UCLA Baseball Travels To No. 23 Pepperdine Tuesday

March 6, 2006

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Game Data: UCLA at No. 23/24 Pepperdine - Eddy D. Field Stadium, Tuesday, March 7 at 2 p.m., Brian Schroeder, LHP (2-0, 3.38) vs. James Johnson, RHP (0-1, 5.94)

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (9-9) takes its four-game road winning streak against ranked opponents to Malibu, Calif., in a matchup against the No. 23/24 Pepperdine Waves (9-9) on Tuesday, March 7 at 2 p.m. The Bruins look to beat Pepperdine for the second time this season, and will try to win five-straight road games for the first time in six years.

NC State Recap: UCLA traveled to Raleigh, N.C., to face No. 17/18 NC State last weekend and returned home with its first three-game series road sweep since the 2000 season. The Bruins topped the Wolfpack 7-2 in the first game of the series on Friday, hung on for a 5-4 win on Saturday, and secured the series sweep with a 13-2 pounding of NC State on Sunday.

About the Waves: The Pepperdine University Waves enter Tuesday's matchup with a 9-9 record, a No. 23 national ranking by Baseball America, and a No. 24 ranking by Collegiate Baseball. Pepperdine is coming off a win over San Diego State on Sunday, 11-7, to snap a three-game losing streak and avoid getting swept by the Aztecs on the road. As a team, Pepperdine hits .268 (166-619) with six home runs, 82 RBI, 90 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases in 29 attempts. The Wave pitching staff owns a 4.43 team ERA with 113 strikeouts in 156.1 innings pitched, while holding opponents to a .299 batting average. The Waves are led by third-year head coach Steve Rodriguez.

The Pepperdine-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, UCLA owns 33-23-3 series advantage over the Waves. These two teams faced two weeks ago at Jackie Robinson Stadium, with the Bruins shutting out the Waves for a 2-0 victory. Before this season, the two teams had not faced each other since the 2004 season when the Bruin swept the Waves in a home-and-home series. UCLA has won the last four straight in the series and is 7-2 versus Pepperdine since the 2000 season.

Day Games: UCLA is currently 7-4 on the season when playing during the day, including a 5-3 mark in pre-dusk contests on the road.

Road Warriors: UCLA ends its season-long seven-game road swing at Pepperdine on Tuesday, posting a 4-2 record thus far. Ironically, all seven of the games in the nearly two-week long road trip have been against ranked opponents. The Bruins dropped two games at No. 9 Cal State Fullerton, won for the first time since 1995 at Blair Field over No. 15 Long Beach State, and completed a sweep of No. 17 NC State to ensure a winning record on the road swing. UCLA is currently 6-3 on the road this season.

No Cupcakes: Tuesday's game will mark the ninth-consecutive game the Bruins have played against ranked competition and the 15th (out of 19) game this season in which UCLA has faced a ranked team. The Bruins will also add three more games against ranked opposition when they play No. 19 Ole Miss in a three-game series at Jackie Robinson this weekend. So far this season, UCLA is 7-7 against nationally ranked teams.

Good Deal: UCLA ended a road winning drought with a 13-2 shellacking of No. 17 NC State on Sunday. Sunday's win clinched UCLA's first three-game series road sweep since the 2000 season, when the Bruins swept Washington State in Pullman, Wash. (4/23-4/25)

Home Wreckers: The Bruins are becoming a pain in the sides of opponents (which is a very good thing) away from Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA did something last Tuesday night that no UCLA team had done in 11 years - beat Long Beach State at Blair Field. Not only was it the Bruins' first win over the Dirtbags at Blair Field since 1995, it was also Long Beach State's first home loss of the season after winning five-straight. The Bruins followed that up by handing NC State its first home loss of the season on Friday, as the Wolfpack entered that game 8-0. With Sunday's sweep, NC State lost three-straight home games for the first time in two years.

.500: The Bruins' sweep of NC State this past weekend put UCLA at the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 9-9 record.

Winning Streak: UCLA has put together a season-best four-game winning streak during the past week. Prior to last week, the Bruins had only won back-to-back games at Pacific, and had not posted a four-game winning streak in over a year.

Pitching Prowess: UCLA faced a daunting task this past weekend at shutting down a high-powered NC State offense at Doak Field. The Wolfpack offense that entered last week batting .387 (195-504) as a team with 16 home runs, 42 doubles, 152 RBI, 171 runs scored (in 14 games), a slugging percentage of .585, and an on-base percentage of .498. Despite the numbers, the Bruin pitching staff held NC State in check - and then some. NC State was averaging 12 runs a game before playing UCLA, but Bruin pitching held the Wolfpack to just eight total runs the entire three-game series. NC State also batted just .269 (28-104) for the weekend against UCLA.

