Bruins Host USC In Non-Conference Series

Feb. 21, 2002

This Week:
Friday, February 22, UCLA vs. USC, 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 23, UCLA vs. USC, 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 24 UCLA vs. USC, 1:00 p.m.

Next Week:
Tuesday, February 26, UCLA vs. UCSB, 3:00 p.m.
Friday, March 1, UCLA at Tulane, 6:30 p.m. CST
Saturday, March 2, UCLA at Tulane, 2:00 p.m. CST
Sunday, March 3, UCLA at Tulane, 1:00 p.m. CST

Home Sweet Home: It's been 12 days and six games since the Bruins last played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA hosts USC in a non-conference series starting on Friday night. This series was originally scheduled to be played at USC, but the Trojans will play their first 22 games away from Dedeaux Field due to construction that is scheduled for completion in late March.

Aloha: Hello Hilo. UCLA arrived in Hilo on Tuesday night and had an easy time with Hawaii-Hilo on Wednesday night, allowing just one run in the eighth inning in the 9-1 victory. David Johnson allowed just one hit and shut out the Vulcans in 5.0 innings in his first career start. Several position players also earned their first career starts, including Chris Jensen (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Billy Susdorf (2-for-5, 3 RBI). The next morning, the Bruins drove to Kona to play the Vulcans again, and it was a similar result. UCLA held Hilo scoreless until the eighth inning behind Wes Whisler's three hit shutout in 7.0 innings. The freshman from Noblesville, IN, had five strikeouts in his first career start. Matt Thayer led the Bruins with three hits and four other Bruins had two hits each.

Aloha Part II: Goodbye Honolulu. While the Bruins found success on the big island, the Rainbows in Oahu were not as hospitable. The University of Hawaii swept UCLA in three games, with two of the losses coming in extra innings. Chris Cordeiro suffered his first loss of the season in game one of the series, allowing five runs on nine hits in 5.0 innings. The defense behind the groundball pitcher struggled with the astroturf infield, committing two errors. Down 6-2 entering the ninth, the Bruins rallied in the top of the ninth with two runs, but couldn't get any closer. Game two was a tough loss, as the game stayed close throughout. Things were all tied at the end of seven innings, with Mike Kunes allowing just one run to the Rainbows through seven. The Bruins took leads in the top of the eighth, ninth and 11th innings, but the Rainbows answered in the bottom of each inning, finally bettering the Bruins in the bottom of the 11th with the deciding run. Josh Arhart was set to be the hero, driving in two runs in the ninth and a run in the 11th that put the Bruins ahead, but the pitching couldn't stop the Bows. Ben Francisco was 3-for-5 with two runs and two stolen bases. Sunday's game was a repeat finish for the Rainbows, as things were all tied up after nine. David Johnson shut down the Rainbow offense, allowing just two hits in the final 3.1 innings of the regular nine innings, but Bryan Bock hit a walk off home run off of Mike Castillo to seal the sweep. Francisco had another spectacular performance, going 4-for-6 with three RBI and two runs, while Ryan McCarthy was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two runs.

Freshman Contributions: Several freshman are making significant contributions to this year's team already. Kevin Conlin has started 10 games at third base, and has picked up a hit in all 10 games. He's batting .368. David Johnson started his first ever game at Hilo and has shut out his opponents in the last 8.1 innings he's pitched. He has allowed just three hits in that 8.1 inning span. Redshirt freshman Matt Thayer started five games in Hawaii and took advantage of the opportunity. He's batting .367 with five runs. Wes Whisler, one of the most touted of the class, has had some dominating outings. He shut out Hilo in his first career start, allowing just three hits in 7.0 innings. He's also becoming more comfortable at the plate, picking up hits in four of his last five games. The powerful lefty is hitting .276 and has started nine games.

Adams Picks Up Win #900 As Bruins Win Series With FAU: UCLA Head Coach picked up his 900th win as the UCLA Head Coach on Sunday when the Bruins defeated Florida Atlantic to win the series. In his 28th season in Westwood, Adams has compiled a 901-730-7 record. After a disasterous 23-13 loss on Friday night, the Bruin pitching staff has been phenomenal in the last three games. Chris Cordeiro set the tone for the team, shutting out FAU in his 7.2 innings on Saturday. Mike Kunes picked up where Cordeiro left off, allowing just two earned runs in 7.0 innings, and Casey Janssen completed the turnaround on Monday when he allowed two unearned runs in 6.0 innings in the win over LMU.

