UCLA Hosts Stanford For Final Home Series

May 17, 2006

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Game Data:

UCLA vs. Stanford - Jackie Robinson Stadium, May 19 at 6 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (6-6, 3.77) vs. Greg Reynolds, RHP (6-3, 3.17)

UCLA vs. Stanford - Jackie Robinson Stadium, May 20 at 2 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (6-2, 2.77) vs. TBA

UCLA vs. Stanford - Jackie Robinson Stadium, May 21 at 1 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (6-6, 4.43) vs. TBA

Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (28-21, 10-8 Pac-10) hosts the Stanford Cardinal (28-21, 10-11 Pac-10) in the final home series of the season at Jackie Robinson Stadium beginning Friday, May 19. The Bruins and the Cardinal will face off in a crucial three-game Pac-10 series with both Pac-10 standings and NCAA Tournament implications at stake.

Senior Salute: UCLA will honor nine Bruins this weekend, as seniors Scott Botterman, Sean Carpenter, Chris Jensen, Brett McMillan, Daniel Miltenberger, Anthony Norman, Josh Roenicke, Sean Smith, and Garett White will host the final three-game series of their careers at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UC Irvine Recap: UCLA rallied from an early 4-1 deficit with a five-run fifth inning to earn an 8-4 win over UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark. Junior LHP Paul Oseguera tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out six Anteaters. Junior Hector Ambriz went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored, and freshmen Brandon Crawford and Jermaine Curtis each went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Freshman Tim Murphy went 2-for-3 with a RBI double and a run scored, and Freshman Ryan Babineau went 2-for-4 with a RBI.

About the Cardinal: The Stanford University Cardinal (28-21, 10-11 Pac-10) enters weekend series as the hottest team in the Pac-10, if not the nation. Stanford enters Friday's game with a season-high seven-game win streak, winners of nine of its last 10 games, and seven of its last nine Pac-10 games. Stanford is 11-10 on the road so far this season, but has won five-straight road games. As a team, the Cardinal hits .275 (459-1667) with 31 home runs, 247 RBI, 265 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases in 40 attempts. The Stanford pitching staff owns a 4.19 team ERA with 354 strikeouts in 442.1 innings pitched while limiting opponents to a .277 batting average. Head Coach Mark Marquess is in his 30th season at the helm of the Stanford program.

The Stanford-UCLA Series: Stanford leads the all-time series with UCLA with a mark of 182-135. Since 2000, UCLA is 5-13 against Stanford, as the Bruins have not won a three-game series from the Cardinal since 1997. UCLA has not won a three-game series from Stanford at Jackie Robinson Stadium since 1996. Last year, Stanford won two-of-three from the Bruins at Sunken Diamond.

Turning Point: UCLA's season has made a change for the better since the Bruins played Long Beach State on Feb. 28. Entering that February game, UCLA was 5-9 overall and fresh off being swept in three-games by Cal State Fullerton. The Bruins knocked off the No. 15 Dirtbags (6-3) that day, and went on to sweep No. 17 NC State on the road. Since Feb. 28, UCLA is 23-12 (.657).

Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 16-4 when scoring in the first inning, and 19-6 when scoring before the opposition in a game. UCLA is 9-15 when opponents score first in a game.

In the Fridge: When UCLA has a lead late in the ball game, the Bruins are pretty consistent at sealing the deal. So far this season, UCLA is 26-3 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 27-0 when owning the lead after eight innings. Four different Bruins have two-or-more saves on the year, led by Senior Josh Roenicke with four. On the other side of things, UCLA is 1-14 when trailing after six innings and 0-19 when behind after eight innings of play.

Rank This: The UCLA baseball team was ranked in the national polls for the week of April 24-30. The Bruins entered the week ranked No. 22 in the nation by Baseball America, and No. 25 by the Rosenblatt Report. This week marked the first time since March of 2001 that UCLA has been ranked in the Top-25 by Baseball America.

Rank That: 18 of the Bruins' first 22 games this season were against nationally ranked opposition, with a streak of 12-consecutive games versus ranked opponents once in effect. UCLA is 11-10 against ranked opposition on the season, and owns a series sweep of then-No. 17 ranked NC State on the road, and home series wins against No. 19 Ole Miss and No. 10 Arizona State. The Bruins also swept Long Beach State in a home-in-home series for the first time since 1995.

Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranks in this week at No. 27 in the national RPI rankings, with a third-ranked strength of schedule.

Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 25-5 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 14-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 20-5 this season when recording 10 or more hits in a game.

1-2 Step: UCLA has a knack for scoring runs early. So far this season, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 82-41 in the first two innings, outscoring opponents 46-20 in the first inning of games alone.

