No. 7 UCLA Baseball to Play at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday Night
May 24, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 7 UCLA baseball team opens its final week of the regular season at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday evening. Game time at Goodwin Field is slated for 6 p.m. Fans can listen to a live audio broadcast of Tuesday's game online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. The Bruins (41-11) have tied the program record for most regular-season victories with the 1979 ballclub (went 41-16 in the regular season).
Tuesday, May 25 (6 p.m.) - at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Field
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Sr. (8-2, 2.02)
Cal State Fullerton - Colin O'Connell, RHP, So. (0-1, 4.30)
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
UCLA's four games this week will be broadcast live online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. UCLA's John Ramey will provide the play-by-play and will be accompanied at home games 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.
UCLA remains in the hunt for the 2010 Pac-10 Title. The Bruins (16-8) trail first-place Arizona State (18-6) by two games with three Pac-10 contests remaining. If both teams finish the season with identical Pac-10 records, UCLA and Arizona State will be crowned Co-Pac-10 Champions, with Arizona State securing the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament (by virtue of winning the season's head-to-head series). Three UCLA wins coupled with three Arizona State losses this weekend would allow the Bruins to win the Pac-10 Conference title outright. UCLA has not won a share of the Pac-10 title since a four-way tie in 2000.
UCLA motors into the final week of college baseball's regular season riding a seven-game win streak. The Bruins play Tuesday evening at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton before hosting a three-game Pac-10 series against No. 22 Washington State, winners in nine of its last 10 contests, beginning Friday night (6 p.m.). Since dropping three games to Arizona State at the start of May, the Bruins have won 11 of 12 games, including three consecutive Pac-10 series sweeps at Washington (May 7-9), versus USC (May 14-16) and at California (May 21-23).
BACK FROM BERKELEY
The Bruins outscored California, 31-13, in a three-game sweep of the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif., last weekend. UCLA overcame deficits in the top of the eighth and ninth innings on Friday afternoon to register an 8-7 victory in the series opener. Trailing 7-5 with two outs in the ninth, UCLA received consecutive run-scoring singles on 0-and-2 counts to take an 8-7 lead. The Bruins pulled away in a close affair Saturday, winning by a 12-4 margin, before opening a 7-0 lead and holding on for an 11-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Anchored by a deep, talented pitching staff, UCLA ranks first in the Pac-10 with a 3.08 ERA, a program-record 540 strikeouts and a .223 opponent batting average. Second in the conference with 41 wins (to Arizona State's 45), UCLA has been bolstered by the starting pitching of Gerrit Cole (Friday), Trevor Bauer (Saturday), Rob Rasmussen (Sunday) and Garett Claypool (Tuesday). Bauer (116), Cole (113) and Rasmussen (96) rank first, second and fourth, respectively, in strikeouts among Pac-10 pitchers.
UCLA has gone 19-3 in games played away from home. The Bruins' only road losses have come at No. 17 Oregon State (April 9), No. 17 Arizona (April 25) and UC Irvine (May 11). Freshman Beau Amaral has emerged as the Bruins' most difficult out on the road, as UCLA's starting center fielder has posted team-highs with a .382 average and .500 on-base percentage (minimum 20 at-bats). UCLA's midweek starter, senior Garett Claypool, has gone 5-1 with a 1.06 ERA in six road games (five starts), collecting 34 strikeouts in 34.0 innings.
STRONG ON SUNDAYS
Junior Rob Rasmussen earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday for the second time in his career (first this season). The southpaw from Arcadia, Calif., limited California to one run and two hits in 6.2 innings during Sunday's 11-2 victory. He faced four batters over the minimum, leading UCLA to a series sweep at California. Rasmussen has gone 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA, notching 96 strikeouts and 25 walks in 78.0 innings. Rasmussen has gone 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA in Pac-10 action, totaling 49 strikeouts and six walks in 47.1 innings.
In the latest polls, five Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top-25 by at least one of five publications. Baseball America includes Arizona State (3), UCLA (7), Oregon (21) and Washington State (22) in its weekly poll, while Stanford has been included by Collegiate Baseball. UCLA has gone 7-6 against ranked teams (week of game) by Baseball America. The Bruins ascended to No. 1 (week of April 12-18 by Baseball America and Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com) for the first time during the regular season since March 3, 1997.
Sophomores Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer have packed a formidable 1-2 punch in UCLA's starting rotation. Both players have been named to the 2010 National Pitcher of the Year Award's revised watch list. Cole has gone 8-2 with a 3.41 ERA, totaling 113 strikeouts in 89.2 innings. Bauer enters the weekend against Washington State with a 9-3 record and 2.95 ERA, having logged a Pac-10-leading 116 strikeouts in 94.2 innings. Bauer is tied for fifth place on UCLA's single-season strikeouts list (with Jim Parque, 1996), while Cole has moved into the seventh slot on the single-season list, ahead of Gary Robson's 112-strikeout total (1972).
