No. 9 UCLA Baseball Prepared to Host Cal Poly for Three Games
March 24, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 9 UCLA baseball team has opened the season with a perfect 17-0 record and looks to extend its program-best win streak to 18 games against Cal Poly on Thursday. Game time of the three-game series opener is 6 p.m. Right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-0) will start for the Bruins on the mound at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Thursday, March 25 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Cal Poly - Kyle Anderson, LHP, So. (1-2, 7.43)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (5-0, 2.20)
Friday, March 26 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Cal Poly - Matt Leonard, LHP, Jr. (0-4, 6.59)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, So. (4-0, 2.05)
Saturday, March 27 (2 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Cal Poly - DJ Mauldin, RHP, Sr. (2-0, 9.45)
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (2-0, 2.52)
GETTING TO JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM
Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veteran Administration, north of Wilshire Blvd. and west of the 405 Freeway. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children 16 years and younger. Parking costs $5. Fans can take advantage of UCLA's family 4-pack Fridays - for $24 dollars, you can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and one family popcorn on Friday evenings (available at the ticket stand on day of game only). UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, sodas and much more classic ballpark food.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
All home baseball games, including this weekend's three-game series against Oral Roberts, will be broadcast live on the Bruins' baseball website at uclabruins.com. UCLA's John Ramey will provide the play-by-play and 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 on uclabruins.com.
At 17-0, UCLA's baseball team is off to its best start in school history. The Bruins' previous top starts (on record) took place in 1978 (8-0) and 1997 (7-0). UCLA's best one-loss start to a season (16-1) occurred in 1969. UCLA's 17-game win streak is the team's longest such streak in program history. The Bruins have not been 17 games over .500 since finishing their 1997 season with a 45-21-1 record.
The Bruins play their final non-conference series this weekend, hosting three games against Cal Poly beginning Thursday evening at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA earned a 7-1 victory at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday afternoon, as senior Garett Claypool recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts to secure the win. In a three-game series at Cal Poly in March 2008, UCLA won the final two of three games at Baggett Stadium.
UCLA picked up its second three-game series sweep of the season last weekend, cruising past Oral Roberts. The Bruins outscored the Golden Eagles, 41-7, in three games. Justin Uribe batted .533, going 8-for-15 with three RBI, and Tyler Rahmatulla hit at a .500 clip (5-for-10) with six RBI. UCLA's starting pitchers combined for 25 strikeouts and five walks through 20.2 innings, limiting Oral Roberts to four runs and 12 hits in three starts.
TOPS IN THE COUNTRY
In the latest official NCAA rankings (through games played March 21), UCLA ranks first, nationally, in team ERA, strikeouts per nine innings and hits allowed per nine innings. The Bruins ranked sixth in batting average and 17th in runs per game. Through Tuesday's win at UC Santa Barbara, the Bruins have posted a Pac-10 leading 1.94 ERA, .186 opponent batting average and 217 strikeouts through 153.0 innings. Right-hander Gerrit Cole ranks fourth in the nation with 49 strikeouts and ranks eighth with 4.68 hits allowed per nine innings.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomore right-hander Gerrit Cole leads all Pac-10 pitchers with 49 strikeouts and a .149 opponent batting average. Cole, along with Arizona State's Merrill Kelly and Jake Borup, ranks first in the conference with five wins. He logged a career-high 15 strikeouts in 7.2 innings at Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Whataburger College Classic) on Friday, March 12, before securing National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball. Cole enters this weekend sporting a 5-0 record and 2.20 ERA, the 10th-lowest mark in the Pac-10.
BAUER BRINGS IT
Sophomore right-hander Trevor Bauer has formed a dynamic 1-2 starting punch with classmate Gerrit Cole. Slated to start Friday against Cal Poly, Bauer has gone 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA, the sixth-lowest mark among Pac-10 pitchers. The former standout at Hart High School ranks second in the conference, behind Cole, with 47 strikeouts and has issued just seven walks. Bauer limited Oral Roberts to one run and five hits through eight innings last Saturday, fanning nine batters and walking one in UCLA's 12-2 victory.
UCLA's offense enters the weekend ranking first in the Pac-10 in home runs (22) and second in batting avearge (.363). Each of the Bruins' nine hitters with 45 or more at-bats are hitting above .300, as second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla leads that group with a .431 mark (28-for-65, 2 HR, 18 RBI). First baseman Justin Uribe has logged a .429 average (27-for-63, 1 HR, 15 RBI) through the season's first 17 games. UCLA has out-hit its opponents in all 17 games and is currently averaging 9.4 runs and 13.2 hits per game.