Ba Boom: The Bruins have ripped 38 long balls in their last 36 games, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games from Feb. 26-March 19. UCLA has 46 home runs on the season, good for second in the Pac-10. 14 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with nine players already owning three-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 5, Babineau 4, Crawford 5, Decker 5, Jensen 5, McMillan 6, Smith 4, Stewart 4, Taylor, Jr. 3). UCLA is 20-8 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.

Power Surge: UCLA was riding a season long five-game homer-less stretch entering its three-game series with USC. The Bruins went homer-less in a three-game series for the first time this season at California, and failed to go yard at UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara. The Bruins broke out of their long-ball funk with four home runs in the series, one by senior Sean Smith on Friday, a home run each by senior Chris Jensen and freshman Cody Decker on Saturday, and a bomb by Decker on Sunday. Ambriz homered at UC Irvine to give UCLA five home runs in its last four-consecutive games. UCLA went four games without a home run from Feb. 19-25, but the Bruins broke out of that drought by hitting 23 home runs in the next 13-consecutive games.

Big Innings: UCLA likes to score its runs in bunches, as the Bruins have scored three or more runs in an inning 43 times this season. 150 of UCLA's 300 total runs (50 percent) this season have come when posting three or more runs in an inning. Scoring three or more runs in an inning in a game translates into success for UCLA, as the Bruins are 22-2 this season when scoring three or more runs in an inning. UCLA scored a season-high seven runs in an inning against NC State (March 5).

UCLA scored three runs in an inning four different times against USC on Sunday, as the Bruins cruised to a 12-1 win over the Trojans.

The Bruins used a five-run fifth inning to come back from a 4-1 deficit at UC Irvine for an 8-4 win.

Good D: UCLA's defense has been superb all year, as the Bruins entered this week ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 Conference with a .976 fielding percentage, a top-10 mark in the nation. UCLA committed a season-high four errors at UC Santa Barbara, dropping the team fielding percentage to .975. However, the Bruins committed just one error in three-games against the Trojans for a .991 fielding percentage in the series.

Multi-hitters: UCLA hitters are very efficient at knocking the ball around the park more than once in a game. 12 different Bruins have at least five or more multi-hit games, six different Bruins have at least 10 multi-hit games, and 16 different Bruins have recorded multiple hits in a game this season a total of 136 times. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 20 multi-hit games, and senior Chris Jensen is second on the squad with 19.

Five different Bruins had multiple hits against UC Irvine on Tuesday.

Getting Past First: UCLA has knocked an extra base hit in 45 of its 49 games so far this year. The Bruins have smacked 161 extra base hits with 104 doubles, 11 triples, and 46 home runs. UCLA has hit at least one double in its last 20-conscutive games, a season-high, posting 52 two-baggers in that span. The Bruins hit 11 doubles and four home runs in their three-game series against USC, and had three doubles, a triple, and a home run against UC Irvine on Tuesday night. The Bruins are 21-7 when they post three-or-more extra base hits in a game.

Home Cook'n: The Bruins are 16-11 at home so far this season and are 13-5 in their last 18 games at JRS. Entering their series with USC, the Bruins were hitting .315 (163-517) with 20 home runs, 117 RBI, and 128 runs scored for an average of 8.5 runs a game in their last 15 home games. Against the Trojans, UCLA hit .349 (37-106) in the three-game series, with 26 runs scored (8.7 per game) and a .441 on-base percentage. On the season, UCLA is hitting .304 (276-908) with 31 home runs and 193 runs scored for a 7.1 runs-per-game average.

Got Five On It: UCLA took two-of-three games from USC to win its fifth-consecutive home series of the season. The Bruins had not won five-consecutive home series at Jackie Robinson Stadium since 1997.

Six Pack: This weekend against Stanford, UCLA has a chance to win six-straight three-game home series to close out the regular season. Since 1975, that feat has never been accomplished.

Streakers: UCLA enters this weekend's series riding a three-game winning streak, as the Bruins have scored eight or more runs in their last three-straight games, and have recorded 10-or-more hits in the last four-straight games, and six of their last seven.

Jensen Honored: UCLA senior right fielder Chris Jensen was named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week for May 9-15, Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen announced Tuesday.

Jensen earns his first-career Pac-10 Player of the Week nod after providing some major pop for UCLA at the plate as the Bruins clinched a crucial Pac-10 series against archrival USC.

In the three-game series against the Trojans, Jensen hit .571 (8-14) with a home run, two doubles, five RBI, and six runs scored. The San Diego, Calif., native was particularly hot at the plate in the two televised games (Fox Sports Net) of the series on Saturday and Sunday, both Bruin wins. In the last two games of his career against USC, Jensen hit .778 (7-9), going 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run, a double, and two RBI on Saturday, and 4-for-4 with a double, four runs scored and three RBI on Sunday.

Jensen ended the week hitting .529 (9-17) in four games, raising his batting average 19 percentage points.

On the season, Jensen is hitting .328 with a team-leading 66 hits, five home runs, and a team-best 42 runs scored.

