UCLA To Play For Pac-10 Title At No. 5 Oregon State
May 24, 2006
UCLA at No. 5 Oregon State - Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, May 26 at 6 p.m., Hector Ambriz, RHP (7-6, 3.56) vs. Dallas Buck, RHP (10-2, 2.95)
UCLA at No. 5 Oregon State - Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, May 27 at 2 p.m., Dave Huff, LHP (6-3, 2.92) vs. Jonah Nickerson, RHP (9-3, 2.59)
UCLA at No. 5 Oregon State - Goss Stadium at Coleman Field, May 28 at 12:30 p.m., Tyson Brummett, RHP (6-6, 4.74) vs. Mike Stutes, RHP (6-2, 2.71)
Get After It: The UCLA baseball team (31-22, 12-9 Pac-10) travels to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the No. 5 Oregon State Beavers (38-13, 15-6 Pac-10) in a three-game series for a chance to share the 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Title. The second-place Bruins are currently three games behind the first-place Beavers, and need a series sweep to force a tie in the Pac-10 standings and a share of the conference championship with OSU.
Time Flies: UCLA will wrap up the 2006 regular season and Pac-10 schedule this weekend at Oregon State.
UC Irvine Recap: The UCLA baseball team cruised to a 10-1 win over UC Irvine on Tuesday night in the final home game of the season for the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium. In the final game of their careers at JRS, senior Sean Smith hit a three-run home run, senior Chris Jensen celebrated his birthday with a 2-for-4 performance with a RBI double, and senior Brett McMillan went 2-for-2 with a run scored. Freshman Brandon Crawford went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run, and junior Tim Stewart finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a double. Junior LHP Brian Schroeder (4-2) earned the win tossing 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts.
About the Beavers: The Oregon State University Beavers enter the weekend's Pac-10 season series finale with a 38-13 overall record, a first-place mark of 15-6 in the Pac-10, and a No. 5 national-ranking by Baseball America. OSU has clinched at least a share of the 2006 Pac-10 Championship, the program's second consecutive title. The Beavers are coming off of a series sweep at Washington State, where they outscored the Cougars 39-6 in three games. Oregon Sate has won four-consecutive games and 22 of their last 27 contests. The Beavers are 21-3 so far this season at home. As a team, OSU hits .301 (532-1769) with 26 home runs, 322 RBI, 368 runs scored, and 63 stolen bases in 85 attempts. The Beaver pitching staff owns a Pac-10 best 3.57 team ERA with 364 strikeouts in 451.1 innings pitched, while limiting opponents to a .242 batting average, a mark that is tops in the Pac-10. Head Coach Pat Casey is in his 12th season at the helm of the Oregon State program.
The Oregon State-UCLA Series: UCLA leads the all-time series with Oregon State by a mark of 24-14. Since 2000, the Bruins are 11-7 against the Beavers. OSU swept UCLA in a three-game series last season at Jackie Robinson Stadium, outscoring the Bruins 29-8. Before that series loss, UCLA had won six-consecutive series against the Beavers.
The Bruins and the Beavers: UCLA has won three-consecutive series in Corvallis, Ore., including a series sweep in 2000. UCLA is the last team to beat OSU in a three-game series at Goss Stadium, as the Bruins won two-games in a three-game series from the Beavers in 2004 (May 28-30).
So You Know: OSU has not been swept at home since 2003, when the Beavers dropped three games to USC.
Doors Open Man: The door is open for UCLA to claim a share of the 2006 Pac-10 Conference Title. If UCLA sweeps Oregon State, the Bruins will claim their first conference crown since 2000, and the program's fifth since 1975.
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 26-13 (.667).
Serie-ous: UCLA has won nine of 14 three-game series so far this season, including six of its last seven series, and eight of its last 10 series.
Road Warriors: UCLA will play its final road series of the regular season this weekend at Oregon State. UCLA is 12-10 on the road so far this season, as the Bruins have won three-game series at Pacific, at No. 17 NC State, and at Arizona.
Stay Hot: UCLA enters the weekend on a two-game mini winning streak, and winners of six of the last seven games.
Punch First: UCLA is quite successful when making the scoreboard light up first in a game. So far this season, the Bruins are 18-5 when scoring in the first inning, and 21-7 when scoring before the opposition in a game. UCLA is 10-15 when opponents score first in a game, and oddly enough, is 11-4 record when opponents score in the first inning.
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 28-3 when leading after six innings of play, and a perfect 29-0 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 1-15 when trailing after six innings and 0-20 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.
UCLA has not played a ranked opponent since April 23, when the Bruins beat No. 10 Arizona State 11-10 in 10 innings. The last three-game road series the Bruins had against a ranked opponent was at No. 17 NC State, a series sweep for the Bruins.
Speaks For Itself: UCLA ranks in this week at No. 22 in the national RPI rankings, with a third-ranked strength of schedule.
Magic Numbers: So far this season, UCLA is 28-5 when scoring five or more runs in a ball game, and owns a 16-0 record when holding opponents to two runs or less. The Bruins are also 23-5 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 88-45 in the first two innings, outscoring opponents 51-24 in the first inning of games alone.
Ba Boom: The Bruins have ripped 45 long balls in their last 40 games, a stretch that included home runs in 13-consecutive games from Feb. 26-March 19. UCLA has 53 home runs on the season, good for second in the Pac-10. 14 different Bruins have smacked round-trippers so far this season, with eight players already owning five-or-more home runs on the year (Ambriz 5, Babineau 5, Crawford 6, Decker 5, Jensen 5, McMillan 6, Smith 6, Stewart 6). UCLA is 23-8 this season when a Bruin homers in a game.
