Baseball Heads to San Diego State For Midweek Non-Conference Action
April 19, 2005
UCLA (8-24) at San Diego State (10-24)
Tuesday, April 19 - Tony Gwynn Stadium - 6 PM
LF Will Penniall (5-11, 180, S/R, So.)
SS Tommy Lansdon (6-0, 165, R/R/ So.)
DH Hector Ambriz (6-2, 210, L/R, So.)
1B Brett McMillan (6-5, 225, L/R, Jr.)
C Matt Sharp (6-0, 205, L/R, Sr.)
2B Sean Carpenter (6-0, 170, R/R, Jr.)
RF Anthony Norman (6-0, 180, L/L, Jr.)
CF Josh Roenicke (6-3, 185, R/R, Jr.)
3B Eric Taylor (6-1, 200, R/R, Sr.)
Tues. Paul Oseguera (0-0, 11.57 ERA, 1 Sv) TBA
Leading Off: The Bruins continue their road-heavy April this week with a midweek non-conference game at San Diego State on Tuesday and a three-game Pac-10 series at No. 21 Arizona State this weekend. The game against the Aztecs was not originally on UCLA’s schedule but was added in March to make up for one of the two rain-cancelled games against Utah earlier in the year. UCLA is coming off another tough week in which it went 1-3, but the Bruins did manage to snap their 19-game losing streak with a hard fought 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara last Saturday.
This Week on the Radio: UCLA will not carry any of its games this week on the radio, however fans in the Phoenix area can listen to all three games against ASU on KDUS 1060 AM or purchase a subscription to ASU’s internet broadcasts on Yahoo! Saturday’s game will be televised locally by AZ-TV. All three games will be available on GameTracker via uclaBruins.com.
A Look at Last Week: UCLA lost three of four games last week to LMU and UC Santa Barbara but more importantly the Bruins were able to snap their school-record 19-game losing streak. After falling to LMU, 4-2 on Tuesday at George Page Stadium, UCLA met the Gauchos for a non-conference three-game series. UCSB used two big innings to get by UCLA, 9-4 on Friday but behind junior Chris Jensen's 4-for-5, four-RBI performance on Saturday, the Bruins edged the Gauchos 9-8 for their first win since February 25. Jensen slugged a three-run home run and was a triple short of the cycle on Saturday in just his second start and fourth game of the season. On Sunday, UCLA’s ninth inning rally fell just short as UCSB closer Alex McRobbie shut the door on UCSB’s 4-3 win. UCLA scored twice in the ninth and has the potential tying run on second when Tommy Lansdon flew out to end the game.
Bruins and Aztecs: UCLA and San Diego State will be meeting for the 47th time since 1975 when the schools do battle Tuesday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. In 2004, the Aztecs defeated the Bruins 5-1 in non-conference action. UCLA holds an all-time 27-19 advantage over San Diego State but last year’s meeting was the first since 2001.
About Paul Oseguera: Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Paul Oseguera, will be making his first career start and just his fourth career appearance. A junior, Oseguera has battled back from three successive injuries dating back to his senior year in high school just to be able to take the mound in 2005. Oseguera underwent Tommy John surgery prior to his freshman year at UCLA, then was sidelined as a sophomore after more surgery to remove scar tissue and then broke his collar bone last summer prior to this season’s fall practice. He made his collegiate debut with a scoreless 1.2 innings pitched on March 6 against Cal State Fullerton. He earned his first career save last Saturday in UCLA’s 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara.
Back to the Pac - UCLA at ASU: After taking a weekend off from Pac-10 play, UCLA will be returning to conference action this weekend at No. 21 Arizona State. The red-hot Sun Devils are fresh off a weekend sweep of No. 15 Stanford and are 12-3 in their last 15. ASU will enter the series at 25-15 and 6-3 in Pac-10 play. UCLA is currently 0-6 in conference action.
