UCLA Takes 5-Game Winning Streak to UC Riverside Tuesday

March 27, 2006

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Game Data:

UCLA at UC Riverside - Riverside Sports Complex, March 28 at 5 p.m., Brian Schroeder, LHP (3-1, 4.40) vs. Pat Cassa, LHP (1-0, 1.95)

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (15-11) returns to the diamond after a week off to take on UC Riverside (14-9) on Tuesday, March 28 at the Riverside Sports Complex. The Bruins will look to extend their season-best five game winning streak.

San Diego State Recap: UCLA earned its first three-game series sweep at home in five years with three wins over the visiting San Diego State Aztecs. The Bruins out scored the Aztecs 35-9 in the series to extend its season-long winning streak to five games. The Bruins had this past week off for winter quarter final exams.

About the Highlanders: The UC Riverside Highlanders enter Tuesday's game with a 14-9 overall record and are in the middle of an 11-game home stand. UC Riverside has won its last four-straight games, including six of its last seven at home, and own a 9-4 mark at the Riverside Sports Complex so far this season. As a team, the Highlanders hit .292 (227-778) at the plate with 11 home runs, 116 RBI, 130 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases in 53 attempts. The UCR pitching staff owns a 3.20 team ERA with 169 strikeouts in 208.0 innings of work while allowing a .262 opponent batting average. Head Coach Doug Smith is in his second year at the helm of the Highlander program.

We Meet Again: UCLA and UC Riverside will play for the second time this season on Tuesday. The Highlanders dealt the Bruins a 'heartbreaking' 6-4 loss on Valentine's Day this year in the first matchup in what was a strange and wacky game.

The UC Riverside-UCLA Series: Since the 1975 season, UCLA owns a 7-6 series advantage over the Highlanders. These two teams met twice last season with each team winning at home. The Bruins pounded UCR 17-0 at home on Feb. 8, but dropped a 3-2 decision at UC Riverside on May 24.

Rank This: 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season have been against nationally ranked opposition, with a streak of 12-consecutive games versus ranked opponents once in effect. UCLA is 9-9 against ranked opposition on the season.

Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranked in this week at No. 17 in the national RPI rankings, with a sixth-ranked strength of schedule.

Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 14-3 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 10-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 14-3 this season when recording eight or more hits in a game.

Taking It Off: Don't look if you can't handle it: the UCLA baseball team is streaking. The Bruins are currently riding a season-high five game winning streak entering Tuesday's game at UC Riverside. UCLA has won 10 of its last 12 games, and has not won five-straight games in two years.

Home Run Tear: The Bruins have been on a torrid long-ball pace, cracking jacks in 13-consecutive games. In that 13-game span, UCLA has nailed 23 home runs, upping its season total to 31, good for second in the Pac-10 Conference. The Bruins have already topped last year's season total for home runs, 21, by 10 in half the number of games. 13 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with nine players already owning two-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 3, Babineau 2, Crawford 2, Decker 2, Jensen 4, McMillan 5, Smith 3, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 2). UCLA is 13-4 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.

Mashing: In UCLA's last 12 games, the Bruins are batting .304 as a team at the plate with 22 home runs, 29 doubles, four triples, 95 RBI, and 103 runs scored, out scoring the opposition 103-40.

Shoving It: In the last 12 games, UCLA pitching has been on point. The Bruin hurlers own a 3.11 team ERA with a 10-2 record, with 104 strikeouts in 107.0 innings pitched, while holding the opposition to a .237 batting average.

K-razy: Bruin arms are averaging 9.7 strikeouts per game in the last nine games for a total of 87 Ks in 80 innings. UCLA has totaled double-digit strikeout marks in five of the last nine games (12, 12, 11, 12, 11) and had a streak of four-straight games with double-digit strikeouts at one time.

Good D: UCLA defense has been superb this year as the Bruins currently rank No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .976 fielding percentage.

En Fuego: UCLA had its biggest offense week of the season last week against UNLV and San Diego State. In four games, the Bruins hit .352 (51-145) with eight home runs, 12 doubles, two triples, 47 RBI, 51 runs scored, a .641 slugging percentage and a .454 on-base percentage. The Bruin pitching wasn't too shabby either, posting a 2.75 ERA and limiting opponents to a .231 batting average. UCLA outscored UNLV and San Diego State 51-11.

Ambriz Honored, Again: UCLA junior right-handed pitcher and designated hitter Hector Ambriz was named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week for March 14-20, Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen announced last week.

Ambriz, from Placentia, Calif., received his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor after helping the Bruins notch a win over UNLV and earn their first three-game series sweep at home since 2001 with three wins over San Diego State. For the week, Ambriz hit .643 (9-14) at the plate with a home run, three doubles, 10 RBI, and six runs scored. The Placentia, Calif., native collected multiple hits in each of the four games raising his batting average from .365 entering the week to a team-leading .405 average on the season.

Against UNLV on Tuesday, Ambriz went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, a RBI single, and a run scored.

In game one against San Diego State, Ambriz went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI while tossing 8.0 innings with eight strikeouts to earn the win. Ambriz held the Aztecs to just one run on seven hits with two walks for his fourth win of the season.

In the second game of the series with the Aztecs on Saturday, Ambriz led the way with a 2-for-2 performance at the plate with a home run, his third of the season, two walks and a career-high tying four RBI. Ambriz continued his torrid pace in the final game of the series against San Diego State, hitting 2-for-5 in the game with a two-run double.

On the season, Ambriz is hitting .405 (30-74) with three home runs, five doubles, a team-high 20 RBI, and 15 runs scored. As UCLA's Friday night hurler, Ambriz owns a 4-3 record with a 3.15 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 45.2 innings pitched.

Ambriz is hitting .667 (12-18) in his last five games, and is 3-0 with a save in his last four appearances, with a 1.52 ERA, and 24 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched.

Ambriz earned his second Pac-10 honor of the season after being named the conference's Pitcher of the Week last week. This is the third week in a row a Bruin has earned Pac-10 recognition, and the 44th all-time (Player of the Week) honor for UCLA.

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman Brandon Crawford is also on fire. The 6-2 shortstop is hitting .538 (7-13) in the last four games with a home run six RBI and five runs scored.

Mr. Smith: Senior second baseman Sean Smith has been swinging the stick as of late. Smith is hitting .533 (8-15) in his last eight games with a home run, a triple, three doubles, seven RBI and seven runs scored.

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 Seattle, Wash., to take on the Washington Huskies and open Pacific-10 Conference competition with at three-game series beginning Friday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.

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