Seniors Blair Dunlap and Justin Uribe have been two of UCLA's key offensive weapons all season. Uribe ranks second on the team with a .359 batting average and has posted a .439 on-base percentage. Dunlap has batted at a .339 clip, fourth-best on the ballclub, pushing his career batting average to a .300 mark. Dunlap ranks second on the team with 63 hits and leads UCLA in total bases (100) and doubles (18). With his team-leading 18th double on Sunday, Dunlap climbed into possession of eighth place on UCLA's career doubles list (46).
Freshman Beau Amaral has batted .356, third-highest on the team, in 48 games this spring (41 starts, all in center field). Amaral had a 15-game hit streak snapped May 16 in the Bruins' series finale against USC. The former standout at Huntington Beach High School has batted .341 in all 24 Pac-10 contests. Since UCLA opened its season with 22 consecutive victories, Amaral has led the Bruins with a .370 batting average in that 30-game span. He has also belted three homers and collected six doubles and 21 RBI as a freshman.
Sophomore right-hander Dan Klein leads UCLA with nine saves, third among Pac-10 pitchers, he has posted a 5-0 record and 2.23 ERA in a team-leading 31 appearances (third-most in the Pac-10). 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 struck out 46 batters and walked just seven in 40.1 innings. Klein's nine saves are tied for third-most on UCLA's single-season saves list.
UCLA's 2010 pitching staff has had four pitchers record eight or more victories for the first time since 1967 (Rob Kester and Guy Hansen with 10, Bob Boyer 9, Bob Wiswell 8). Sophomore Trevor Bauer leads the ballclub with nine victories, while senior Garett Claypool, junior Rob Rasmussen and sophoomore Gerrit Cole have each collected eight wins. The Bruins lead the Pac-10 with 540 strikeouts, the most ever in a single season by any UCLA ballclub (third Bruins' staff to reach the 500-strikeout plateau). Last season, the Bruins finished their 56-game schedule with 509 strikeouts, while UCLA's 2000 team logged 531 strikeouts in 64 games.
RELIABLE IN RELIEF
Among UCLA's greatest assets in 2010 has been the team's bullpen. The relief corps has gone 9-2 with a 3.35 ERA, limiting the opposition to a .233 batting average in 150.1 innings. Right-handers Dan Klein and Erik Goeddel and left-hander Matt Grace have been the most utilized pitchers in relief. Goeddel has made 29 appearances, compiling a 2-0 record and 3.63 ERA with 46 strikeouts, 19 walks and one save in 39.2 innings. Grace has made 27 appearances, posting a 2.28 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla has started at second base in 51 of the Bruins' 52 games this season. The former standout at Mater Dei High School has batted .337 with team-highs of 63 hits, 44 runs and 32 walks (tied). Rahmatulla ranks second on the the ballclub with 16 doubles and 11 stolen bases. He is currently tied with two other players (including teammate Cody Keefer) for fifth place among Pac-10 hitters with 32 walks. Rahmatulla has started in the No. 3 slot in UCLA's batting lineup in 50 of his 51 starts.
WORTH AN ESPY
Sophomore Dean Espy enters Tuesday's game at Cal State Fullerton leading UCLA in batting average (.361), RBI (41) and slugging percentage (.617). Espy is tied with sophomore Steve Rodriguez for the team lead in home runs (7). In four games last week, he batted .556 (5-for-9) with one home run, one triple, six RBI and three runs. Espy went 3-for-4 with one two-run homer, two runs and three RBI in UCLA's 11-2 victory at California. He manufactured a two-RBI pinch-hit single Friday and a two-RBI pinch-hit triple Saturday.
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.
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).
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).
NOT FAR BEHIND
During the Bruins' 22-0 start, UCLA trailed in eight ballgames and was tied (without trailing) in two games. The Bruins twice overcame a deficit of three runs, most recently by scoring two runs in the fourth inning and two in the eighth against Cal Poly on March 26, to secure their 19th consecutive win. The Bruins won two games in walk-off fashion, ironically, in back-to-back games (vs. Nebraska, March 6; vs. UC Riverside, March 9).
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
UCLA has won four games in 'walk-off' fashion, going 5-11 when tied or trailing after eight innings (3-0 when tied after eight). The Bruins' most thrilling win came in a 2-1 decision over USC (May 16). Trailing 1-0 with nobody on base and two outs, Brett Krill singled before Cody Keefer belted a two-run walk-off homer, helping the Bruins sweep USC. In a Pac-10 opener at Arizona (April 23), UCLA tied the game 2-2 with two outs in the top of the ninth before winning, 6-3, with a four-run 10th inning. Most recently, UCLA scored three runs with two outs on back-to-back 0-and-2 counts in a series opener at California (May 21) and held on in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 Pac-10 victory.
In Pac-10 Conference games over the last five seasons (2006-10), UCLA ranks second in both wins (71) and winning percentage (.582). Overall, the Bruins rank fourth in winning percentage (.582) and total wins (167) among Pac-10 teams. UCLA has finished third in the Pac-10 Conference each of the last four seasons.