No. 23 UCLA Baseball Opens Season at Home Friday Versus Southern

Feb. 17, 2010

UCLA at the Urban Invitational - Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Season Outlook | Media Guide

LOS ANGELES - UCLA opens the 2010 season playing in the third annual Urban Invitational, the same weekend tournament in which the Bruins participated in 2008. Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.) faces the Bruins on Opening Night at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium (6 p.m.). UCLA will take on Bethune Cookman at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., on Saturday (6 p.m.) before a live televsion audience on MLB Network. The Bruins conclude the weekend at home against Cal State Northridge on Sunday (2 p.m.).

Friday, February 19 (6 p.m.) - Jackie Robinson Stadium

Southern - Chase Richard, LHP, RS Sr. (6-4, 4.26)
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (4-8, 3.49)

Saturday, February 20 (6 p.m.) - MLB Urban Youth Academy (Compton, Calif.)
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, Fr. (9-3, 2.99)
Bethune Cookman - Julio Morales, RHP, Jr. (first start)

Sunday, February 21 (2 p.m.) - Jackie Robinson Stadium
Cal State Northridge - Shawn Wilyman, RHP, Jr. (first start)
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (4-2, 6.45)

UCLA's Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veteran Administration, just north of Wilshire Blvd. and west of the 405 Freeway. Fans can enter the stadium from Wilshire Blvd. (take ramp to Bonsalle Ave. on VA grounds slightly west of Sepulveda Blvd.) or at the intersection of Sepulveda Blvd. and Constitution Ave. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children 16 years and younger. UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, sodas and much more classic ballpark food.

All home baseball games will be broadcast live on the Bruins' baseball website at UCLA's John Ramey will provide the play-by-play and will be accompanied throughout the year by color commentators Nick Theodorou and Danny Rees. In addition, fans can follow the action online through GameTracker, a pitch-by-pitch update of the game in progress, located at Saturday's game in Compton, Calif., will be available on national television (MLB Network).

The Bruins return starting pitchers Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Rob Rasmussen and Garett Claypool. The bullpen welcomes back Mitchell Beacom, Erik Goeddel, Matt Grace and Jordan Haver. Matt Drummond and Dan Klein (projected closer) have healed from injuries after redshirting in 2009. Justin Uribe (first base) and Blair Dunlap (second base) look to make the transition from the outfield to the infield. In addition, Niko Gallego (shortstop) , Steve Rodriguez (catcher) and Chris Giovinazzo (outfield) are other starters from 2009 back for UCLA.

The most notable changes to the 2010 roster are on offense. The Bruins must replace their top power hitters from 2009 in Cody Decker (21 HR, 53 RBI) and Casey Haerther (9 HR, 42 RBI). In addition, UCLA welcomes several talented left-handed-hitting freshmen outfielders - Beau Amaral, Jeff Gelalich, Dennis Holt and Cody Keefer. Likewise, infielders Dean Espy (sophomore, JC transfer) and left-handed-hitting freshman Cody Regis look to push for playing time on the left side of the infield, most likely at third base.

The third annual Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament spotlights Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their baseball programs in an effort to provide them with national exposure. Saturday's two games at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., will be televised live across the nation on MLB Network and will also be streamed online at MLB Network analysts Victor Rojas and Harold Reynolds will broadcast the games on MLB Network (available on channel 267 on Time Warner Cable; channel 213 on DirectTV).

Sophomore Gerrit Cole, a hard-throwing right-hander from Santa Ana, Calif., will start UCLA's season-opening game on Friday evening. Cole went 4-8 with a 3.49 ERA as a freshman in 2009, notching 104 strikeouts (UCLA's single-season freshman strikeout record) in 85.0 innings. He led all Pac-10 pitchers with a .191 opponent batting average and was in the starting rotation all season (15 appearances, 14 starts). UCLA will look for Cole, a 2009 All-Pac-10 Team selection, to lead the staff as its Friday night starter in 2010.