Hector’s High Honors: All-America candidate Hector Ambriz has lived up to his billing so far this season. The sophomore, one of several players added to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List in March, is leading UCLA on the mound and at the plate. Ambriz is batting a team high .333 with 33 hits and has posted a team-best 4.14 ERA through ten starts. He is averaging exactly six innings per start while also contributing eight multi-hit games at the plate. His .450 on-base percentage also tops the squad. However, in his last 11 games since returning from a mild knee sprain, Ambriz is batting just .250 with just one extra base hit.
Beck-oning for a W: UCLA senior right-hander Bryan Beck has fallen to an undeserving 0-6 this season after coming into the year with a 5-5 career mark. Beck has lasted at least six innings in six of his eight starts this season including the last five in a row. In those five outings, Beck has allowed just nine runs combined throughout the first five innings. His overall ERA of 5.44 is fourth and his innings pitched mark (49.2) and strikeouts (33) are second.
Tell Me About the Aztecs: San Diego State, like UCLA, has struggled early in 2005. Under third-year head coach Tony Gwynn, SDSU is 10-24 and has lost four of its last five. Earlier in the year, the Aztecs suffered a nine-game losing streak. The Aztecs are batting .297 as a team but opponents are batting a bit better at .298. Quinitin Berry, James Guerrero, Jake McLintock and Lance Zawardi are all hitting over .300 while Guerrero and McClintock are tied for the team lead with 23 RBI.
The Red Hot Sun Devils: Arizona State will enter this weekend’s three-game series with a 25-15 record and are winners of 12 of their last 15. The Sun Devils most recently completed a three-game sweep of No. 15 Stanford at home last weekend. ASU’s team batting average of .310 is third best in the conference. Seven of ASU’s nine starters are batting over .300, led by Seth Dhaenens’ .371 clip and Jeff Larish’s 14 home runs. Erik Averill, the Sun Devils’ projected Friday starter, is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA and Jason Urquidez and Pat Breshnehan, ASU’s Saturday and Sunday starters, are a combined 8-6.
Bullpen Blues: While opponents’ bullpens have posted a measly 2.66 ERA against UCLA this season, the Bruins’ relief core has not fared so well. Bruins out of the bullpen have posted a 6.81 ERA against a 5.19 ERA by UCLA starters. However, Bruin relievers have been on call quite a bit this season, averaging just under 3.2 innings of work per game.
No Repeat: The last time UCLA opened Pac-10 play with a sub-.500 record was in 2002. In that season, UCLA entered conference action against California with a 13-17 mark and ultimately finished 26-35 (9-15).
CJ Is Back: Junior outfielder Chris Jensen, who had been sidelined since opening day with a hamstring injury, made his full time return to the UCLA lineup last week and broke out in a big way. Jensen batted .500 (7-for-14) with a three runs scored, a double, a home run and four RBI in the Bruins’ four games last week. Against UCSB last Saturday, Jensen guided the Bruins to their first win in 20 games with a 4-for-5 day at the plate and was just a triple short of the cycle. Jensen struck out in his first at-bat of the year, a pinch-hit appearance on opening day, and then struck out in his second at-bat, another pinch-hitting appearance on April 12 against LMU. In his three games as a starter, Jensen his 7-for-12 (.580).
Will the Thrill: UCLA had no clear lead off hitter entering the season but sophomore Will Penniall has accepted the role with open arms. The left fielder is hitting .291, leads the team with three triples and has reached base in 20 of 50 lead off at-bats (.400). The sophomore from La Canada also leads the Bruins with ten stolen bases in 12 attempts. Penniall has also displayed finesse in left field as he has posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 48 putouts through 32 games played. Penniall also leads the team with 11 multi hit games.
B-Mac Attack: Junior first baseman Brett McMillan leads UCLA with 19 RBI. The interesting part about that number is that 12 of those RBI have come from just three games. McMillan has posted an unprecedented three, four-RBI performances with half of the season left to play. McMillan first did it against Cal State Northridge on February 13 and then blasted grand slams against Pacific (2/25) and Texas A&M (3/11). He picked up the game-winning RBI in UCLA’s streak-breaking 9-8 win over UC Santa Barbara on April 16.