Pitching 180 degree Turnaround: After the pitching disaster against FAU, the UCLA pitchers responded by dominating opponents. The Bruins allowed just 11 earned runs in the next five games, led by Chris Cordeiro's dominating outing against FAU. The sophomore was perfect going into the fifth inning, and only walked one batter in 7.2 innings. He left the game with seven strikeouts, a career-high, and allowed just four hits. The Bruin offense was not quite as successful in the Saturday FAU game, but was able to put together a string of hits to score the deciding runs. Three of the four runs were driven home by sacrifice flies. Josh Arhart was the only Bruin with more than one hit. Mike Kunes picked up where Cordeiro left off, pitching a career-high 7.0 innings and allowing just two earned runs. Casey Grzecka was 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI, and Arhart hit his first home run of the season. Casey Janssen continued the pitching trend against Loyola Marymount. The sophomore who completes the regular starting rotation allowed just two unearned runs in 6.0 innings on just six hits. He also struck out six batters. Wes Whisler had his best outing so far, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Arhart continued to be hot at the plate, finishing with three hits. Freshman Kevin Conlin was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

No More Free Passes: The Bruins combined to allow 19 free passes on base in the 23-13 loss to Florida Atlantic. 16 walks were issued and Bruin pitchers hit three batters. But after that game, the UCLA pitching staff allowed just six walks in the next 27.0 innings.

Ben Francisco Named UCLABruins.Com Student-Athlete of the Week: Junior centerfielder Ben Francisco was named UCLA athlete of the week after he batted .562 with two home runs and 9 RBI in the first four games of the season. He had a 1.062 slugging % and hit two doubles. This is his first athlete of the week honor of his career.

Bruins Win First Series: UCLA won its first series of the year against Gonzaga. The Bruins won game one behind strong pitching by Mike Kunes and Kyle Wilson. The junior lefty allowed just one earned run in 5.0 IP in his first start of the year, and the newcomer Wilson allowed just a single run to pick up the first save of his career. Casey Janssen went 3-for-4 with two RBI and the bottom three in the order all went 2-for-4. The offense was present, but the pitching struggled in Saturday's game, as the Bruins allowed 14 runs on 16 hits. Freshman David Johnson was tagged with the loss as he allowed the final four runs of the game (only two were earned). Adam Berry had a strong day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with UCLA's first home run of the season and double. Ben Francisco also gathered three hits and scored twice. Sunday's game was a different story. The Bruins were finally able to pull together the hitting and the pitching, Casey Janssen had a solid pitching performance, allowing just two runs in 5.0 IP, and Francisco had a career day at the plate. He was 4-for-4 with two home runs (a two-run shot and a grand slam) to finish with a career-high six RBI. He also had a double and scored four times.

Season Opener: The 2002 season got off to a rocky start when the Bruins fell to UC Irvine, 6-4. The pitchers looked strong, as Chris Cordeiro allowed just two earned runs and struck out five in 4.0 innings in his first career start. Mike Davern pitched the final two innings well, not allowing a hit or a walk. The Bruin offense struggled though, striking out 13 times in its first game. In seven innings, the Bruins sent the minimum three batters to the plate. Freshmen Kevin Conlin (3B) and Wes Whisler (1B) became the first freshmen to start in the opener since 1999 when Randall Shelley (1999-2001) started at the hot corner.

Alumni day: The 2002 UCLA Bruins began the season with a 7-0 win over the UCLA Pros at the annual Alumni Game last Saturday. The game was scoreless after three innings, but the 2002 team erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth, including home runs by Casey Janssen and Wes Whisler.Nick Lyon, Doug Silva and Kyle Wilson combined to shutout the pros, and allowed just two hits. Wilson struck out the side in the top of the fifth to preserve the win.Jon Brandt and Tim Leary held the 2002 team scoreless in three innings, but the bats caught fire in the fourth. After Bobby Roe struck out Brandon Averill, Josh Arhart doubled down the left field line. Janssen then hit a home run to center field to give the 2002 team a 2-0 lead. After Roe got the best of his former teammate Adam Berry, freshman Whisler hit another home run to right field. Casey Grzecka (double), Ryan McCarthy (walk), Ryan Rasmussen (single), Preston Griffin (single) all scored. Matt Thayer hit a double to send the final two runs home.Participants for the Pro team were: Dave Roberts, Nick Theodorou, Adam Melhuse, Troy Glaus, Ryan McGuire, Tim DeCinces, Jack Santora, Brian Baron, Bill Scott, Eric Valent, Chase Utley, Matt Pearl, Josh Canales, Eric Reece, Brandt, Leary and Roe.Earlier in the day, current Bruin assistant coach Vince Beringhele won the home run hitting contest, hitting four out of the park. Melhuse came in second with three home runs.

Talented But Inexperienced Bruins: The Bruin roster features 21 players who are freshman or sophomores this year. Of the 10 opening day starters, six were sophomores or freshman, including two true freshman at the corners of the infield. The Bruins lost eight seniors and two juniors from the 2001 season, including their top four starting pitchers. Seven players from the 2001 roster are now playing professional baseball, including Josh Karp who was the sixth pick overall of the draft, chosen by the Montreal Expos.Of the sophomores in the opening day starting lineup, only Preston Griffin was a regular starter in 2001. Brandon Averill started 13 games at third base, but moved to left field this season, a position he has never played before. Casey Janssen played 13 games as a pitcher, but only had nine at-bats in 2001. His first one was a memorable one, hitting a two-run home run in his first career appearance. Starting pitcher Chris Cordeiro pitched just 15.1 innings in 2001, second-fewest on the team. But despite the lack of experience, the team features talented youngsters that should improve as they gain experience.

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