UCLA Baseball Enters Home Stretch, Hosts Long Beach State Tuesday
May 11, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball team faces Long Beach State on Tuesday evening for the final time during the 2009 regular season. Game time at Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m., and admission for adults and children costs two dollars as part of UCLA's ongoing 'Two-Dollar Tuesday' program. The Bruins (24-23) will send junior right-hander Garett Claypool to the mound against Long Beach State (24-23).
SERIES VS. LONG BEACH STATE: UCLA leads, 53-37
CURRENT SERIES STREAK: UCLA, one win
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, May 11 (6 p.m.)
Long Beach State - TBA
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Jr. (2-1, 3.10)
- UCLA has eight games remaining on its regular-season schedule, including three Pac-10 contests.
- Entering Tuesday's game against Long Beach State, UCLA has won 11 of its last 16 games.
- The Bruins close their regular-season home slate Saturday and Sunday vs. Cal State Fullerton.
- UCLA currently stands in third place in the Pac-10 standings with a 14-10 conference record.
- UCLA has won seven of its 11 three-game weekend series this spring, including two of the last three.
- Right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA's staff with eight wins and three complete games in 87.1 innings.
- Right-hander Gerrit Cole has logged a team-high 93 strikeouts and .189 opponent average.
- Infielders Cody Decker (17 HR, 41 RBI) and Casey Haerther (8 HR, 35 RBI) have bolstered UCLA's offense.
Admission for adults and children to Jackie Robinson Stadium costs just two dollars as part of the Bruins' ongoing 'Two-Dollar Tuesday' initiative. Game time is 6 p.m. Fans unable to attend Tuesday's contest can listen to UCLA's live audio broadcast, free of charge, at uclabruins.com.
UCLA hands the ball to junior right-hander Garett Claypool for Tuesday evening's non-conference home contest against Long Beach State. Claypool, who hails from nearby West Hills, Calif., has gone 2-1 in 12 appearances (six starts) this spring for the Bruins. The right-hander has compiled a 3.10 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29.0 innings. Opponents have hit Claypool at a .217 clip in 2009. In six starts (all midweek games), Claypool has gone 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA, 33 strikeouts and seven walks in 24.1 innings. In his last two combined starts (two previous Tuesdays), Claypool has limited the opposition to two hits in 11.0 scoreless frames.
The Bruins face Long Beach State for the final time this season on Tuesday evening. Two weeks ago (April 28), UCLA downed the 49ers, 7-5, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Casey Haerther belted a first-inning grand slam to hand the Bruins an early 4-0 advantage, and UCLA held on for the non-conference victory. Garett Claypool recorded seven strikeouts and four walks in six scoreless innings, allowing one hit. First baseman Cody Decker drew one pair of walks and scored two runs. Long Beach State enters Tuesday's game with a 24-23 record.
A LOOK AT THE PACK
UCLA enters the penultimate week of the season in third place in the Pac-10 Conference. At 14-10, the Bruins currently trail conference leader Arizona State (16-5) by 3.5 games. Washington State (14-7) stands in second place, and Washington (12-9) and Oregon State (12-9) are tied for fourth place. Stanford (10-11) and USC (10-11) are tied for sixth place, while Arizona (8-13), California (8-16) and Oregon (4-17) round out the conference's 10 teams. UCLA closes its regular-season schedule and Pac-10 slate at Arizona State (May 22-24).
UCLA's pitching staff has logged 444 strikeouts in 423.0 innings this spring, the highest strikeout total in the Pac-10 Conference through Monday's action. The Bruins' staff is on pace to record more strikeouts than any previous UCLA team since 2000 (531 strikeouts, highest team total on record at UCLA). The Bruins' pitching staff combined for 34 strikeouts and nine walks in three games against California last weekend. Freshmen right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer lead the unit, respectively, with 93 and 79 strikeouts.
Senior first baseman Cody Decker has tallied a team-leading 17 home runs and 41 RBI in 48 games. Sporting a .323 batting average, Decker also leads the Bruins' offense with a .667 slugging percentage, 45 runs, 32 walks and 54 hits (tied with Casey Haerther). The four-year senior has hit safely in 11 of the last 12 games and has reached base via a hit or walk in the last 16 contests. Decker has twice belted two home runs in a game this season and has accomplished that feat four times in four seasons. He leads all current Bruins with career totals of 43 home runs, 141 RBI, 168 hits, 79 walks and 183 games played (155 starts).
PROOF'S IN THE PITCHING
UCLA's starting pitching has logged an 11-6 record and 3.09 ERA through the Bruins' last 22 games. In that span, UCLA's starting pitchers have combined for 138 strikeouts and 33 walks in 136.2 innings. The starters have surrendered just 57 runs (47 earned) in the last 22 games, averaging 2.59 runs allowed per start. Trevor Bauer has gone 4-0 in his last five starts, registering 32 strikeouts and seven walks in that span.
The Bruins have played among the nation's most challenging schedules. After opening the season with a three-game home series, the Bruins spent four consecutive weekends on the road - in the Houston College Classic (Feb. 27-March 1), at Oklahoma (March 6-8), at East Carolina (March 13-14) and at USC (March 21-23). UCLA has played seven of its 12 weekends on the road, including six of those weekend trips away from southern California. The Bruins began their 2009 slate playing 22 of their first 33 games away from home.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Junior infielder Casey Haerther has compiled a .320 batting average and .491 slugging percentage, the second-highest marks on the squad. Haerther has belted eight homers and collected 35 RBI. The resident of Chatsworth, Calif., logged a career-high five RBI in a 2-for-4 effort against Long Beach State on April 28. Haerther's most impressive performance of the season came in a 17-2 victory at USC on March 23, when the Bruins' infielder went 4-for-4 with three runs and three RBI at Dedeaux Field.