That Kid From Goleta: Sophomore transfer Tommy Lansdon has overcome a shaky start at UCLA and welcomed his position as the Bruins’ starting shortstop. The former Oxnard CC infielder from Goleta, California, is fourth on the squad with a .290 batting average and launched his first career home run on April 1 against Arizona. Lansdon has committed just one error in his last nine games.
I Feel The Need... The Need For Speed: UCLA is 35 of 45 in stolen base attempts and the Bruins’ stolen base percentage of 77 is tied for first in the Pac-10 conference. Heading into this week, UCLA has stolen nine consecutive bases without being thrown out. Before the Bruins had three straight runners thrown out (one per game on 4/1, 4/5, and 4/9), UCLA had stolen 11 consecutive bags. UCLA has stolen third base 11 times.
Early Birds: The Bruins have scored in the first inning in 11 of 32 games this season and have posted a total 22 runs in that first frame. In fact, UCLA is outscoring its opponents 59-47 in the first three innings but then begin to fall off. From the fourth inning on, UCLA is being outscored 161-78 including a 49-18 disparity in the fifth inning alone.
UCLA adds Two Games to 2005 Baseball Schedule: UCLA has added two games to its 2005 schedule to make up for cancelled contests against Utah earlier in the season. The Bruins will travel to San Diego State on April 19 and will host the University of San Diego on May 3. Both contests are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Hector Ambriz Added to Brooks Wallace Award Watch List: UCLA sophomore right-handed pitcher and designated hitter Hector Ambriz has been added to the 2005 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, the College Baseball Foundation announced March 8. Ambriz was among 38 players added to the revised watch list after the initial list was released prior to the 2005 season. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Cal State Fullerton’s Kurt Suzuki was the winner of the 2004 award.
Adam Simon Placed On Stopper of the Year Watch List: UCLA right-hander Adam Simon was named to the initial watch list for the inaugural National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced on February 23. Joining Simon on the list are UC Irvine’s pre-season All-American Blair Erickson and South Carolina’s Chad Blackwell, who finished 2004 with 17 and 20 saves, respectively. The 2005 watch list represents 15 conferences, led by three players from each of the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic-10, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Southern conferences. California’s Matt Swanson and Arizona State’s Zechry Zinicola join Simon as the Pac-10 Conference’s other two selections. Finalists for the award will be announced on Wednesday June 1 and the NCBWA Stopper of the Year will be named on Wednesday, June 8.
Rustich Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Sophomore right-hander Brant Rustich was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for the week of February 8-14, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday, February 15. Rustich, from El Cajon, Calif., was masterful on Feb. 13 against Cal State Northridge as he picked up his first win of the season with a complete game performance, allowing just one unearned run. Rustich struck out eight and needed just 113 pitches en route to his first career complete game. He got stronger as the game progressed, retiring seven of the last nine batters he faced. The right-hander was not scheduled to pitch in the game because of a rainout two days earlier, but due to Bryan Beck’s sore pitching shoulder, Rustich was reinserted into the starting slot. Rustich lowered his season ERA over two full runs down to 2.08. Opposing hitters are now batting a meager .197 against him. The Pitcher of the Week honor is the first ever for Rustich and the 37th selection all-time for UCLA.
