No. 11 UCLA Baseball Hits Road to Face No. 5 Miami

Feb. 7, 2007

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No. 11 UCLA (2-1) at No. 5 Miami (0-2)
Mark Light Field (5,000)
Friday, Feb. 9 (4 p.m. PST)
Saturday, Feb. 10 (4:30 p.m. PST)
Sunday, Feb. 11 (10 a.m. PST)

Friday - Tyson Brummett (RHP) vs. Scott Maine (LHP)
Saturday - Paul Schmidt or Brendan Lafferty (LHPs) vs. Danny Gil (RHP)
Sunday - Gavin Brooks (LHP) vs. Manny Miguelez (LHP)

UCLA opened the season with a 2-1 series victory over No. 23 Winthrop last weekend. The Bruins recorded wins on Friday night, 2-1, and Sunday afternoon, 19-5. UCLA dropped game two, 6-4. Sunday's rout of Winthrop featured a 13-run fourth inning. UCLA sent 18 batters to the plate that inning, and the first 11 hitters reached base safely. Freshman Gabe Cohen blasted a grand slam over the left field wall to give UCLA a 16-2 cushion. Friday evening, senior right-hander Tyson Brummett allowed one run and six hits in 8.0 innings to record the victory. In game one, the Bruins capitalized on a first-inning wild pitch and a dropped pop-fly to second base in the eighth inning.

Senior Tyson Brummett will lead the Bruins on the mound in Friday evening's series-opener. The right-hander from Salem, Utah, pitched well in the Bruins' season-opener on Feb. 2. Brummett scattered six hits and allowed one run in 8.0 innings to hold the Eagles at bay and record the victory. As a junior in 2006, he made 17 appearances (including 15 starts). He compiled a 6-7 record and 4.52 ERA in 97.2 innings. Brummett threw 7.0 innings or more in seven of his 15 starts one year ago. A two-time MLB Draft selection by the San Francisco Giants, Brummett recorded stellar outings last season at NC State (March 5) and against USC (May 14).

UCLA dropped two of three games against Miami when the Hurricanes came to Los Angeles last February. Since 1975, Miami owns a 10-1 mark against UCLA. Bruin senior Tyson Brummett faced the Hurricanes on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006 and absorbed the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) off seven hits in 7.1 innings. UCLA's 7-4 victory on Feb. 11, 2006, featured home runs by Will Penniall and Tim Stewart. Catcher Ryan Babineau finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBI that afternoon against Miami.

Miami finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season and advanced to the College World Series (1-2 record). The Hurricanes finished with a 42-24 overall mark (.636) and a 17-13 ACC record. Head Coach Jim Morris, in his 13th season with Miami, has posted a 605-223-3 record with the Hurricanes. Last weekend, Miami dropped its first two games to Mercer - a 6-5 setback Friday evening and an 8-5 loss on Saturday. The series finale, slated for Sunday, was cancelled due to rain.

Friday and Saturday's games at Miami will be televised on the Internet at (subscription required). All three games can be followed live on CSTV's GameTracker, which can be accessed at

UCLA earned a No. 11 ranking from Baseball America after taking two of three games from No. 23 Winthrop. The Bruins were ranked No. 21 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches preseason poll. has ranked the Bruins No. 16 and Collegiate Baseball has tabbed UCLA at No. 27. The NCBWA slotted UCLA at No. 23 in its preseason poll.

According to Boyd's World, a national strength of schedule ranking service, UCLA faces the third-most difficult schedule in the nation this season. The Bruins play 20 games against teams ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-25 poll. Likewise, 50 of UCLA's 56 regular-season games are against teams either ranked in or receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball's preseason 'Fabulous 40' poll. The Bruins began the season with a series victory (2-for-3) against No. 23 Winthrop and travel to No. 5 Miami for a three-game series beginning Friday, Feb. 9.

The top four spots in UCLA's lineup are batting a combined .420 (21-for-50). Headlined by second baseman Alden Carrithers, shortstop Brandon Crawford, first baseman Tim Stewart and outfielder Mickey Weisser, the Bruins' 1-4 hitters have registered a .507 on-base percentage. The top of UCLA's batting order has been aided by the addition of transfer students Alden Carrithers and Mickey Weisser. Carrithers, a junior from UC Santa Barbara, has posted a .455 (5-for-11) batting average with two doubles and five runs through UCLA's first three games. Weisser, a junior from Sierra JC in Rocklin, Calif., is hitting .545 (6-for-11) with four RBI after the first weekend.

Following the three-game road series at Miami, UCLA will return home to host UC Riverside on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Game time is 6 p.m. The home contest against the Highlanders will be the Bruins' first Tuesday game of the season. Last year, UCLA split a home-and-home series with UC Riverside.

Freshman pitcher Charles Brewer is sidelined indefinitely with an illness. Freshman Jeff Rapoport is unavailable to play due to a shoulder injury.

