No. 12 UCLA Baseball Travels North to Play at Washington
May 6, 2010
SEATTLE - The No. 12 UCLA baseball team continues its Pac-10 schedule with a three-game series at Washington this weekend. Sophomore right-hander Gerrit Cole gets the series started as UCLA's starting pitcher on Friday night (6 p.m.). The Bruins (31-10, 7-8) and Huskies (25-19, 8-7) continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTERS (at Husky Ballpark)
Friday, May 7 (6 p.m.)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (6-2, 2.86)
Washington - Geoff Brown, LHP, Jr. (1-3, 4.96)
Saturday, May 8 (2 p.m.)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, So. (6-3, 2.81)
Washington - Andrew Kittredge, RHP, So. (6-3, 5.33)
Sunday, May 9 (1 p.m.)
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (6-2, 3.59)
Washington - TBA
UCLA continues its five-game road trip at Washington this weekend after having won at Pepperdine, 5-1, on Tuesday afternoon. The five-game stretch marks UCLA's longest streak of games away from Jackie Robinson Stadium this season. UCLA will travel south next Tuesday to play a non-conference game at UC Irvine. The Bruins have compiled a 13-2 record away from home this spring (9-2 in road games, 4-0 at neutral sites). Fans can follow pitch-by-pitch action of each game at Husky Ballpark via GameTracker, online at uclabruins.com.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Washington enters the weekend series having gone 25-19 overall and sports an 8-7 mark in Pac-10 play. The Huskies rank ninth in the Pac-10 in batting average (.280) and are 10th with a 5.28 team ERA. Washington defeated Seattle, 5-2, in a non-conference game at Husky Ballpark on Wednesday evening. Last season, UCLA swept a three-game series against Washington at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins have won each of the last three season series against the Huskies (2-1 in 2007, 2-1 in 2008, 3-0 in 2009).
Freshman Beau Amaral leads UCLA with a .356 batting average as the Bruins' center fielder and is followed by sophomores Tyler Rahmatulla (.354) and Dean Espy (.351). Rahmatulla enters the weekend as the team leader in hits (52), runs (34) and on-base percentage (463). Espy leads the group with 33 RBI and a .579 slugging percentage, while senior Blair Dunlap is currently leading all UCLA players with 16 doubles and is tied for third in the Pac-10 Conference with USC's Ricky Oropesa in that category.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Slated to start Friday night at Washington, sophomore Gerrit Cole enters the weekend as the Pac-10 Conference's leader in strikeouts (95) and ranks fourth in opposing batting average (.190) and eighth in ERA (2.86). Cole struck out nine batters and walked four in a 5-1 loss to Arizona State last Friday. The right-hander from Santa Ana Calif., allowed two runs and six hits in seven-plus innings, absorbing his second loss of the spring. Cole has tallied 10 or more strikeouts in three starts and accomplished that feat in three starts one year ago.
Sophomore Trevor Bauer ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference with 92 strikeouts, just three shy of teammate Gerrit Cole. Bauer and Cole have formed one of the nation's most potent 1-2 punches and were both named to the Golden Spikes Award's midseason watch list (May 4). Bauer has gone 6-3 with a 2.81 ERA and ranks fourth in the conference with 73.2 innings. Last season, his most impressive start came in a 13-0 victory against Washington, as he fanned 13 batters while tossing UCLA's first one-hit complete game shutout since 2000.
Junior Rob Rasmussen has started each of UCLA's 11 weekend finales, going 6-2 with a 3.49 ERA. Rasmussen, who hails from Arcadia, Calif., has registered 78 strikeouts and 22 walks in 57.2 innings, limiting the opposition to a .236 batting average. Entering the weekend, Rasmussen ranks fourth among Pac-10 pitchers with 78 strikeouts. After not having picked up a decision in any of his first three starts, Rasmussen earned the victory in his next six consecutive starts (March 14-April 18).
In the latest college baseball polls, five Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top-25 by at least one of four publications. Baseball America includes Arizona State (3), UCLA (12), Oregon (15), California (21) and Arizona (23). UCLA has gone 7-6 against teams ranked in the top-25 (week of game) by Baseball America. The Bruins have ascended as high as No. 1, (week of April 12-18) having earned a top-ranking by Baseball America and Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com for the first time during the regular season since March 3, 1997.