TOP OF THE PACK
Through games played on Tuesday, second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla ranks eighth in the Pac-10 with a .431 average and first baseman Justin Uribe is ninth with a .429 mark. Catcher Steve Rodriguez ranks fourth with a .766 slugging percentage and outfielder Blair Dunlap ranks eighth (.690). Rahmatulla's .512 on-base percentage is fifth in the conference, and outfielder Cody Keefer's .507 on-base percentage ranks seventh.
The Bruins host four games next week, taking on Pepperdine on Tuesday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA opens Pac-10 play against Stanford on Thursday, April 1. Game time on Thursday and Friday next week is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday's series finale against the Cardinal is at 2 p.m.
DEJA VU FOR DUNLAP
Senior Blair Dunlap has recorded a 12-game hitting streak after having recorded an 11-game streak last season. Dunlap has hit safely in 13 of 15 games played this spring. For the second time this year, Dunlap led off UCLA's first inning with a solo home run on Sunday against Oral Roberts. He also accomplished that feat in the team's season opener, connecting on the first pitch he saw as the leadoff hitter that night. UCLA's most veteran hitter, Dunlap enters Thursday's game with a .379 average (.296 career mark in 155 games).
Freshmen Cody Regis (.448), Cody Keefer (.373) and Beau Amaral (.340) have helped key UCLA's historical 17-0 start. Sophomore transfer Dean Espy (from South Mountain CC) is batting .378 with four homers and a team-high 21 RBI. Keefer ranks seventh in the conference with a .507 on-base percentage and is tied for fourth with 14 walks. In addition, freshmen Jeff Gelalich (3-for-3) and Trevor Brown (2-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI) had strong performances in their first and second career starts, respectively, last Saturday.
DIGGING THE LONG BALL
Despite losing its two most prolific power hitters from 2009 (Cody Decker, 21 HR; Casey Haerther, 9 HR), UCLA's offense has led the Pac-10 all season in the home run department. The Bruins have belted 22 round-trippers and have received substantial power from numerous contributors. Steve Rodriguez leads the pack with five homers, Dean Espy has belted four and Blair Dunlap and Niko Gallego have each connected for three. Heading into 2010, the Bruins were returning just four players who hit 13 of the team's 54 homers from 2009.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Junior Brett Krill has batted .361 with two homers, six doubles, 11 RBI and 16 runs in 15 starts, all in right field. After having seen minimal playing time his first two seasons, Krill has made the most of his junior season. He has hit safely in 13 of 15 contests and has logged six multiple-hit efforts so far this spring. Krill's best performance came in UCLA's 10-1 win at Long Beach State (Feb. 23), as the 6-foot-4 product from Laguna Niguel, Calif., went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI at Blair Field.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore Steve Rodriguez has started as UCLA's catcher in 14 of 17 ballgames. Rodriguez leads the Bruins with five homers and has posted a .362 batting average. A talented hitter from the left side, Rodriguez has hit safely in 10 of 14 games and has produced six two-hit efforts this season. He has guided UCLA's pitching staff to a 1.94 ERA and .186 opponent batting average. UCLA's catchers have limited the opposition to 17 steal attempts against, tied for the third-lowest total in the Pac-10 Conference.
Senior first baseman Justin Uribe has batted .429 with a .486 on-base percentage in 17 games this season. Uribe has made the switch to first base after having played in the outfield for UCLA the last three seasons. A career .321 hitter, the resident of Santa Ana, Calif., went 8-for-15 (.533) with three RBI, two runs and one stolen base in the Bruins' three-game sweep of Oral Roberts last weekend. Uribe has hit safely in 15 of the Bruins' 17 games, including each of the last seven contests.
AT THE HELM
Sixth-year head coach John Savage became UCLA's first head coach to lead the Bruins to three consecutive NCAA Regionals (2006-08). Named the Bruins' head coach in the summer of 2004, Savage has helped UCLA produce 31 Major League Draft selections. UCLA has collected the second-most wins (55) and second-highest winning percentage (.561) among Pac-10 teams (conference games) from 2006-09. At 17-0, Savage has pushed UCLA to its most games over .500 in his six-plus seasons (previous, 10 games over in May 2006).