Baseball America selected UCLA as its preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 title in 2007. The publication projected the Bruins to join Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. Shortstop Brandon Crawford has been selected to Baseball America's preseason All-Pac-10 Team, and right-handed pitcher Charles Brewer is listed as the conference's fifth-best newcomer. The magazine has projected Brant Rustich as the Pac-10's ninth-best major-league prospect in 2007. In its ranking of 'best tools' within the Pac-10, Baseball America names Crawford as the 'best athlete,' 'best defensive shortstop' and infielder with the 'best arm.' The publication lists Ryan Babineau as the catcher with the 'best arm,' Jermaine Curtis as the 'best defensive third baseman,' right-hander Tyson Brummett with the 'best changeup' and outfielder Jeff Rapoport as the 'fastest runner.'

Five former Bruins have been rated as the top prospects within their respective Major League Baseball organizations. Dave Huff, a key starter on UCLA's pitching staff in 2006, has been ranked the No. 10 prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization. Hector Ambriz, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2003, 2005-06), has been tabbed the No. 22 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. Wes Whisler, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2002-04), is rated the No. 29 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organzation. Ben Francisco (2001-02) and Paul Oseguera (2005-06) have each earned honorable mention prospect accolades from Baseball America as a member of the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants ballclubs, respectively.

Sophomore Brandon Crawford spent his summer playing for the U.S. National Team and helped lead Team USA to the FISU (International University Sports Federation) World Championship after the club posted a 28-2-1 overall record. Crawford played in 23 games, starting 10, and recorded a .257 batting average (9-for-35), The sophomore shortstop collected two doubles, six RBI, seven runs scored, three walks and one stolen base.

Sophomore catcher Ryan Babineau has started the 2007 season with a bang. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. resident has thrown out each of three attempted base stealers. At the plate, Babineau has posted a .455 batting average and registered two doubles, one triple, three RBI and three runs scored. A freshman All-America selection by Baseball America in 2006, Babineau has not committed an error in 466 career chances (407 putouts, 59 assists). Last year, he caught 56 of the Bruins' 58 games and helped lead the pitching staff to the second-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 (3.77). As a true freshman, Babineau threw out 15 attempted base stealers in 37 attempts (41 percent).

Junior Mickey Weisser, a transfer from Sierra Junior College (located in Rocklin, Calif.), had an impressive opening weekend. He posted a .545 batting average against Winthrop, and tallied four RBI and one run. In each of UCLA's first two games, the outfielder finished 2-for-4. On Sunday, the Citrus Heights, Calif. native hit 2-for-3 with two RBI, one run scored and one walk. Last season, Weisser led the Big-7 Conference with a .420 batting average and a .535 on-base percentage before earning Northern California Community College All-America honors. He also helped lead Sierra JC to its first-ever Final Four appearance and a 35-16 overall record (including 6-3 postseason).

With two weeks to go before major leaguers report for spring training, nine former UCLA ballplayers have earned a spot on an MLB 40-man roster. Garrett Atkins (Colorado Rockies), Eric Byrnes (Arizona Diamondbacks), Jeff Conine (Cincinnati Reds), Ben Francisco (Cleveland Indians), Troy Glaus (Toronto Blue Jays), Casey Janssen (Toronto Blue Jays), Adam Melhuse (Oakland Athletics), Dave Roberts (San Francisco Giants) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies) will report to their respective teams training facilities as a member of the 40-man roster. Left-hander Jim Parque, who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2003, agreed to a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, Feb. 2. Parque will be at the Mariners' spring training camp later this month.

UCLA was selected fourth in the Pac-10 Conference's preseason coaches poll, the conference announced on Monday, Jan. 29. The Bruins were picked to finish behind Arizona State, Oregon State, and Stanford, respectively. Last season, UCLA was selected eighth in the preseason poll and finished the season third in the Pac-10 with a 13-10 conference mark (33-25 overall).

Senior Paul Schmidt or redshirt sophomore Brendan Lafferty will start for the Bruins on Saturday. Both players pitched against Winthrop last weekend. Schmidt (0-1) made his first career start and absorbed the loss after allowing four earned runs in 2.2 innings (3 K, 4 BB). Lafferty made two relief appearances and allowed three runs off five hits in 3.2 innings (1 K, 0 BB). The southpaw from Riverside, Calif., earned his first career victory in Sunday's 19-5 rout of No. 23 Winthrop.

Freshman Gavin Brooks allowed just two earned runs in 4.0 innings Sunday, in UCLA's 19-5 rout of 23rd-ranked Winthrop. Brooks struck out three batters in his collegiate debut and is slated to make the start on Sunday, Feb. 11. A three-year varsity baseball letterwinner at Rancho Buena Vista High School (Vista, Calif.), Brooks pitched eight scoreless innings and recorded 12 strikeouts as a senior. A 2005 AFLAC All-American, he posted a 6-1 record with 56 strikeouts in 50 innings as a sophomore to earn team 'most outstanding pitcher' honors as a sophomore. A talented student-athlete, Brooks was a Dean's List honoree all four years and San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic selection.

