UCLA Baseball Prepares for Waseda Univ., Cal State Fullerton

Feb. 22, 2006

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Game Data:
UCLA vs. Waseda University - Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., Robert Dickmann (0-0)

UCLA vs. No. 9/14 Cal State Fullerton - Friday, Feb. 24, Jackie Robinson Stadium at 6 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (1-2, 5.17) vs. Wes Roemer, RHP (2-0, 1.71)

UCLA vs. No. 9/14 Cal State Fullerton - Saturday, Feb. 25, Goodwin Field at 6 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (1-1, 1.61) vs. Lauren Gagnier, RHP (2-1, 3.98)

UCLA vs. No. 9/14 Cal State Fullerton - Sunday, Feb. 26, Goodwin Field at 1 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (1-2, 4.05) vs. Dustin Miller, RHP (1-1, 4.50)

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (5-6) will host Waseda University of Tokyo, Japan on Thursday, Feb. 23 in an exhibition game at Jackie Robinson Stadium scheduled for 6 p.m. The Bruins will then host the No. 9/14 Cal State Fullerton Titans on Friday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m., before playing at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Pepperdine Recap: The UCLA baseball team used some timely hitting and clutch pitching to earn a 2-0 win over No. 9 Pepperdine on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Junior Brian Schroeder (1-0) earned his first victory of the year throwing 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Senior Josh Roenicke pitched 2.0 innings of solid relief work with three strikeouts, and junior Brant Rustich pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to earn his second save of the season. Freshman Brandon Crawford led the Bruins with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with a RBI single and a stolen base.

About Waseda University: Waseda University, from Tokyo, Japan, was the first Japanese baseball team to visit the United States in 1905. Waseda dropped a 6-2 decision to Cal State Fullerton in an exhibition game on Monday night, and plays the USC Trojans in an exhibition game on Wednesday before facing the Bruins on Thursday.

About the Titans: The Cal State Fullerton Titans enter the weekend's matchup with a 5-4 overall record, a No. 9 ranking by Baseball America, and a No. 14 ranking by Collegiate Baseball. The Titans were on a five-game winning streak before dropping their final game of a three-game series with UC Irvine on Sunday, 7-4, at Goodwin Field. Cal State Fullerton is 1-3 on the road so far this season. As a team, the Titans hit .311 (96-309) with three home runs, 51 RBI, 56 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Cal State Fullerton has seven players hitting over .300, led by freshman David Cooper at .478 (11-23). The Titan pitching staff owns a 3.26 team ERA with 64 strikeouts in 80.0 innings pitched, and have held opponents to a .221 batting average. Head coach George Horton is in his 10th season at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton baseball program.

The Cal State Fullerton-UCLA Series: Since 1975, Cal State Fullerton owns a 22-43-2 series advantage over the Bruins. The Titans swept a home-and-home series from UCLA last season, after being swept in a home-and-home series by the Bruins in 2004. Since the 2000 season, UCLA is 3-10 versus Cal State Fullerton.

Come Check It Out: Fans got their first look at a new and improved Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday. Over 1,000 pro-style stadium individual seats have been installed at JRS in place of the old bleacher-style seats, creating a new comfort for fans to enjoy while watching their Bruins play.

Pitching Prowess: UCLA has won three of its last four games thanks to some exceptional pitching on the mound. In the Bruins' last four contests, the UCLA pitching staff owns a 1.29 team ERA, notching a shutout, two saves, and 39 strikeouts in 35.0 innings pitched. UCLA has only allowed six runs over the past four games, and has limited hitters to a .171 batting average. Through 11 games this season, UCLA owns a 3.12 team ERA, which is currently tops in the Pac-10 Conference.

Four Hole: After a one-game absence from the No. 4 spot in the batting order, junior Hector Ambriz has responded with some force as the clean up hitter in the last four games. Ambriz is hitting .500 (6-12) with a double, four runs scored, and a .583 on-base percentage. Ambriz was hitting .100 entering last weekend's Pacific series, but has lifted his batting average to .321 on the season.

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman shortstop Brandon Crawford clutched up against Pepperdine, giving the Bruins a two-run cushion in the bottom of the seventh inning with a RBI single. Crawford went 2-for-4 in the game to record his team-leading fifth multi-hit game of the season, and also stretched his team-best hitting streak to nine games.

Stormin' Norman: Senior Anthony Norman has been a solid addition to the Bruin lineup over the past week. In three starts, Norman is hitting .400 (4-10) at the plate with a RBI and has recorded two multi-hit games in the process.

Renaissance Roenicke: Senior Josh Roenicke has emerged as a consistent contributor for the Bruins both on the mound and in the outfield. Roenicke has started the last two games in centerfield, collecting a base hit in the ninth inning of Sunday's game at Pacific, and producing the first run to score in Tuesday's game against Pepperdine. Against the Waves, Roenicke came in from center field to relieve starter Brian Schroeder in the seventh inning and recorded a crucial strikeout with the bases loaded to end a Pepperdine scoring threat, as he finished with three Ks in 2.0 innings of solid relief work.

Huffin' and Puffin': Junior Dave Huff earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball, the publication announced Monday. Huff, a left-hander from Huntington Beach, Calif., was recognized for his dominant pitching performance against Pacific on Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader with the Tigers. Huff threw a gem for the Bruins, going 8.0 innings with a season-high 15 strikeouts, allowing just one run on two hits to earn his first win of the season. He opened the game in impressive fashion by striking out the first nine batters he faced in a row. On the season, Huff is 1-1 with a team-best 1.61 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched (3 starts).

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 travel to Long Beach State to take on the Dirtbags on Tuesday, Feb. 28 for a 6 p.m. game at Blair Field. The Bruins will then travel to Raleigh, N.C., for a three-game series with North Carolina State beginning Friday, March 3.

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