No. 1 UCLA Baseball to Host Three-Game Weekend Series Against Oregon
April 14, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 1 UCLA baseball team looks to extend its three-game win streak when it hosts a three-game Pac-10 series against Oregon (21-11) this weekend. First pitch on Friday evening is slated for 6 p.m. at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins (26-3) enter the weekend one-half game out of first place in the Pac-10 standings.
PROBABLE STARTERS (at Jackie Robinson Stadium)
Friday, April 16 (6 p.m.)
Oregon - Tyler Anderson, LHP, So. (5-3, 2.16)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (6-0, 2.37)
Saturday, April 17 (2 p.m.)
Oregon - Justin LaTempa, RHP, Sr. (2-2, 3.44)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, So. (5-1, 1.95)
Sunday, April 18 (12 p.m.)
Oregon - TBA
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (5-0, 2.89)
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. Parking on the VA grounds costs $5.
FOUR-PACK FRIDAY PROMOTION
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). The Bruins play just four more home games on Friday nights this spring.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
All home baseball games, including this weekend's three-game series against Oregon, 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, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on uclabruins.com.
NOTES ON OREGON
UCLA hosts a three-game Pac-10 series this weekend against Oregon, the Bruins' first series against the Ducks in Los Angeles since 1979. Oregon resumed its baseball program in 2009, when the Bruins won the final two games of a three-game set against the Ducks at PK Park (Eugene, Ore.). UCLA leads the all-time series against Oregon, 13-3, and has won five of seven meetings against the Ducks at home (all previous home games versus Oregon played at Sawtelle Field, the site of today's Jackie Robinson Stadium).
The Bruins improved to 10-1 in games played away from Jackie Robinson Stadium by defeating UC Riverside, 10-0, on the road Tuesday night. UCLA pounded out 13 hits in their first shutout of the season, as senior Garett Claypool earned the victory to improve to 5-1. Last weekend, the Bruins won two of three games at then-No. 17 Oregon State, pushing their record against top-25 teams to 5-2. UCLA's pitching staff ranks first in the nation with a 2.28 ERA, but the Bruins have logged a 1.54 ERA in 11 road/neutral contests this spring.
ASCENT UP THE POLLS
The Bruins have opened the week ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America and Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com. In addition, UCLA is ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and has been tabbed No. 4 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association. The Bruins have not been ranked, midseason, No. 1 by a major national publication since March 3, 1997 (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball). UCLA was ranked as Baseball America's preseason No. 1 team at the start of the 2008 campaign.
In addition to earning the No. 1 ranking in top-25 polls by Baseball America and Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com this week, UCLA entered the week ranking first in a host of national stat categories. Prior to Tuesday's games, UCLA's pitching staff led the country in team ERA (2.32), strikeouts per nine innings (11.7) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.29). Trevor Bauer ranked 19th in the country in ERA (1.95), Garett Claypool was 25th (2.06, prior to lowering his ERA to 1.91) and Gerrit Cole ranked 45th (2.37).
Through Tuesday's action, UCLA leads the Pac-10 with 348 strikeouts (ahead of second-best Arizona State, 282). The Bruins' three weekend starting pitchers are the conference's top three strikeout leaders - Gerrit Cole (71), Trevor Bauer (67) and Rob Rasmussen (63). Thorugh last Sunday's games, Gerrit Cole ranked third in the nation in strikeouts, Bauer was eighth and Rasmussen ranked 19th. In addition, Rasmussen ranks fifth in the country with 12.97 strikeouts per nine innings, Cole is sixth (12.96) and Bauer ranks 11th (11.89).
The Bruins have won their first two Pac-10 series for the first time since 2007. UCLA took two of three games from Stanford at home (April 1-3) before earning a series victory at Oregon State last weekend. In 2007, UCLA opened its Pac-10 slate winning 10 of its first 11 games, including a series sweep at Stanford followed by a series win at home versus Washington. That year, the Bruins won their first five Pac-10 series (including sweeps at Stanford and USC) before losing two of three games in each of their final three conference series.
Through Tuesday's games, UCLA ranks third in the conference in batting average (.331), slugging percentage (.488) and on-base percentage (.418). UCLA has belted the second-most home runs (26) of any Pac-10 team. In 29 games this spring, the Bruins have scored in double digits nine times and have registered at least 10 hits in 20 contests. Dean Espy's .688 slugging percentage ranks second in the Pac-10 (through Tuesday), while Tyler Rahmatulla has posted the third-highest on-base percentage (.511) in the conference.
UCLA's 16-inning victory last Saturday at Oregon State marked the program's longest game (by innings) since an 18-inning game at Arizona State on Feb. 23, 1990. The Bruins lost a 6-5 decision in the series opener at Arizona State that evening before 4,037 fans. The longest extra-inning game in Pac-10 history came in 1972, as Washington and Oregon State played a 20-inning contest (date, score unknown). UCLA's 3-1 win against Oregon State lasted six hours, 23 minutes and featured 12 pitchers (eight by Oregon State, four by UCLA).
