No. 5 UCLA Baseball Hosts Long Beach State on Tuesday Evening
April 19, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The No. 5 UCLA baseball team hosts Long Beach State in a non-conference contest Tuesday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m., and admission costs just $2 for adults and children as part of the Bruins' ongoing 'Two-Dollar Tuesday' promotion. Senior right-hander Garett Claypool (5-1, 1.85 ERA) will make the start for UCLA (27-5).
Tuesday, April 20 (6 p.m.) - at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium
Long Beach State - Eddie Magallon, RHP, Fr. (0-1, 3.80)
UCLA - Garett Claypool, RHP, Sr. (5-1, 1.85)
LOOKING TO THE WEEKEND
No. 5 UCLA (27-5, 5-4) at No. 17 Arizona (26-9, 7-5)
Friday, April 23 (6 p.m.)
Saturday, April 24 (6 p.m.)
Sunday, April 25 (12 p.m.)
GETTING TO JACKIE ROBINSON STADIUM
Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium is located on the grounds of the West L.A. Veteran Administration, north of Wilshire Blvd. and west of the 405 Freeway. Admission to all home games costs $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 16 and under). UCLA's baseball concession stand is stocked with hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, chili, sodas and much more classic ballpark food. Parking on the VA grounds costs $5.
LISTEN LIVE ONLINE
All home baseball games, including this week's Tuesday evening game against Long Beach State, will be broadcast live online 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, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates of the game in progress on uclabruins.com.
The Bruins have enjoyed strong crowds at home, posting a 17-4 record in 21 games played at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Last weekend, the Bruins dropped two of three games at home to Oregon. In the series finale on Sunday, UCLA welcomed 1,986 fans in one of the best draws to Jackie Robinson Stadium in recent history. To accomodate the near-record-breaking crowds, UCLA has added seating for up to 650 additional fans at Jackie Robinson Stadium, allowing the facility to accomodate as many as 2,000 spectators.
Senior Garett Claypool will make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday night against Long Beach State. Claypool has gone 5-1 with a Pac-10 leading 1.85 ERA in 43.2 innings this spring, having totaled 50 strikeouts and 10 walks while holding the opposition to a conference-best .158 batting average. In six starts, he has gone 4-1 with a 2.10 ERA, collecting 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 34.1 innings. Throwing in relief, Claypool earned the victory in UCLA's 16-inning game at Oregon State (April 10), allowing one hit in 4.2 scoreless innings.
The Bruins open the week ranked No. 5, nationally, by Baseball America and Rivals.com. In addition, UCLA is ranked No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, No. 7 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association (NCBWA) and No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball. The Bruins were ranked No. 1 by Baseball America and Rivals.com on April 12, marking UCLA's first midseason No. 1 ranking since earning the top spot on March 3, 1997, from both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
UCLA enters Tuesday's action leading the Pac-10 with 368 strikeouts (ahead of second-best Arizona State, 309). The Bruins' three weekend starting pitchers are the conference's top three strikeout leaders - Gerrit Cole (76), Trevor Bauer (72) and Rob Rasmussen (69). Garett Claypool sits just outside the Pac-10's top-10 strikeout leaders with 50 punchouts. As a team, the Bruins are averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings and have surrendered 6.5 hits per nine innings.
WORTH AN ESPY
Sophomore Dean Espy has excelled as a corner infielder in his first season with the Bruins. Leading UCLA with a .400 batting average, Espy transferred to UCLA last summer after having starred at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix in 2009. He leads the Bruins in RBI (29) and slugging percentage (.667) and is tied with Brett Krill and Steve Rodriguez for the team lead in homers, with five. In addition, Espy leads the Bruins in Pac-10 play wtih a .407 batting average and 11 hits.
Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla has been one of two Bruins (with freshman Cody Keefer) to have started all 32 games. Rahmatulla enters the week second on the team in batting average (.383) and ranks first among all UCLA hitters with 44 hits, 31 runs, a .500 on-base percentage and nine stolen bases. Rahmatulla has tallied the game-winning RBI in seven games this season, including last Tuesday evening's 10-0 victory at UC Riverside. He is tied for third (with three players) in the Pac-10 in on-base percentage (.500).