Sophomore shortstop Brandon Crawford has been named to the 2007 Wallace Watch List, the College Baseball Foundation announced in November. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. Crawford joins nine other Pac-10 baseball players on the 2007 Wallace Watch List. The list of 148 ballplayers will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May. The selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals.

Former Bruin Chase Utley signed a seven-year, $85 million contract extension through 2013 with the Phillies, the ballclub announced Sunday, Jan. 21. Utley, who broke into the major leagues in 2003 after Philadelphia drafted the second baseman as the second overall selection in the 2000 MLB Draft, finished his three-year career at UCLA with a .342 average, 41 doubles, four triples, 53 home runs and 174 RBI. Utley ranks fourth on UCLA's career home runs list (53) and fifth on the all-time hits list (256). His 108 hits in 2000 are the second-most by a Bruin in one season.

Left-handed pitcher Barry Zito, a former pupil of then-pitching coach John Savage, recently inked a seven-year, $126 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. Zito, a three-time MLB All-Star and former AL Cy Young winner, pitched for Savage in 1999 at USC. A first-team All-America selection by USA Today Baseball Weekly, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America that season, Zito earned 2003 AL Cy Young honors after posting a 23-5 record with the Oakland Athletics that season.

After missing nearly his entire junior year with a middle finger injury on his pitching hand (medical redshirt), right-hander Brant Rustich has returned, fully-healed, to the Bruins' bullpen. The hard-throwing closer recorded his first save of the season in UCLA's season-opening win against No. 23 Winthrop and looks for many more opportunities this season in which he can help close games for UCLA.

Senior first baseman Tim Stewart returns for his second season at UCLA and posted impressive numbers in the Bruins' season-opening series victory against No. 23 Winthrop. The former Mater Dei High School slugger registered a .444 batting average (4-for-9) in the opening weekend and compiled two runs, one RBI, two walks and three hit-by-pitches. Heading into the series at Miami, Stewart boasts a .643 on-base percentage and leads the team on the field with 25 putouts.

The Bruins return five position players from the 2006 team, which finished the season ranked first in fielding percentage in the Pac-10 Conference. Anchored by catcher Ryan Babineau, who did not commit an error in 445 chances last season, UCLA returns outfielder Blair Dunlap (1.000), first baseman Tim Stewart (.997), outfielder Tim Murphy (.950), shortstop Brandon Crawford (.949) and sophomore Jermaine Curtis (.908).

Offense should be UCLA's strength this season. After having ranked seventh in the Pac-10 in batting average last season, the Bruins return several reliable bats. Jermaine Curtis led all UCLA regulars in 2006 with a .336 batting average (.390 in Pac-10 play). Also returning to the Bruins' potent lineup are Brandon Crawford (.318 avg, .297 Pac-10), Cody Decker (.302 avg, .450 Pac-10), Tim Stewart (.301 avg, .277 Pac-10), Blair Dunlap (.300 avg, .302 Pac-10), Ryan Babineau (.258 avg, .351 Pac-10) and Tim Murphy (.254 avg).

The UCLA baseball program features 13 newcomers - 10 freshmen and three transfer students. The incoming recruiting class, ranked 13th nationally by Baseball America, is headlined by the 2006 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year (Charles Brewer) and four players selected in the 2006 MLB Draft (Brewer, Matthew Drummond, Raul Duran and Casey Haerther). The Bruins welcome three talented transfers - second baseman Alden Carrithers (UC Santa Barbara), catcher Brent Dean (L.A. Harbor CC) and outfielder Mickey Weisser (Sierra JC).

The 2007 Bruins tied the 'Young-Timers' alumni team, 2-2, in a rain-shortened, six-inning contest Saturday, Jan. 27. Over 85 former UCLA baseball players showed up for the annual Alumni Day at Jackie Robinson Stadium, including former major leaguers Eric Karros and Don Slaught and current MLB players Garrett Atkins (Colorado), Casey Janssen (Toronto) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia).

Sophomore Jermaine Curtis will not be available for the weekend series against Miami. His status beyond this weekend's road trip is pending the resolution of an academic issue.

The 2007 schedule features games in three contentinal U.S. time zones - Pacific, Central (at Mississippi) and Eastern (at Miami). Overall, the Bruins will play at 13 different ballparks during the regular season, including Jackie Robinson Stadium. Aside from the trip to Coral Gables, Fla., UCLA will travel to Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.), San Diego State (San Diego), Stanford (Palo Alto, Calif.), USC (Los Angeles), UC Riverside (Riverside, Calif.), UC Irvine (Irvine, Calif.), Pepperdine (Malibu, Calif.), Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.) and Washington State (Pullman, Wash.).

HEAD COACH John Savage
John Savage leads the Bruins in his third season at UCLA. A graduate of University of Nevada '91, Savage has coached 13 major-league players in his 14-year career as a college baseball coach. In five years at UCLA, Savage has compiled a 50-67 mark. In five years as a head coach, he has totaled 138 wins, 151 losses and one tie (.477 win percentage).

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