Jensen's Player of the Week honor is the 45th all-time for UCLA.

Getting Some Props: UCLA has garnered Pac-10 Player of the Week honors five times so far this season. Every pitcher in the Bruin starting rotation has earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors, as junior Hector Ambriz (March 14), Dave Huff (April 25), and Tyson Brummett (March 7) have each been recognized as the conference's top hurler. Ambriz has also been named the Pac-10's Player of the Week (March 21), and Chris Jensen was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on May 16.

The Big Four: UCLA would not be in the position it is in this season without the play of its senior class. Four seniors in particular have led the way for a once young and inexperienced Bruin team. So far this season, seniors Chris Jensen, Brett McMillan, Josh Roenicke, and Sean Smith have combined for much of UCLA's offensive production. These four seniors have combined for 171 of the team's 486 hits (35 percent), 103 of the team's 268 RBI (38 percent) and 106 of the team's 300 runs scored (35 percent).

Mr. 6-Hole: When UCLA puts senior Sean Smith in the sixth spot in the batting order, the Bruins are tough to beat. UCLA is 12-1 in 13 games Smith has hit in the six-spot. In those 13 games, Smith has hit .348 (16-46) with a home run, seven doubles, 15 RBI, and 13 runs scored.

Going The Distance: UCLA's starting pitching was phenomenal against USC, as the Bruins received back-to-back complete game victories from juniors Dave Huff and Tyson Brummett to clinch the series. On Saturday, Huff (6-2) earned his third complete game win of the season, allowing three runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and just one walk, while throwing 123 pitches, 83 of which were strikes (67 percent).

On Sunday, Brummett (6-6) earned his first-career complete game victory allowing just one run on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks on 104 pitches in the game, 72 (69 percent) of which were strikes.

Huff Stuff: Junior Dave Huff has been a workhorse for the UCLA pitching staff this year. In six Pac-10 starts, Huff has tossed 54.1 innings, with a 3-0 record, a 2.65 ERA, and 40 strikeouts. Huff has gone nine or more inning in his last four-straight Pac-10 outings, and five of his six Pac-10 starts. On the season, Huff owns a 6-2 record with a 2.77 ERA, three complete-game victories, and 90 strikeouts in 107.1 innings pitched. Huff ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in ERA, second in innings pitched, and third in strikeouts.

Pinch Me: UCLA has been very successful in pinch hit situations this season. In their last 14 games, the Bruins are hitting 14-26 (.538) in pinch hit situations. UCLA had a streak of six straight pinch-hits (April 18-25), and were a perfect three-for-three in pinch hit situations against UC Irvine. In the fifth inning, the Bruins rallied on RBI triple by senior Brett McMillan, a RBI pinch hit single by junior Hector Ambriz, and a RBI double by freshman Tim Murphy. On the season, UCLA pinch hitters are hitting .362 (25-69) while opponents are batting .161 (9-56) in pinch hit situations against Bruin pitching.

Keep Their Headz Ringin: Freshman Brandon Crawford been hitting the ball pretty well as of late. Since going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts at UC Santa Barbara last Tuesday, Crawford has hit .467 (7-for-15) with two doubles and four runs scored in his last four games. On the season, Crawford is hitting .317 (65-205) with five home runs, four triples, 12 doubles, and 26 RBI.

Batter Up: Simply put - all freshman Jermaine Curtis does is get on base. In the series against USC, Curtis hit .429 (3-7) at the plate with three runs scored, and an impressive .643 on-base percentage. Curtis was on base nine times against USC, as he was hit by three pitches and walked three times to go along with his three hits. Against UC Irvine, Curtis went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and a walk. In his last 16 games, Curtis is batting .431 (22-51) with a .529 on-base percentage and 15 runs scored.

Bailamos: The music might have stopped (for now), but junior Paul Oseguera is still dancing on the mound. Against UC Irvine, Oseguera was superb, tossing a season-high 4.2 innings with a career-best six strikeouts to earn his third win of the season. Oseguera has been the Bruins' most consistent arm out of the bullpen, appearing in a team-high 25 games. On the season, the lefty is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 42.2 innings of work.

Freshman Impact: Head Coach John Savage started five freshmen in the lineup on Saturday against USC, marking the 12th time this season UCLA has put five or more freshman in the starting lineup.

Good Lookin' Deal: In the top of the third inning of Sunday's game against USC, senior Sean Smith made probably the best defensive play of the season for UCLA, if not the entire Pac-10. Smith made a spectacular diving glove flip to Crawford at shortstop to turn a 4-6-3 double play and end the inning, on live television nonetheless.

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).

So far this season, UCLA is 16-10 against those teams.

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 next play UC Irvine on Tuesday, May 23 in its last game of the regular season at Jackie Robinson Stadium before traveling to Corvallis, Ore., for a three-game Pac-10 series finale with the Beavers beginning Friday, May 26.

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