No. 12 UCLA Baseball Looks to Extend Streak Against Oral Roberts
March 17, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 12 UCLA baseball team has opened the season with a 13-0 record and returns home this weekend to host Oral Roberts (5-7), the 12-time defending Summit League champions. The Bruins are off to their best start in the modern era (dating to 1955) and look to extend their run in non-conference action. First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 p.m. The Bruins and Golden Eagles square off Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, March 19 (6 p.m. PT) - UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Oral Roberts - TBA
UCLA - Gerrit Cole, RHP, So. (4-0, 2.10)
Saturday, March 20 (2 p.m. PT) - UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Oral Roberts - TBA
UCLA - Trevor Bauer, RHP, So. (3-0, 2.38)
Sunday, March 21 (1 p.m. PT) - UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Oral Roberts - TBA
UCLA - Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Jr. (1-0, 2.79)
ADVISORY: SUNDAY TRAFFIC
Due to Sunday morning's Los Angeles Marathon, UCLA anticipates heavy traffic congestion and road closures adjacent to Westwood and Jackie Robinson Stadium. Westwood Blvd., Veteran Ave., and Sepulveda Blvd. will be closed between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. (all are south of Jackie Robinson Stadium). Access to and from the ballpark will be limited to the Constitution Ave. entrance off Sepulveda Blvd., coming from the North via Montana/Sunset offramps of the 405 freeway. The gate at the Constitution-Sepulveda intersection will be open Sunday morning.
GETTING TO JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM
Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veteran Administration, north of Wilshire Blvd. and west of the 405 Freeway. This weekend (Sunday, specifically), fans are encouraged to enter at the intersection of Sepulveda Blvd. and Constitution Ave. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children 16 years and younger. Parking costs $5. Fans can take advantage of UCLA's family 4-pack Fridays - for $24 dollars, you can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and one family popcorn on Friday evenings (available at the ticket stand on day of game only). UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, sodas and much more classic ballpark food.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
All home baseball games, including this weekend's three-game series against Oral Roberts, will be broadcast live on the Bruins' baseball website at uclabruins.com. 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 on uclabruins.com.
THROUGH 13 GAMES
- UCLA has opened the season with a 13-0 record, the best start on record in school history (dating to 1955).
- UCLA last won 13 straight in 1969, when they entered the College World Series on a 13-game win streak.
- The Bruins have out-hit their opponent in all 13 ballgames, having outscored the opposition by a 112-31 margin.
- The offense ranks third in the Pac-10 in batting average (.355) and first in homers (18) through Tuesday.
- The pitching staff has posted a league-best 2.00 ERA and .188 opponent average through Tuesday.
BACK FROM THE TEXAS BAY
UCLA capped a perfect 4-0 week by sweeping its three games at the 2010 Whataburger College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, last weekend. After downing UC Riverside, 3-2, on Tuesday, March 9, the Bruins notched non-conference victories over Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday (11-3), Mississipi State on Saturday (5-2) and Oklahoma on Sunday (5-2). The Bruins snapped Oklahoma's 10-game win streak in the series finale Sunday.
HERE COME THE GOLDEN EAGLES
The Bruins continue non-conference play with a three-game set against Oral Roberts (5-7). The Golden Eagles and Bruins have faced each other six times, as Oral Roberts owns a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series. Led by seventh-year head coach Rob Walton, Oral Roberts has won each of the last 12 Summit League titles (and automatic NCAA Regional entry). Junior outfielder Joey Winiecki leads the Golden Eagles with a .371 batting average. Junior left-hander Mark Guest leads the ORU pitching staff in strikeouts (20) and innings (22.2).
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomore right-hander Gerrit Cole has struck out a Pac-10-leading 41 batters through a team-high 25.2 innings. Cole, sporting a perfect 4-0 record, leads all conference pitchers with a .136 opponent average and has averaged 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings. After striking out 15 batters in 7.2 innings at Texas A&M Corpus Christi last Friday, Cole secured National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball. Last week, Cole was invited to participate at the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Trials (June 5-11) in Cary. N.C. He went 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA in six games for the USA National Team in the summer of 2009.
BAUER BRINGS IT
Sophomore right-hander Trevor Bauer earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors (March 8-14) after recording a career-high 15 strikeouts in eight-plus innings against Mississippi State on Sunday. He has gone 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA, collecting 38 strikeouts and six walks in 22.2 innings. Through Tuesday's games, Bauer ranked second in the Pac-10 in strikeouts (38) and third in opponent average (.165). He was named Tournament MVP at the Whataburger College Classic and earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball.