TUESDAY IN REVIEW
Senior Garett Claypool picked up his team-leading seventh win (improving to 7-1) last Tuesday, allowing one run and three hits in 6.1 innings as the Bruins bested Pepperdine, -5-1. UCLA's offense totaled 15 hits, including three by freshmen Beau Amaral and Cody Regis, as the Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak. Claypool lowered his ERA to 2.02 (second-best in the Pac-10) and has posted a conference-best .175 opponent batting average. Reliable in the starting rotation and bullpen, he has logged a 0.90 ERA in seven relief appearances.
Freshman Beau Amaral has moved into the team lead in bating average, having batted at a .356 clip in 37 games (30 starts in center field). Amaral went 3-for-3 with two doubles, one walk and one hit-by-pitch in UCLA's 5-1 win at Pepperdine on Tuesday afternoon. Two weeks ago, he batted .545 (6-for-11) in a three-game series at Arizona. The former standout at Huntington Beach High School belted his second homer of the season, going 2-for-4 with two RBI, in a loss to Long Beach State on April 20. Since UCLA's 22-game win streak was snapped, Amaral has posted a team-leading .379 batting average, going 22-for-58 in that span.
Sophomore right-hander Dan Klein leads UCLA with eight saves, the third-highest total of any Pac-10 pitcher, and has posted a 1.11 ERA in 24 appearances (all in relief). Klein was named to the Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List in mid-April by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association (NCBWA). A product of Servite High School (Anaheim), Klein has collected 41 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. Entering this weekend's three-game series at Washington, Klein is tied for fifth place on UCLA's single-season saves list.
UCLA leads the Pac-10 Conference with 446 strikeouts and a 2.99 team ERA. The Bruins have averaged 10.67 strikeouts per nine innings, having logged 12 punchouts in Tuesday's 5-1 win at Pepperdine. UCLA's weekend starters rank first, second and fourth, respectively among the Pac-10's strikeout leaders - Gerrit Cole (95), Trevor Bauer (92) and Rob Rasmussen (78). Garett Claypool sits just outside the top-10 strikeout leaders (61). Cole leads all UCLA pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings with a 12.3 average.
WORTHY OF AN ESPY
Sophomore Dean Espy has excelled as a corner infielder in his first season with the Bruins. Currently sporting UCLA's third-highest batting average (.351), Espy transferred to UCLA last summer after having starred at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix in 2009. He leads the Bruins in RBI (33) and slugging percentage (.579). Espy, along with Brett Krill, Tyler Rahmatulla and Steve Rodriguez, is tied for the team lead in home runs with five. The native of Mesa, Ariz., leads UCLA with nine multiple-RBI games this spring.
Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla has started at second base in 40 of the Bruins' 41 games this season. He enters the three-game series at Washington ranking second on the team in batting average (.354). Rahmatulla, along with junior Brett Krill and sophomores Dean Espy and Steve Rodrigeuz, leads UCLA with five home runs. The former standout infielder at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana) is ninth among Pac-10 hitters with a .463 on-base percentage. Rahmatulla also ranks sixth in walks (29) and first in sacrifice flies (6).
AGAINST THE BEST
UCLA has gone 7-6 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, on March 14 before winning two of three games against No. 19 Stanford, No. 17 Oregon State and No. 17 Arizona. The Bruins were swept in three games against No. 3 Arizona State the weekend of April 30-May 2. One year ago, UCLA went 8-13 against top-25 competition, playing more games and earning more victories against top-25 teams than any other Pac-10 program.
Gerrit Cole stands five strikeouts shy of 100 this season - if Cole reaches the century mark, he would become the first UCLA pitcher to log 100 or more strikeouts in consecutive seasons since Jim Parque (1996-97). It would mark the fifth consecutive year in which UCLA had a pitcher total 100 strikeouts. UCLA has not had two pitchers record 100 or more strikeouts in the same season since 1997 (Jim Parque had 119 and Tom Jacquez notched 100). Cole's 199 career strikeouts are 50 shy of 10th place on UCLA's career list.
UCLA's 16-inning victory at Oregon State on April 10 marked the program's longest game (by innings) since an 18-inning game at Arizona State on Feb. 23, 1990. The Bruins lost 6-5 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).
UCLA has 15 games (eight road, seven home) remaining on its 56-game regular season schedule. The Bruins will alternate each of their next four weekend series on the road and at home. Following the current five-game road swing, UCLA will host a three-game series against crosstown rival USC (May 14-16). After playing UC Santa Barbara at home on May 18, the Bruins will play a three-game series at No. 21 California (May 21-23). During the final week of the season, UCLA will play a midweek game at No. 10 Cal State Fullerton before concluding the spring with a three-game home series against Washington State (May 28-30).