UCLA Baseball Prepares For Series Against Miami

Feb. 6, 2006

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Game Data:
Miami vs. UCLA - Friday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m., Hector Ambriz (0-1) vs. Carlos Gutierrez (2-0, 0.90)
Miami vs. UCLA - Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m., Dave Huff (0-1, 0.00) vs. Manny Miguelez (1-0, 2.45)
Miami vs. UCLA - Sunday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m., Tyson Brummett (1-0, 2.57) vs. Danny Gil (0-1, 3.00)

Get After It: The UCLA Bruins (1-2) host their second home series of the season this week when the Miami Hurricanes (3-2) visit Jackie Robinson Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday. The Bruins and the Hurricanes will face off for the first time since the 2002 season.

Fresno State Series Recap: UCLA opened its 2006 season last week with a three-game series at home against the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Bruins dropped the first two games of the series by scores of 11-9 and 5-0, before landing their first win of the season with a 12-2 romp over the `Dogs in the third game.

About the Hurricanes: The University of Miami Hurricanes enter this weekend's series with a 3-2 overall record. Miami was ranked as high as No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball) in the 2006 Preseason rankings. The Canes are coming off back-to-back losses (8-3, 4-3) at home to Winthrop (2-1) in a doubleheader on Sunday. This weekend's series is the first true-road series of 2006 for Miami, as the Canes will return back to the Sunshine State for 16-straight home games, and a matchup against the Florida Marlins, after their LA trip. As a team, Miami hits .341 (60-176), with six home runs, 41 RBI, 44 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases. Miami has 10 players hitting over .300, including six over .400, led by junior infielder Danny Valencia who is hitting .450 (9-20) with five RBI. Freshman infielder Yonder Alonso is hitting .421 (8-19) with a home run and a team-best nine RBI, and freshman outfielder Blake Tekotte leads the team with five stolen bases. The Canes' pitching staff owns a 3.40 ERA overall with 36 Ks in 45.0 innings of work. Sophomore RHP Carlos Gutierrez leads the staff with a 2-0 record and a 0.90 ERA, with seven strikeouts in 10.0 innings pitched. Sophomore LHP Manny Miguelez owns a 1-0 record and a 2.45 ERA with a team-best 10 strikeouts in 11.0 innings of work.

Savage vs. Miami: Head Coach John Savage will face the Miami Hurricanes for the first time in his four-year head coaching career. In fact, this series will mark the first time Savage has ever faced a team that is a currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Bruins will also face ACC foe North Carolina State later this season on the road.

The Miami-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, Miami owns a commanding 8-0 advantage over the Bruins. The last time these two teams faced off in 2002 in Miami, the Canes swept UCLA in the three-game series (8-7, 8-2, 5-1).

Weather Tested: UCLA might feel the wrath of the Hurricane's eye of the storm this weekend, but don't expect the Bruins to run for cover from some wind. UCLA is already weather tested this season after dealing with a fog out in Friday's opener. The Bruins had to endure two 30 minute fog delays to their season opener which resulted in the game being suspended and then continued on Saturday.

150 Ks: Junior Hector Ambriz reached a career milestone in his season opener start for the Bruins on Friday. The 6-2 right-hander tallied his 150th career strikeout in the first inning against the Bulldogs by striking out Kent Sakamoto. Ambriz owns three strikeouts on the season, and 152 for his career.

Immediate Impact: UCLA's roster additions for the 2006 season were noticed immediately as a total of 14 players made their debuts in Bruin Blue and Gold. A total of eight new players made their way into the starting lineup this past weekend for head coach John Savage, including freshmen Brandon Crawford at shortstop, Tim Murphy in centerfield, Ryan Babineau at catcher, Blair Dunlap in leftfield, and Eddie Murray at second base.

1-2 Starts: The last three times UCLA has started a season with a 1-2 record, the Bruins responded with a high winning percentage over the next six scheduled games of those seasons. After going 1-2 to open the season in 2001, 2002, and 2005, the Bruins went 6-0 in 2001, 5-1 in 2002, and 5-1 in 2005, in their next six games.

Silent But Deadly: Senior Chris Jensen quietly goes about his business on the baseball field, but his offensive production never goes unnoticed. In the opening series against Fresno State, the 6-2 outfielder hit .538 at the plate, tallying a team-high seven hits with a home run, two RBI, and three runs scored.

Stud Status: Talk about a debut. Freshman Tim Murphy certainly didn't cave under any pressure this past weekend in his first appearance as a collegiate baseball player. The 6-2 outfielder looked liked a seasoned veteran in his first game by hitting 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Murphy finished the weekend hitting a team-best .600 (6-10).

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman Brandon Crawford made his presence felt both at shortstop and at the plate for the Bruins. The Pleasanton, Calif. native hit .417 (5-12) with two triples, four RBI, two runs scored, and stole a team-best two bases on the weekend. Crawford also posted a team-high seven defensive assists at shortstop.

Gamer: Junior Tim Stewart set the bar as far as offensive production for the rest of the Bruins to top with his performance on Sunday. The 6-2 first baseman went 3-for-4 from the plate with a home run and five RBI, in the Bruins' win, and finished the series hitting .385 (5-13).

Adding Some POP: Five different players hit a home run for the Bruins over the weekend, numbers that are already a drastic improvement from last season. In 2005, nine Bruins combined to hit 21 home runs on the season.

Senior Leadership: The UCLA senior trio of Jensen, Sean Smith and Brett McMillan combined for a big weekend in the starting lineup. The three combined to hit .424 (14-33) with two home runs, two doubles, five RBI, and eight runs scored.

Huffin' and Puffin': Junior LHP Dave Huff was dominant in his debut start for the Bruins despite picking up the loss on Saturday. Huff tossed 7.2 innings with eight strikeouts while giving up seven hits and no earned runs. He also ended Christian Vitter's 17-game hit streak as the Fresno State shortstop went 0-4 against Huff.

Solid Sundays: If junior RHP Tyson Brummett continues to fill the third spot in the Bruins pitching rotation, UCLA can expect more solid performances from the Salem, Utah native. Brummett (1-0) made an impressive debut on the mound throwing 7.0 innings (five scoreless) with eight strikeouts, and allowing just two runs on five hits to earn the Bruins' first win of the season.

Maybe It's The Blue: After playing the first two games of the season wearing traditional all-white uniforms (both losses), the Bruins made a switch on Sunday. UCLA remained in its powder-blue pre-game jerseys for Sunday's game which resulted in a 12-2 victory for the Bruins.

Bring It: This season, UCLA isn't backing down from anyone which shows in the toughness of its schedule. The Bruins are set to play 32 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last season, with 11 teams listed in this year's preseason top-25 rankings.

UCLA will take on 12 teams that competed in the NCAA Regional Championships last year (Miami, Pepperdine, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, NC State, Ole Miss, UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Stanford, and Oregon State), and will have 18 games during the season against NCAA Super Regional participants (Miami, Cal State Fullerton, Ole Miss, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State).

The Bruins' tough schedule was noted with the No. 1 strength of schedule nod by Boyd's World, a baseball statistics internet site.

Up Next: UCLA will host UC Riverside on Tuesday, Feb. 14 for a 6 p.m. start time at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins will then travel to Stockton, Calif., for their first road trip of the year when they face the Pacific Tigers for a three-game series beginning Friday, Feb. 17.

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