No. 23 UCLA Baseball to Play at Long Beach State on Tuesday Night
Feb. 22, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 23 UCLA baseball team returns to action in its first true road contest at Long Beach State on Tuesday evening. Game time at Blair Field is 6:30 p.m. Fans can listen live at uclabruins.com. Last season, the Bruins (3-0) won both midweek contests against Long Beach State (1-2).
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, February 23 (6:30 p.m.) - Blair Field (Long Beach, Calif.)
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Sr. (0-0, 0.00)
LBSU - Eddie Magallon, RHP, Fr. (first appearance)
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
UCLA's game at Long Beach State will be broadcast live online at uclabruins.com. Play-by-play announcer John Ramey will have the call live, starting at 6:25 p.m. at Blair Field. UCLA provides a live audio stream of all its home games and select road games on its athletics web site, uclabruins.com. Ramey will be accompanied throughout the year by color commentators Nick Theodorou and Danny Rees. In addition, fans can follow the action online through GameTracker, a pitch-by-pitch update of the game in progress, located at uclabruins.com.
UCLA hands the ball to senior right-hander Garett Claypool on Tuesday evening, as the Bruins play at Long Beach State. Claypool leads all UCLA pitchers with 126.0 career innings. The native of West Hills, Calif., went 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 14 appearances (eight starts) in 2009. Claypool started UCLA's two games against the 49ers last season, totaling 15 strikeouts and four walks in 10.1 innings. Long Beach State will counter with freshman right-hander Eddie Magallon, who is slated to make his collegiate debut against the Bruins. Last season, UCLA won both games against Long Beach State at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins outscored the 49ers by a combined 22-7 margin.
UCLA's offense posted a .398 team batting average, while the pitching staff logged a 3.00 ERA, totaling 42 strikeouts and five walks in 27.0 innings. UCLA outscored the opposition, 40-10, and registered at least 10 runs or more in each contest. The Bruins last scored in double digits in three straight games during the 2006 season (March 14-18). UCLA last scored 40 runs or more in their first three games during the 1997 season (45), the last year in which the Bruins advanced to the College World Series.
The Bruins' incoming crop of position players batted a combined .471 over the weekend, going 16-for-34 with 16 runs, 14 RBI, three home runs and seven walks. Freshmen Beau Amaral (5-for-10, 1 HR), Cody Keefer (4-for-9, .667 OBP) and Cody Regis (3-for-6) and sophomore Dean Espy (3-for-6, 2 HR, 5 RBI) led the pack at the plate. Amaral went 4-for-5 with three RBI, two runs and a game-tying three-run homer against Cal State Northridge in the Bruins' 14-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Following Tuesday night's game at Long Beach State, UCLA will face Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and USC in the first-ever Dodgertown Classic. The Bruins host Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.), respectively. UCLA will face USC in a non-conference game at Dodger Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m. Fans are strongly encouraged to buy tickets ($5 general admission) from the UCLA Central Ticket Office, located on campus in the James West Alumni Center. There is no charge for parking that day at Dodger Stadium. Day of game tickets at Dodger Stadium will cost $10. UCLA left-hander Rob Rasmussen is slated to start on the mound for the Bruins against USC that afternoon.
Sophomore right-handers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer got the starting nods last Friday and Saturday, respectively, and did not dissapoint. Cole allowed two runs and one hit in six innings, striking out nine batters without issuing any walks. Bauer followed with a career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings on Saturday, earning the victory after limiting Bethune Cookman to three runs and four hits. Cole and Bauer were two of the conference's three freshmen to earn All-Pac-10 Team honors in 2009. Cole is expected to start against Vanderbilt on Friday evening, and Bauer will take the mound against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Entering the 2010 season, the Bruins returned just four players who hit a combined 13 of UCLA's 54 home runs in 2009. Through the weekend, UCLA belted nine home runs in three games. Blair Dunlap belted the first pitch as UCLA's leadoff hitter in the first inning of its season opener on Friday beyond the left-field wall for a solo homer. Steve Rodriguez led the group with three homers - including two Saturday against Bethune Cookman on national television (MLB Network). Dean Espy smacked two round-trippers, while Beau Amaral, Niko Gallego and Marc Navarro each belted their first collegiate home runs.
STRONG AS A BULL
Five UCLA relief pitchers limited the opposition to one run (unearned) in 9.1 total innings. The bullpen surrendered six hits, notching 13 strikeouts without allowing one walk. Erik Goeddel earned his first career victory on Sunday, allowing one unearned run and four hits in 2.2 innings (four strikeouts, no walks). Dan Klein, slated to serve as the Bruins' closer, made two appearances - he tossed one scoreless frame on Friday and another on Sunday, requiring just 14 pitches to record six outs. Matt Grace hurled 2.2 scoreless innings in two outings, and Brandon Lodge recorded the final three outs in Friday's 16-2 victory in his first collegiate appearance.
GETTING ON BASE
Freshman Cody Keefer (Davis, Calif.) went 4-for-9 with six walks in three starts as the Bruins' left fielder. Keefer, a 33rd round MLB Draft selection by Detroit last June, posted a .667 on-base percentage in his first weekend for the Bruins. He collected two RBI and scored five runs in 15 plate appearances. Fellow freshman Beau Amaral, who batted in the leadoff spot on Saturday and Sunday, posted a .583 on-base percentage, going 5-for-10 with four RBI, three runs, one walk and one hit-by-pitch.
UP THE MIDDLE
UCLA's infield features a variety of options as the Bruins get rolling in 2010. Junior Niko Gallego and sophomore Adrian Williams provide the team with durable options at shortstop. Gallego made 55 starts at shortstop last season, batting .273 overall, including a .300 batting in 27 Pac-10 contests. Williams appeared in nine games, collecting two hits in 10 at-bats. At second base, the Bruins expect for sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla and senior Blair Dunlap to push for playing time. Rahmatulla made 23 starts last season, including seven at second base and 15 at third base, and batted .222 in 35 games. Last weekend, both Gallego and Rahmatulla made three starts at shortstop and second base, respectively, as each player went 5-for-13 at the plate.
Seniors Blair Dunlap and Justin Uribe return as two of the Bruins' most talented veteran hitters. Dunlap, who can contribute at second base in addition to playing in the outfield, batted .301 in 55 starts last season. The resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., led the Bruins in 2009 with 68 hits, 17 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 21 attempts. In addition, Dunlap ranked second on the team with 45 runs and 112 total bases. Uribe batted .318 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 47 games (41 starts) in 2009. He has registered a .283 batting average or higher in each of this three seasons in Westwood.
Sophomore right-handers Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole have each been named to a pair of preseason All-America lists. Bauer secured third-team preseason accolades from Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Cole earned second-team preseason honors from Baseball America and third-team acclaim from Collegiate Baseball.
Baseball America predicted that UCLA will finish second in the Pac-10 standings, behind defending conference champion Arizona State. The national baseball publication projected four Pac-10 teams to secure NCAA Regional berths (Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford). Baseball America's preseason All-Conference Team includes right-hander Gerrit Cole. Outfielder Cody Keefer is rated as the Pac-10's ninth-best newcomer. Left-hander Rob Rasmussen is listed as the Pac-10's top draft prospect for the June 2010 MLB Draft.