No. 6 UCLA Baseball Looks to Extend 20-Game Win Streak Tuesday Versus Pepperdine
March 29, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 6 UCLA baseball team has opened its 2010 season with a perfect 20-0 record and looks to extend its program-best win streak to 21 games against Pepperdine on Tuesday night. Senior right-hander Garett Claypool (2-0) will start for the Bruins. Game time at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Tuesday, March 30 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Pepperdine - Aaron Gates, LHP, So. (1-4, 3.28)
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Sr. (2-0, 1.59)
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. Admission to all Tuesday home games costs just $2 for adults and children. UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, sodas and much more classic ballpark food. 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).
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.
At 20-0, UCLA's baseball team is off to its best start in school history. The Bruins' previous top starts (on record) took place in 1978 (8-0) and 1997 (7-0). UCLA's best one-loss start to a season (16-1) occurred in 1969. UCLA's current 20-game win streak is the team's longest such streak in the program's 91-year history. The Bruins have not been 20 games over .500 or more since finishing the 1997 season with a 45-21-1 record.
Ranked in the top six positions of all five major college baseball polls, UCLA hosts four games in a five-day span this week. The Bruins take on Pepperdine (8-14) on Tuesday evening before opening Pac-10 play Thursday night against Stanford (12-6, 2-1 Pac-10). UCLA will send senior right-hander Garett Claypool (2-0, 1.59 ERA) to the hill Tuesday against the Waves. Pepperdine will start sophomore left-hander Aaron Gates (1-4, 3.28 ERA). The Bruins take on Stanford at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday before closing the series Saturday at 2 p.m.
UCLA picked up its third three-game series sweep of the season last weekend, cruising past Cal Poly. The Bruins overcame deficits on Friday night and Saturday afternoon to push their season-opening record to 20-0. Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla batted .600, going 6-for-10, with three doubles, three runs, three walks and four RBI. Senior Blair Dunlap posted a .571 average, going 8-for-14, with three doubles and two runs. In all, UCLA outscored Cal Poly by a 21-14 margin, batting .366 on the weekend with a .435 on-base percentage.
TOPS IN THE PAC
UCLA's pitching staff leads the Pac-10 Conference in ERA, strikeouts and opponent batting average, through games played Sunday. The Bruins have posted a 2.30 ERA, notching 252 strikeouts in 180.0 innings while limiting the opposition to a .188 batting average. UCLA's pitchers have averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest average of any Pac-10 team this season. Not far behind, the Bruins' offense has posted the second-highest batting average (.364) and second-highest home run total (22) through 20 games.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomores Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole lead all Pac-10 pitchers with 56 strikeouts. Cole has posted a league-best .147 opponent batting average and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 37.2 innings. Bauer's 2.33 ERA is the seventh-lowest mark in the conference, as he ranks seventh with 38.2 innings. Cole is tied with Arizona State's Merrill Kelly for the conference lead in wins with six. Bauer and Arizona State's Jake Borup are the only other pitchers in the Pac-10 to have collected at least five wins.
The Bruins' rotation has posted a 16-0 record and 2.34 ERA, recording 180 strikeouts and 46 walks in 126.2 innings. Gerrit Cole has gone 6-0 with a 2.63 ERA, logging 56 strikeouts and 14 walks in 37.2 innings. Trevor Bauer has gone 5-0 with a 2.33 ERA, totaling 56 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38.2 innings. Rob Rasmussen, the Bruins' third weekend starter, is 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA, including 47 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. As a starting pitcher, Garett Claypool has gone 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 19.2 innings, recording 21 strikeouts and three walks in 19.2 innings through three midweek starts.
Senior Blair Dunlap extended his hitting streak to a career-long 15 games on Saturday, going 2-for-5 in the series finale against Cal Poly. Dunlap batted .579, going 11-for-19, totaling four doubles and four runs in the Bruins' four victories last week. This season, the resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., has posted a .417 batting average. He ranks second on the team in batting average (.417) and hits (30), is tied for first with 10 doubles and is third with 20 runs scored. Dunlap's hitting streak is the longest by a Bruin since 2005 (Chris Jensen, 18).
Entering Tuesday's game against Pepperdine, sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla leads the team with a .453 batting average, 34 hits and a .531 on-base percentage. He is tied for the team lead in runs (21) and doubles (10) and ranks second with 22 RBI. Rahmatulla helped UCLA overcome its latest deficit in any game this year, belting a two-RBI double to hand UCLA a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday, March 25, versus Cal Poly. Through Sunday's games, he ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in batting average and third in on-base percentage.
THE .400 CLUB
Four UCLA hitters with at least 50 at-bats have batted above .400 this season. Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla leads the pack with his .453 mark, while seniors Blair Dunlap (.417) and Justin Uribe (.414) and sophomore Dean Espy (.415) have also made the list. Each of those four .400 hitters rank among the top-10 in the Pac-10 Conference's batting average leaders. The last UCLA player to finish a season with a batting average above the .400 plateau was Brian Baron in 2001, who totaled a single-season school record .431 average.
Three freshmen left-handed hitters - Cody Regis (.389), Cody Keefer (.366) and Beau Amaral (.333) - have helped key UCLA's 20-0 start this season. Regis has split time with fellow rookie Dean Espy (sophomore, transfer from South Mountain CC in Phoenix) at third base, posting a .389 average with eight doubles and 13 RBI. Keefer has notched four doubles, 15 RBI, 19 runs and a team-high 16 walks (.494 OBP, ninth-best in the Pac-10). Amaral has started 14 games in center field, having recorded 19 hits, 12 runs, and eight RBI.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Junior Brett Krill has emerged as a mainstay in the Bruins' lineup, having made 18 starts (all in right field). Krill has batted .356, recording two homers, seven doubles, 13 RBI and 21 runs. The native of Laguna Niguel, Calif., is a perfect six for six in the stolen base department. After having seen minimal playing time as a freshman and sophomore, he has hit safely in 16 of 18 games as a junior and currently boasts a nine-game hitting streak, tied for the second longest active streak on the ballclub with senior Justin Uribe. Krill went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI in a 10-1 win at Long Beach State (Feb. 23).
BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore Steve Rodriguez has started as UCLA's catcher in 16 of 20 games this spring. Rodriguez leads the team with five home runs and is batting at a .333 clip (18-for-54). A talented hitter from the left side, Rodriguez has hit safely in 11 of his 16 starts behind the plate. Rodriguez has produced six two-hit efforts, while helping guide the team's pitching staff to a Pac-10-leading 2.30 ERA and .188 opponent batting average. Along with catchers Trevor Brown and Tyler Heineman, Rodriguez has helped UCLA's defense limited the opposition to 18 steal attempts against, the second-lowest total in the Pac-10.
NOT FAR BEHIND
During the Bruins' 20-0 start, UCLA has trailed in seven ballgames and has been tied (without trailing during the contest) in two games. The Bruins have twice overcome a deficit of three runs, most recently by scoring two runs in the fourth inning and two in the eighth against Cal Poly on Saturday, March 26, to secure their 19th consecutive win. The Bruins have won two games in walkoff fashion, ironically, in back-to-back games. A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning against Nebraska (March 6) and versus UC Riverside (March 9) helped UCLA claim its ninth and 10th wins of the 2010 season.