Big Innings: UCLA likes to score its runs in bunches, as the Bruins have scored three or more runs in an inning 45 times this season. 166 of UCLA's 328 total runs (51 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 25-2 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 the bottom of the first inning in Friday's game against Stanford to cruise to an 8-1 win over the Cardinal. In Sunday's game against Stanford, UCLA used a six-run fifth inning to erase a 5-0 deficit. The Bruins also posted a three spot and a four spot on the scoreboard in a 10-1 win over UC Irvine on Tuesday.
UCLA has posted three-or-more runs in an inning nine times in five of the last six games, including the last three-straight.
Lotta Action: UCLA has scored eight-or-more runs in six of the last seven games, and has recorded 11-or-more hits in seven of the last eight games.
Dealing: UCLA currently owns a 3.76 team ERA. That mark is on track to be the lowest mark at UCLA since 1980 when the Bruins finished the year with a 3.55 team ERA.
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.
Don't Rub It: UCLA batters have been more like big targets as of late at the plate. A Bruin has been hit by a pitch in eight-consecutive games, and 15 times in 11 of the last 12 games. On the other side, Bruin pitchers have only hit one opposing batter in the last eight games.
Multi-hitters: UCLA hitters are very efficient at knocking the ball around the park more than once in a game. 13 different Bruins have at least five or more multi-hit games, seven 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 150 times. Freshman Brandon Crawford leads the team with 22 multi-hit games, and senior Chris Jensen is second on the squad with 21.
Eight different Bruins record multiple hits in the three-game Stanford series for a combined total of 10 times, and four different Bruins had multiple hits against UCI on Tuesday.
Watch `Um Swang, Watch `Um Swang: UCLA has knocked an extra base hit in 49 of its 53 games so far this year. The Bruins have smacked 179 extra base hits with 113 doubles, 13 triples, and 53 home runs. UCLA has hit at least one double in its last 24-conscutive games, a season-high, posting 61 two-baggers in that span. UCLA hit five home runs, seven doubles, and two triples in their three-game series against Stanford, and two doubles and two home runs against UCI on Tuesday. The Bruins are 24-8 when they post three-or-more extra base hits in a game.
Home Cook'n: The Bruins played their final home game of the season at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday, a 10-1 win over UC Irvine. UCLA finishes its home schedule 19-12, as the Bruins won 16 of the final 22 games at Jackie Robinson Stadium. In the last 22 home games, the Bruins hit .320 (244-763) as a team with 31 home runs, 163 RBI, and 182 runs scored for an 8.3 runs-per-game average. UCLA will end the year hitting .305 (320-1048) with 38 home runs, 199 RBI, 221 runs scored (7.1 per game), and a 3.84 team ERA at Jackie Robinson Stadium this season.
Six Pack: UCLA defeated Stanford twice in a three-game series this past weekend to win its sixth-straight three-game home series of the season. Since 1975, that feat has never been accomplished.
Stew On This: Junior Tim Stewart lifted the Bruins to a crucial Pac-10 series win over visiting Stanford on Sunday with his bat. The Santa Ana, Calif., native hit two clutch home runs with four RBI in the game to give the Bruins an 8-7 win over the Cardinal. With the Bruins down 5-3 in the fifth inning, Stewart connected for a three-run home run to left field to put the Bruins up 6-5, as UCLA gained the lead for the first time after being down 6-0. Stewart would win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning in dramatic fashion. With the game tied at 7-7 and two outs, Stewart drove a 0-1 pitch over the left center wall for a game-winning walk off home run to win the game for the Bruins. On the season, Stewart is hitting .324 (34-105) with a team-best six home runs, 25 RBI, and 22 runs scored. Stewart is the first Bruin this season to hit multiple home runs in a game.
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 185 of the team's 530 hits (35 percent), 112 of the team's 293 RBI (38 percent) and 113 of the team's 328 runs scored (34 percent).
Pac-Men: Freshmen Ryan Babineau and Jermaine Curtis, and senior Chris Jensen have been on fire in Pac-10 play for the Bruins this season. The trio has combined to hit .360 (76-211) with four home runs, 37 RBI, and 38 runs scored. Babineau leads the team with three home runs hit in Pac-10 play.
Batter Up: All freshman Jermaine Curtis does is get on base. In Pac-10 play, Curtis owns a .507 on-base percentage, while batting .396 (21-53), with eight walks and six hit by pitches.
Cool Breeze: Junior RHP Hector Ambriz led UCLA to a huge win over Stanford in game one of the three-game series with the Cardinal on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Placentia, Calif., native tossed 8.0 innings with eight strikeouts, and scattered seven hits, with no walks, allowing just one run in the ball game on a wild pitch to out-dual Stanford ace Greg Reynolds for his seventh win of the season. On the year, Ambriz is 7-6 with a 3.56 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 98.2 innings pitched.
Huff Stuff: Junior Dave Huff has been a workhorse for the UCLA pitching staff this year. In seven Pac-10 starts, Huff has tossed 61.0 innings, with a 3-1 record, a 2.95 ERA, and 46 strikeouts. Huff had gone nine or more inning four-straight Pac-10 outings before a loss against Stanford, and five of his first six Pac-10 starts. On the season, Huff owns a 6-3 record with a 2.92 ERA, three complete-game victories, and 96 strikeouts in 114 innings pitched. Huff ranks second in the Pac-10 in innings pitched, second in strikeouts, and sixth in the Pac-10 in ERA.
Freshman Impact: Head Coach John Savage started five freshmen in the lineup on Tuesday against UC Irvine, marking the 16th time this season UCLA has put five or more freshman in the starting lineup.
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 18-11 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 ends its regular season at Oregon State on Sunday, and will await its postseason fate on Monday, May 29.
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