Left-hander Rob Rasmussen has earned the victory in each of his last five starts. Rasmussen has gone 5-0 with a 2.89 ERA, 63 strikeouts and 19 walks through 43.2 innings. He threw a career-high seven innings in UCLA's 8-2 victory over Oregon State on Sunday, helping the Bruins secure the Pac-10 series victory. Rasmussen struck out eight batters and did not issue any walks for the second consecutive start. In his last five starts, Rasmussen has limited the opposition to a .179 average (.201 average on the season).
KLEIN CAN CLOSE
Sophomore right-hander Dan Klein has registered a team-leading six saves as UCLA's closer. The native of Los Alamitos, Calif. (Servite HS), has allowed one run through 22.1 innings. Klein has made a team-high 17 appearances, tied for the fourth-most in the Pac-10. He has recorded 33 strikeouts and six walks, holding the opposition to a .179 batting average. Sporting a 2-0 record, Klein surrendered his first run and was charged with his first blown save in UCLA's 3-1 victory in 16 innings on Saturday, April 10.
Sophomore right-hander Trevor Bauer's sophomore campaign has been equally as sharp as his first year. With a 5-1 record and 1.95 ERA in eight starts, Bauer ranks second among all Pac-10 pitchers (through Tuesday) with 67 strikeouts and is seventh with 50.2 innings. His .210 opponent batting average ranks ninth in the Pac-10. The native of Valencia, Calif., pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, scattering six hits in a no-decision at Oregon State last Saturday. Bauer had eight strikeouts and one walk in a 3-1, 16-inning win over Oregon State.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomore right-hander Gerrit Cole leads the Pac-10 with 71 strikeouts and a .156 opponent average. With a 6-0 record, Cole is one four Pac-10 pitchers to have earned six or more wins. He struck out 10 batters and walked seven in six innings last Friday and did not earn a decision in a 4-1 loss at Oregon State. No UCLA pitcher has gone 6-0 since 1997, when left-hander and eventual major leaguer Jim Parque started the year 11-0 through 13 starts. Cole had a career-high 15 strikeouts at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on March 12.
Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla, who has started all 29 games at second base, leads the Bruins' offense in hits (41), runs (28), RBI (28), total bases (67), walks (27) and stolen bases (8). He ranks second on the team in batting average (.394), at-bats (104) and home runs (4, tied with three others). Rahmatulla is tied with Arizona State's Kole Calhoun for the Pac-10 lead in walks (27). The resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., has collected the game-winning RBI for UCLA in seven contests, including Tuesday night's win at UC Riverside.
UCLA has gone 5-2 against teams ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll (team ranked in poll on day of game). UCLA defeated then-No. 25 Oklahoma, 5-2, in the Whataburger College Classic (March 14) before winning two of three games against then-No. 19 Stanford and then-No. 17 Oregon State. One year ago, the Bruins went 8-13 against top-25 competition, playing more games and earning more victories against top-25 teams than any other Pac-10 program. UCLA is slated to play 10 more games against top-25 teams this year.
GETTING ON BASE
Freshman Cody Keefer ranks fifth on the ballclub with a .340 batting average and is second on the squad with a .481 on-base percentage. Keefer's 25-walk total is second on the squad behind sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla (27 walks). Keefer was selected in the 33rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. The native of Davis, Calif., has started all 29 games in left field for UCLA this spring. Keefer is third on the team with 34 hits and ranks fourth with 22 runs. He has recorded nine multiple-hit games during his freshman campaign.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore Steve Rodriguez has started as UCLA's catcher in 23 of 29 games this spring. He leads the team with five home runs and is batting at a .309 clip. Rodriguez delievered the game-winning two-RBI single in UCLA's 16-inning, 3-1 victory at Oregon State (April 10), going 4-for-8 in that contest. He has helped guide the Bruins' pitching staff to a Pac-10-leading 2.28 ERA and .191 opponent batting average. UCLA catchers have limited the opposition to 27 steal attempts, third-fewest among all Pac-10 programs.
LOOKING FOR RELIEF
UCLA's bullpen has gone 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA and eight saves through 29 games. The Bruins' relief corps has logged 112 strikeouts and 30 walks, posting a .204 opponent batting average. Eight relief pitchers have combined to make 70 appearances out of the bullpen. No relief appearance may have been more impressive than that of right-hander Garett Claypool in UCLA's 16-inning victory at Oregon State on April 10. Claypool earned the victory that evening, limiting the Beavers to one hit in 4.2 scoreless innings. He struck out five batters and issued just one walk while accruing two plate appearances (UCLA lost the designated hitter).
NOTES ON A STREAK
UCLA opened the season by winning its first 22 games, the Bruins' best-ever start to any baseball season in the program's 91-year history. Prior to going 22-0 in 2010, UCLA's best starts on record took place in 1978 (8-0) and in 1997 (7-0). The Bruins won their first 22 games, outscoring their opponents by a combined 189-59 margin. UCLA posted a .356 batting average during its record streak while the pitching staff logged a 2.22 ERA and 273 strikeouts through 199.0 innings (12.4 strikeouts per nine innings).