Ambriz, Denove, Page and Rustich Noted by Baseball America: UCLA junior catcher Chris Denove was noted by Baseball America as the best defensive catcher in the Pac-10 when the publication released its annual conference preview on January 11. The Agoura Hills native was also listed as having the best arm of all Pac-10 backstops. The magazine also tabbed sophomore pitchers Brant Rustich and Hector Ambriz as the No. 28 and No. 33 best sophomores in the nation, respectively, as part of its “Fab 50” baseball preview. Rustich was a 46th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 2003. Baseball America also awarded the Pac-10 the No. 2 conference power ranking, essentially naming the conference the second most competitive in the nation. UCLA has been picked to finish sixth the publication’s preseason poll, behind nationally ranked teams Stanford (6), Washington (8), Arizona State (9), Arizona (12) and USC (30). More recently, redshirt sophomore Jarrad Page and Ambriz were listed as the No. 71 and 80 top college players eligible for the 2005 draft. The magazine also noted several future Bruins, John Drennen (#26), Tim Murphy (#62), Ryan Babineau (#73) and Brian Kirwan (#77) - who are all members of UCLA’s 2005 signing class, as four of the Top-100 High School Prospects of 2005.
Recruiting Class Ranked Third Best In The Nation: Head Coach John Savage’s first recruiting class at UCLA has been ranked third best in the country by Rivals.com, a national recruiting agency. The Bruins’ 2006 class of 12 signees includes three infielders, three outfielders, a catcher and six pitchers (three left-handers). Several players play multiple positions. Perhaps the two biggest names among the 12 signees are national prospects shortstop Brandon Crawford and outfielder Johnny Drennen III. Three members of the class, Drennen (#22), Tim Murphy (#53) and Brian Kirwan (#79) have been listed as top-100 high school recruits by Baseball America and Perfect Game USA, a national recruiting agency. Ten of the players have been nationally ranked in the top 50 by TeamOne Baseball and Rivals.com. The complete 2006 signing class includes Corey Ashner, Ryan Babineau, Tyson Brummett, Crawford, Robert Dickmann, Drennen, Blair Dunlap, Brian Kirwan, Tim Murphy, Eddie Murray, Jason Novak and Andy Suiter.
School Record 10 Bruins Sign Professional Contracts After 2004: When 22nd round draft pick Kyle Wilson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2004, the Bruins 2004 college-to-pro class officially became the largest in school history. Joining free agent Preston Griffin and eight other drafted Bruins, Wilson became the 10th player from UCLA’s 2004 squad to sign a professional contract. In 2000, UCLA boasted an NCAA record 12 draftees, but only nine players went on to sign with their respective clubs. In addition to Wilson and Griffin, the eight other Bruin signees were (in order of draft selection): Wes Whisler, Casey Janssen, Bill Susdorf, Ryan McCarthy, David Johnson, Brandon Averill, Mike Svetlic and Matt Thayer. Bruins 2004 college-to-pro class officially became the largest in school history. Joining free agent Preston Griffin and eight other drafted Bruins, Wilson became the 10th player from UCLA’s 2004 squad to sign a professional contract.
Bruins Capture 2,000th All-Time Win: The Bruins’ regular season-ending victory against Oregon State on May 30, 2004, was not just the precursor to UCLA’s first post-season win in four years, more notably it marked the university’s 2,000 win all-time. Fittingly, it was UCLA junior Wes Whisler, who ranks among the career top ten at UCLA appearances and was eventually a 2nd round draft selection, who picked up the milestone 11-6 victory. UCLA went on to go 2-2 at the NCAA Regional in Oklahoma City that season and enter 2005 with 2,002 total wins under its belt.
UCLA Among Top-10 In Producing Major League Talent: In 2004, UCLA had ten former players in the major league ranks - that’s the fifth most by any school in the country. Only Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton (11), Stanford (12) and USC (14) had more alums playing in the bigs last season. The former Bruins playing Major League Baseball in 2004 ranged from 1986 team members like Todd Zeile (NY Mets) to 2000 team member Garrett Atkins (Colorado). The other eight former Bruins in the majors last year were Eric Byrnes (Oakland), Jeff Conine (Florida), Troy Glaus (Anaheim), Eric Karros (Oakland), Adam Melhuse (Oakland), Dave Roberts (Boston), Chase Utley (Philadelphia) and Eric Valent (NY Mets).