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 23-2 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 24-0 when owning the lead after eight innings. On the other side of things, UCLA is 1-13 when trailing after six innings and 0-17 when behind after eight innings of play.

Rank This: The UCLA baseball team was ranked in the national polls for the week of April 24-30. 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: 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.

Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranks in this week at No. 24 in the national RPI rankings, with a third-ranked strength of schedule.

Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 22-4 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 13-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 24-8 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 76-35 in the first two innings.

Ba Boom: The Bruins have ripped 33 long balls in their last 31 games, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games from Feb. 26-March 19. 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.

Power Outage: UCLA is currently riding a four-game homer-less stretch. The Bruins went homer-less in a three-game series for the first time this season at California, and didn't go yard at UC Riverside, tying their season long drought at four games. The last time UCLA went four games without a home run was from Feb. 19-25, but the Bruins broke out of that drought by hitting 23 home runs in the next 13-consecutive games.

Big Innings: UCLA likes to score its runs in bunches, as the Bruins have scored three or more runs in an inning 38 times this season. 133 of UCLA's 263 total runs (51 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 20-2 this season when scoring three or more runs in an inning. UC Santa Barbara was the first team to beat UCLA when the Bruins score three-or-more runs in a game since UCLA lost opening day 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 .977 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. UCLA has committed just two errors in its last seven games, going a season-high five-straight games without a fielding blunder during that span.

Winning Without HR: UCLA might be 8-12 on the season when not putting one over the fence in a game, but the Bruins have won six of their last eight games without going yard. UCLA won the last two games of the three-game series at Arizona without hitting a home run, won the last two games while going homerless against Arizona State, beat the Golden Bears in game one of that series sans a long ball, and knocked off UC Riverside last Tuesday minus a homer.

Multi-hitters: UCLA hitters are very efficient at knocking the ball around the park more than once in a game. 11 different Bruins have at least five or more multi-hit games, six different Bruins have at least 10 multi-hit games, and 16 different Bruins have recorded multiple hits in a game this season a total of 121 times. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 18 multi-hit games, senior Chris Jensen has 17 multi-hit games, and junior Hector Ambriz has 13 games with two hits or more.

Getting Past First: UCLA has knocked an extra base hit in 40 of its 44 games so far this year. The Bruins have smacked 140 extra base hits with 89 doubles, 10 triples, and 41 home runs. UCLA has hit a double in its last 15-conscutive games, a season-high, posting 37 two-baggers in that span. The Bruins are 18-6 when they post three-or-more extra base hits in a game.

On Fire: Freshman Jermaine Curtis has been swinging the stick well as of late for UCLA. In his last 10 games, Curtis is hitting .417 with a team-high 15 hits, a double, a triple, and a team-high seven RBI. On the season, Curtis is hitting .320 (32-100), good for second on the team.

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman Brandon Crawford is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak. Crawford needs a hit in his next game to tie his season-best 11-game hit streak from Feb. 5-25. Crawford's 11-game hit streak was a team best until senior Josh Roenicke posted hits in 12-straight games from March 18-April 21.

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 a huge three-game Pac-10 series with rival USC beginning Friday, May 12 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

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