Senior Blair Dunlap enters the weekend series against Oral Roberts carrying an eight-game hitting streak. Dunlap has batted .375, going 15-for-40 with two homers, five doubles, five RBI and 11 runs. He led UCLA with a 2-for-4 effort with two runs in a 5-2 victory against Mississippi State on Saturday. The Bruins' most veteran player (151 games), Dunlap is a two-time All-NCAA Regional selection (2006, 2008) and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Academic Team honors as a junior last spring.
Sophomore second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla has posted a team-leading .420 batting average, starting each of the Bruins' 13 games at second base and hitting in the lineup's No. 3 spot. Rahmatulla, a former standout at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., leads the Bruins with eight multiple-hit games, including two three-hit efforts this season. He batted .438, going 7-for-16, with his first career home run, one triple, four RBI and four runs in the Bruins' four victories last week. In addition, he was a perfect 3-for-3 on the basepaths last week in those four wins.
Senior first baseman Justin Uribe has batted .378 with a .453 on-base percentage in 13 games this season. Uribe has made the switch to first base, having started 12 games at that position this spring. Uribe has batted .500 (6-for-12) when leading off an inning for the Bruins and boasts a career .309 batting average. In 122 career games (103 starts), Uribe has collected six homers, 25 doubles, 60 RBI and 65 runs. He has hit safely in 11 of the team's 13 games and opened the season with a seven-game hitting streak.
STRONG AS A BULL
UCLA's bullpen has gone 4-0 with three saves in 36.2 innings, posting a 1.23 ERA and .213 opponent batting average. Right-hander Dan Klein (closer) has not allowed any runs in 11.0 innings, notching three saves along with 14 strikeouts and two walks in a team-leading nine appearances. Left-hander Matt Grace has tossed 5.1 innings in eight games, totaling nine strikeouts and one walk. Right-hander Erik Goeddel has logged a 2.70 ERA and 2-0 record, recording 12 strikeouts and four walks in 10.0 innings.
Entering the 2010 season, the Bruins returned just four players who hit a combined 13 of UCLA's 54 home runs in 2009. Through 13 games, UCLA has belted a Pac-10-best 18 home runs. Blair Dunlap smacked the first pitch as UCLA's leadoff hitter in the first inning of its season opener for a home run (Feb. 19, vs. Southern). Steve Rodriguez leads the conference with five homers - including two against Bethune Cookman (Feb. 20) on national television (MLB Network). Dean Espy and Niko Gallego have each clubbed three home runs.
FRESHMEN IN THE OUTFIELD
Freshmen outfielders Beau Amaral and Cody Keefer have opened their UCLA careers in flourishing fashion. Amaral, who hails from Huntington Beach, Calif., has batted .351 with one home run, five RBI and seven runs in 12 games (nine starts, all in center field). Keefer, a native of Davis, Calif., has batted .400 with a .526 on-base percentage, the third-highest mark in the Pac-10 through Tuesday's games. Keefer went 4-for-10 (.400) witih three walks and one hit-by-pitch in UCLA's three victories in Corpus Christi, Texas, last weekend.
KINGS OF THE K
The Bruins' pitching staff leads the Pac-10 with 173 strikeouts, averaging 13.3 punchouts per nine innings. UCLA struck out 19 batters in a 5-3 victory in game two of its doubleheader against Nebraska on March 5. No Bruin team has recorded 19 or more strikeouts since before 2001. In three games last weekend, UCLA struck out 43 batters through 27.0 innings, issuing just 11 walks and scattering 18 hits. Through Tuesday's action, Gerrit Cole leads the Pac-10 with 41 strikeouts and Trevor Bauer is tied for second with 38. The Bruins' staff has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in 11 of the team's 13 games.
GETTING IT DONE
UCLA's offense has had a host of top performers this season. Entering Friday evening's series opener, nine players with at least 20 at-bats have batted .300 or better. Catcher Steve Rodriguez leads the ballclub with five homers, third baseman Dean Espy ranks first with 14 RBI and three players (Tyler Rahmatulla, Niko Gallego and Steve Rodriguez) have scored a team-leading 13 runs. As a group, the Bruins have posted a .355 batting average, the third-highest mark among Pac-10 teams through Tuesday's games.
ON THE HORIZON
Following this weekend's three-game series against defending Summit League champion Oral Roberts, the Bruins will play at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, March 23 (2 p.m.) before hosting Cal Poly for three games beginning Thursday, March 25. UCLA and Cal Poly will play at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday before closing the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. After a midweek game against Pepperdine on Tuesday, March 30 (6 p.m.), UCLA will open Pac-10 play against No. 23 Stanford on Thursday, April 1 (6 p.m.) at the Bruins' Jackie Robinson Stadium.
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