Sophomore Trevor Bauer is slated to start on the mound against Bethune Cookman on Saturday evening at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. Bauer, a 6-foot-1 right-hander from Valencia, Calif., had a strong freshman campaign last spring, going 9-3 with a 2.99 ERA in a team-leading 105.1 innings. He earned Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors after having been named as one of three freshmen (along with Gerrit Cole) to the All-Pac-10 Team.

Junior Rob Rasmussen has been named as the starting pitcher in UCLA's weekend finale against Cal State Northridge. A 5-foot-11 southpaw from Arcadia, Calif., Rasmussen went 4-2 with a 6.45 ERA in 44.2 innings in 2009. Rasmussen spent the summer of 2009 pitching for the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League for the second straight year. He went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, notching 42 strikeouts and 11 walks in 35.0 innings. Rasmussen started on the mound at Fenway Park in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game last July.

UCLA will face USC in a non-conference game at Dodger Stadium in the first-ever Dodgertown Classic on Sunday, Feb. 28. Game time is 2 p.m. Fans are encouraged to buy tickets ($5 general admission) from the UCLA Central Ticket Office, located on campus in the James West Alumni Center. There is no charge for parking that day at Dodger Stadium. Day of game tickets at Dodger Stadium will cost $10.

Sophomore right-handers Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole have each been named to a pair of preseason All-America lists. Bauer secured third-team preseason accolades from Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Cole earned second-team preseason honors from Baseball America and third-team acclaim from Collegiate Baseball.

Baseball America has predicted that UCLA will finish second in the 2010 Pac-10 standings, behind defending conference champion Arizona State. The national baseball publication has projected four Pac-10 teams to secure NCAA Regional berths (Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford). Baseball America's preseason All-Conference Team includes UCLA starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Freshman outfielder Cody Keefer is rated as the Pac-10's ninth-best newcomer. Junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen is listed as the Pac-10's top draft prospect for the June 2010 MLB Draft.

Seniors Blair Dunlap and Justin Uribe return as two of the Bruins' most talented veteran hitters. Dunlap, who can contribute at second base in addition to playing in the outfield, batted .301 in 55 starts last season. The resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., led the Bruins in 2009 with 68 hits, 17 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 21 attempts. In addition, Dunlap ranked second on the team with 45 runs and 112 total bases. Uribe batted .318 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 47 games (41 starts) in 2009. He has registered a .283 batting average or higher in each of this three seasons in Westwood.

UCLA's infield features a variety of options as the Bruins enter the 2010 campaign. Junior Niko Gallego and sophomore Adrian Williams provide the team with durable options at shortstop. Gallego made 55 starts at shortstop last season, batting .273 overall, including a .300 batting in 27 Pac-10 contests. Williams appeared in nine games, collecting two hits in 10 at-bats. At second base, the Bruins expect for sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla and senior Blair Dunlap to push for playing time. Rahmatulla made 23 starts last season, including seven at second base and 15 at third base, and batted .222 in 35 games.

Including projected starters, UCLA's pitching staff includes 12 right-handers and five left-handers. Key veterans expected to fill vital roles out of the bullpen include right-handers Dan Klein and Erik Goeddel. The team's go-to left-handers include Mitchell Beacom, Matt Grace and Matt Drummond. Other contributors include right-handers Jordan Haver, Chase Brewer, Ryan Deeter, Brandon Lodge and Ian Williams. The Bruins look for Klein to serve as the team's closer.

The Bruins' roster on Opening Night features 14 newcomers (13 freshmen and one JC transfer). Freshmen outfielders Beau Amaral (Huntington Beach HS), Jeff Gelalich (Bonita HS) and Cody Keefer (Davis Senior HS) are expected to push for starting roles in their rookie campaigns. Freshman Dennis Holt (Esperanza HS) can play in the outfield and serve as a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. Freshman Trevor Brown (Hart HS) will compete for playing time behind the plate along with classmate Tyler Heineman (Windward School).

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