PATROLLING IN RIGHT
Junior Justin Uribe has made 34 outfield starts this spring, including 24 in right field. The Santa Ana, Calif., resident and former standout at Foothill High School has compiled a .323 batting average, second-highest on the team. Uribe has recorded a .465 slugging percentage and .418 on-base percentage in 40 games, having belted three homers and tallied nine doubles. Sophomore Chris Giovinazzo has started 18 games in the outfield (16 in right), and enters Tuesday's game batting .299 with six doubles, two triples and one homer.
A fixture in UCLA's rotation since the first weekend of the 2009 season, freshman right-hander Gerrit Cole has logged a 4-5 record and 3.34 ERA, third-lowest on the team. Cole leads UCLA with 93 strikeouts and a .189 opponent batting average (both figures rank fifth in the Pac-10). The hard-throwing righty has gone 3-3 with a 3.42 ERA and .182 opponent average in eight Pac-10 starts. His most dominant outings have come at East Carolina (March 13, 5.0 IP, 12 K) and in a one-hit effort versus Washington (8.0 IP, 13 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H).
Freshman right-hander Trevor Bauer leads UCLA with eight wins (8-3 record) and a 2.68 ERA in a team-high 87.1 innings. Bauer began ths season pitching out of the bullpen before moving into a midweek starting role. After shutting down San Diego State (March 11) and Pepperdine (March 25) in midweek starts, Bauer has excelled in the weekend rotation. He has gone 6-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his eight starts. In Pac-10 action, Bauer leads the Bruins with a 6-0 record, having logged 49 strikeouts and nine walks in 57.1 innings.
STARRING ON SUNDAYS
Junior right-hander Charles Brewer has gone 3-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 14 games (12 starts). Brewer has notched 61 strikeouts and 17 walks in 63.2 innings, the third-highest total on the staff. He has not allowed more than four earned runs in any start. Brewer has pitched 6.0 innings or more in four of his last six starts. In seven Pac-10 starts, he has gone 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA, 36 strikeouts and nine walks in 43.1 innings.
CLOSING THE DOOR
Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks is tied with Arizona's Jason Stoffel for the Pac-10 lead in saves with eight. Brooks has become the first Bruin pitcher to register eight saves since Jake Meyer led UCLA with eight in 1997. The native of Vista, Calif., has compiled a 4.70 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 30.2 innings this season. He hurled five innings of no-hit baseball in relief at Oklahoma on Sunday, March 8.
UCLA's double-play combination of shortstop Niko Gallego and second baseman Eddie Murray have steadied the Bruins up the middle and in the lineup this spring. Murray ranks sixth on the club with a .292 batting average and first with a .450 on-base percentage. Murray ranks second on the team with 31 walks and first with 17 hit-by-pitches. Gallego enters this week's action batting .267 in 47 starts at shortstop. The former standout at Esperanza High School has collected 24 runs and 22 walks as a sophomore.
Senior first baseman Cody Decker ranks eighth on UCLA's career home runs list with 43 (trails Ryan McGuire, 47). Senior left-hander Brendan Lafferty has moved into third place on the career pitching appearances list (91), trailing Chuck Yeager (111) and Bill Wenrick (119). Senior right-hander Jason Novak is tied for sixth on the same list, having pitched in 83 career games. Junior left-hander Gavin Brooks is tied with four other players for 10th place on the career saves list (8), and is tied for fifth on the single-season saves list (8).
IN HONOR OF JACK
A circular black patch with the initials 'JG' adorn the left sleeve of UCLA's uniforms, in honor of the late Jack Gifford. Among the program's most loyal and passionate supporters, Gifford played for UCLA alongside former head coach Gary Adams in the early 1960s. Gifford, who passed away on Jan. 11, 2009, and his wife Rhodine generously funded the construction of UCLA's state-of-the-art hitting facility. Named in their honor, the Jack and Rhodine Gifford Hitting Facility stands 23-feet high and spans 10,500-square feet.
MAJOR LEAGUE BRUINS
Four Bruins opened the season on major league rosters, and two former UCLA players began the year on the 15-day disabled list. Among those playing on MLB rosters are Garrett Atkins (Colorado), Eric Byrnes (Arizona), Ben Francisco (Cleveland) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia). Former UCLA standouts Troy Glaus (St. Louis) and Casey Janssen (Toronto) have opened the 2009 campaign on the 15-day disabled list.
MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
Four former UCLA pitchers are pitching in the minors at the triple-A level - Hector Ambriz (Reno Aces, Arizona), David Huff (Columbus Clippers, Cleveland), Dave Johnson (Memphis Sounds, Milwaukee), and Josh Roenicke (Louisville Bats, Cincinnati). Ambriz, Huff and Roenicke all starred on the mound at UCLA as recently as 2006 under head coach John Savage. Former UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford (2006-08) has been promoted from San Jose (high-A) to Connecticut (double-A, San Francisco Giants).