Tough Dealers: UCLA pitching was at its best this past week, leading the way to a 4-0 record on the road. In the four games, Bruin arms owned a team ERA of 2.50, allowing just 10 earned runs with 29 strikeouts in 36.0 innings, holding opponents to a .246 batting average. On the season, UCLA is currently third in the Pac-10 with a 3.45 team ERA, and second in the conference with a .244 opposing batting average.

Hitting Streaks Beware: UCLA pitching can take credit for ending two prolific hitting streaks so far this season. On Sunday, junior Tyson Brummett and freshman Robert Dickmann ended NC State third baseman Matt Mangini's 16-game hit streak. Mangini went 0-3 against Brummett with two strikeouts, and 0-1 against Dickmann with a ground out. Earlier in the season (Feb. 4), junior Dave Huff ended Fresno State shortstop Christian Vitter's 17-game hit streak as he went 0-4 on the day with two strikeouts.

The Great Mangini?: There is no doubt that NC State third baseman Matt Mangini is a stud on the baseball field, but he certainly ran into some trouble against UCLA pitching. Mangini entered the series with UCLA batting .673 (37-55) with four home runs, 30 RBI, and 20 runs scored. Against the Bruins, Mangini went 2-for-11 (.182) at the plate with two RBI, one run scored, and no extra base hits. He left the series against UCLA batting a very respectable .574.

The Bigger They Are: On Sunday, UCLA faced Wolfpack starter Andrew Brackman, a 6-foot-10 sophomore right hander who also starts at forward for the NC State men's basketball team. The Bruins posted five runs on Brackman in 2.1 innings on four doubles and two home runs, as the Wolfpack lost for the first time in a game that Brackman had pitched in.

Winning The Close Ones: UCLA was involved in its first one-run ball game on Saturday, and came out with a 5-4 win over NC State. Prior to that game, the Bruins were 1-4 in games decided by two runs.

Offensive Explosion: Sunday's 13-2 win over NC State provided season highs in many offensive statistical categories for the Bruins. UCLA scored a season-best 13 runs, collected a season-high 18 hits, as five different players homered, and four different players combined to hit five doubles to collect 13 RBI.

Home Run Bug: The UCLA bats blasted nine home runs this past week (four games), doubling the team number for dongs entering last Tuesday's game against Long Beach State (14 games). 10 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with five players already owning two-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 2, Decker 2, Jensen 4, McMillan 2, Stewart 3). UCLA is currently second in the Pac-10 with 18 home runs, trailing only Washington at 25.

Silent But Deadly: Senior Chris Jensen had a huge week for the Bruins, helping UCLA go 4-0 against ranked teams in the process. For the week, Jensen hit .375 (6-16) with two home runs, two doubles, 10 RBI, and five runs scored. On the season, Jensen is batting .296 (21-71) with four home runs and 14 RBI. Jensen also has a team-best four multi-RBI games.

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman Brandon Crawford is steadily becoming one of UCLA's most consistent players both offensively and defensively. In his last four games, Crawford is hitting .421 (8-19) with a home run, a triple, two doubles, three RBI, and six runs scored. He was also perfect in the field at shortstop, registering six putouts and five assists in 11 chances. On the season, Crawford leads UCLA with a .361 batting average, a team-best 26 hits, a team-high four stolen bases, and leads the Pac-10 with four triples. He also owns a team-best eight-multi hit games.

Straight Dealin': Junior Hector Ambriz led UCLA both on the mound and at the plate this past week. For the week, Ambriz went 5-for-12 (.417) with two home runs, six RBI, and two runs scored. On Tuesday at Long Beach State, Ambriz notched his first save of the season pitching a perfect ninth with two strikeouts. On Friday at NC State, he tossed 6.2 innings allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts to earn the win. Ambriz is currently second on the squad with a .333 (16-48) batting average.

Mr. Tuesday: Junior Brian Schroeder has proven to be a very valuable commodity in the UCLA pitching rotation. As the Bruins' Tuesday starter, Schroeder is 2-0 in three starts with a 2.45 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 18 innings, becoming the first Bruin to win multiple games this season. In the first game against Pepperdine, Schroeder earned his first victory of the year throwing 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Bailamos: Junior Paul Oseguera has become a valuable arm out of the bullpen for the Bruins. Against Long Beach State in the bottom of the eighth inning, Oseguera came in the game to record a crucial double-play to end a Dirtbag scoring threat. At NC State, Oseguera was virtually untouchable against the Wolfpack. On Friday, he tossed 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four to record his first save of the season. On Saturday, he worked 0.2 innings in the bottom of the ninth recording two strikeouts to earn his second-consecutive save.

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: The Bruins will return home to host No. 19 Ole Miss for a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium beginning Friday, March 10.

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