No. 6 UCLA Baseball Opens Pac-10 Play Against Stanford on Thursday
March 31, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 6 UCLA baseball team opens Pac-10 play with a three-game home series versus Stanford on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. The Bruins (21-0) look to extend their season-opening 21-game win streak against the visiting Cardinal (12-7, 2-1 Pac-10) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Thursday, April 1 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Stanford - TBA
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (6-0, 2.63)
Friday, April 2 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Stanford - TBA
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, So. (5-0, 2.33)
Saturday, April 3 (2 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Stanford - TBA
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (3-0, 2.64)
GETTING TO JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM
Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on the grounds of the West L.A. Veteran Administration, north of Wilshire Blvd. and west of the 405 Freeway. Admission to all home games costs $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 16 and under). UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, chili, sodas and much more classic ballpark food. 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).
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.
Entering the week (through games played March 28), UCLA ranked first in NCAA's national rankings in ERA, strikeouts, strikeouts allowed per nine innings, and hits allowed per nine innings. The Bruins' offense ranked sixth in the country in batting average, 17th in slugging percentage and 27th in runs scored. Right-hander Gerrit Cole entered the week as one of six players in the nation to have recorded six victories. Cole and classmate Trevor Bauer ranked fourth (tied) with 56 strikeouts, and left-hander Rob Rasmussen was 20th nationally in strikeouts.
PAC-10 PLAY BEGINS
UCLA opens its Pac-10 schedule against Stanford on Thursday, hosting a three-game series against the Cardinal at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins have won each of their last three opening Pac-10 series, earning series victories at Stanford in 2007 (3-0), at Arizona in 2008 (2-1) and at USC in 2009 (2-1). UCLA last opened its Pac-10 slate at home during the 2005 season. From 2006-2009, UCLA has collected the second-most wins (55) and second-highest winning percentage (.561) among Pac-10 Conference teams.
With a 21-0 overall record, UCLA is off to its best-ever start. 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 current 21-game win streak is the team's longest such streak in the program's 91-year history. The Bruins have not been 21 games over .500 or more since finishing the 1997 season with a 45-21-1 record. During UCLA's historic win streak, the team has out-hit its opponent in all 21 ballgames.
BRUINS EDGE WAVES
Senior right-hander Garett Claypool registered nine strikeouts through 6.2 innings, limiting Pepperdine to one run (unearned) and two hits on Tuesday night, as UCLA prevailed against the visiting Waves, 2-1. Three UCLA relievers combined to throw 2.1 no-hit innings, as closer Dan Klein led the group, striking out three consecutive batters in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning. Klein notched his team-leading fifth save of the season. UCLA scored the game's first two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning before Pepperdine added one run in the seventh.
UCLA picked up its third three-game series sweep of the season last weekend, cruising past Cal Poly. The Bruins overcame deficits on Friday night and Saturday afternoon to earn the series sweep. Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla batted .600, going 6-for-10, with three doubles, three runs, three walks and four RBI. Senior Blair Dunlap posted a .571 average, going 8-for-14, with three doubles and two runs. In all, UCLA outscored Cal Poly by a 21-14 margin, batting .366 on the weekend with a .435 on-base percentage.
IN THE PAC
UCLA's pitching staff leads the Pac-10 Conference in ERA, strikeouts and opponent batting average, through games played Sunday. The Bruins have posted a 2.19 ERA, notching 265 strikeouts in 189.0 innings while limiting the opposition to a .182 batting average. UCLA's pitchers have averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest average of any Pac-10 team this season. Not far behind, the Bruins' offense has posted the third-highest batting average (.356) and second-highest home run total (22) through 21 games.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomores Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole lead all Pac-10 pitchers with 56 strikeouts. Cole has posted a league-best .147 opponent batting average and ranks tied for ninth in the Pac-10 with 37.2 innings. Bauer's 2.33 ERA is the seventh-lowest mark in the conference, as he ranks seventh with 38.2 innings. Cole is tied with Arizona State's Merrill Kelly for the conference lead in wins with six. Bauer and Arizona State's Jake Borup are the only other pitchers in the Pac-10 to have collected at least five wins.
Aside from the strong 1-2 punch of sophomores Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, junior Rob Rasmussen and senior Garett Claypool have been equally impressive. Both Rasmussen and Claypool have gone 3-0 this spring. Rasmussen has posted a 2.64 ERA, collecting 47 strikeouts (fourth-most in the Pac-10) in 30.2 innings. Claypool has registered a Pac-10 leading 1.23 ERA, notching 37 strikeouts and just four walks through 29.1 innings. His .153 opponent batting average is second lowest in the conference behind Cole's .147 mark.
THE .400 CLUB
Four UCLA hitters with at least 55 at-bats are currently sporting batting averages of .400 or better this season. Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla leads the group with his .443 mark, while seniors Justin Uribe (.414) and Blair Dunlap (.400) and sophomore Dean Espy (.411) have also made the list. Rahmatulla's average is the fifth-highest mark in the Pac-10, and Uribe's .414 average ranks ninth (through games played Tuesday) The last UCLA player to finish a season with a batting average above the .400 plateau was Brian Baron in 2001, who totaled a single-season school record .431 average.
Three freshmen left-handed hitters - Cody Regis (.385), Cody Keefer (.356) and Beau Amaral (.333) - have helped key UCLA's 21-0 start this season. Regis has split time with fellow rookie Dean Espy (sophomore, transfer from South Mountain CC in Phoenix) at third base, posting a .385 average with eight doubles and 14 RBI. Keefer has notched four doubles, 15 RBI, 20 runs and a team-high 17 walks (.489 OBP, 10th-best in the Pac-10). Amaral has started 14 games in center field, having recorded 19 hits, 12 runs, and eight RBI.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Junior Brett Krill has emerged as a mainstay in the Bruins' lineup, having made 19 starts (all in right field). He has batted .338, recording two homers, seven doubles, 13 RBI and 21 runs. The junior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., is a perfect 6-for-6 in the stolen base department. After having seen minimal playing time as a freshman and sophomore, he has hit safely in 16 of 19 games and hit safely in nine straight games earlier this year. Krill went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI in a 10-1 win at Long Beach State (Feb. 23).
BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore Steve Rodriguez has started as UCLA's catcher in 16 of 21 games this spring. He leads the team with five home runs and is batting at a .333 clip (18-for-54). Rodriguez has hit safely in 11 of his 16 starts behind the plate. He has produced six two-hit efforts, helping guide the team's pitching staff to a Pac-10-leading 2.19 ERA and .182 opponent batting average. Along with catchers Trevor Brown and Tyler Heineman, Rodriguez has helped UCLA limit the opposition to 18 steal attempts against, the second-lowest total in the Pac-10.
NOT FAR BEHIND
During the Bruins' 21-0 start, UCLA has trailed in seven ballgames and has been tied (without trailing during the contest) in two games. The Bruins have twice overcome a deficit of three runs, most recently by scoring two runs in the fourth inning and two in the eighth against Cal Poly on Saturday, March 26, to secure their 19th consecutive win. The Bruins have won two games in walkoff fashion, ironically, in back-to-back games. A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning against Nebraska (March 6) and versus UC Riverside (March 9) helped UCLA claim its ninth and 10th wins of the 2010 season.