Senior Blair Dunlap leads the team with 16 doubles, ranks second with 41 hits and is third with a .366 batting average. Dunlap is tied for ninth place on UCLA's career doubles list with 44 two-baggers. The resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., netted his 44th career double in the Bruins' 5-1 victory on Sunday against Oregon, pushing himself into a three-way tie on the career list with Brandon Crawford and Pete Zamora. Dunlap, who led UCLA with 17 doubles in 2009, is five doubles shy of fifth place on the school's all-time list.
SIX IN A ROW
Left-hander Rob Rasmussen has earned the victory in each of his last six starts (dating back to a 5-2 win over then-No. 25 Oklahoma on March 14). Sporting a 6-0 record this spring, Rasmussen has posted a 2.52 ERA, collecting 69 strikeouts and 21 walks in 50.0 innings. The native of Arcadia, Calif., limited Oregon to four hits in 6.1 scoreless innings last Sunday, striking out six batters while walking two.
Sophomore right-hander Dan Klein has been named to the Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, as announced in mid-April by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association. Klein leads UCLA with seven saves, having logged a 2-0 record and 0.36 ERA. The resident of Los Alamitos, Calif., has collected 35 strikeouts and seven walks in 25.0 innings. He ranks third in saves in the Pac-10, and is tied for seventh with Bobby Roe (1998) on UCLA's single-season saves list.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Sophomore right-hander Gerrit Cole leads the Pac-10 with 76 strikeouts and ranks third with a .178 opponent batting average. Cole is one eight Pac-10 pitchers to have earned six or more wins. He was saddled with his first loss of the season in a 5-4 setback against Oregon last Friday. Cole enters the week with a 6-1 record and 2.98 ERA, having averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He earned the victory in his first six starts this season. Cole struck out a career-high 15 batters in an 11-3 win at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on March 12.
THE BAUER FILE
Sophomore right-hander Trevor Bauer has gone 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts, collecting 72 strikeouts in a team-high 57.2 innings. In a 16-inning UCLA victory two weeks ago at then-No. 17 Oregon State, Bauer scattered six hits through 7.1 scoreless innings, recording eight strikeouts. He was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week and secured National Player of the Week honors March 15 after having allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings, recording 15 strikeouts and two walks, in a 5-2 victory over Mississippi State (March 13).
UCLA has gone 5-2 against teams ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll (team ranked in poll on day of game). UCLA defeated then-No. 25 Oklahoma, 5-2, in the Whataburger College Classic (March 14) before winning two of three games against then-No. 19 Stanford and then-No. 17 Oregon State. One year ago, the Bruins went 8-13 against top-25 competition, playing more games and earning more victories against top-25 teams than any other Pac-10 program. UCLA is slated to play 10 more games against top-25 teams this year.
UCLA's 16-inning victory two weeks ago at Oregon State marked the program's longest game (by innings) since an 18-inning game at Arizona State on Feb. 23, 1990. The Bruins lost 6-5 in the series opener at Arizona State that evening before 4,037 fans. The longest extra-inning game in Pac-10 history came in 1972, as Washington and Oregon State played a 20-inning contest (date, score unknown). UCLA's 3-1 win against Oregon State lasted six hours, 23 minutes and featured 12 pitchers (eight by Oregon State, four by UCLA).
AROUND THE PAC
In what may be one of the most hotly-contested Pac-10 races in recent memory, five Pac-10 ballclubs are currently ranked in Baseball America's top 25, and six teams have been ranked in at least one of the five college baseball weekly polls. Arizona State has a one-game lead over second-place California. Five teams are within two games of each other in the conference standings (see page 7 of notes for complete standings). The Bruins are currently fifth in the Pac-10, with a 5-4 record, and are 2.5 games behind first-place Arizona State.
HOW WE COMPARE
Entering Tuesday's midweek action, UCLA's pitching staff leads the Pac-10 in ERA (2.44), strikeouts (368) and opponent batting average (.200). The Bruins rank second in wins (27) and have allowed the fifth-fewest walks (106). UCLA's offense is third in the Pac-10 in batting average (.322) and slugging percentage (.478) and ranks third in on-base percentage (.409). The Bruins are second in the Pac-10 with 29 home runs and are tied for fourth with 76 doubles (along with Washington State).
BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore Steve Rodriguez has started as UCLA's catcher in 26 of 32 games this spring. He is tied for the team lead in home runs (five) with Dean Espy and Brett Krill. Sporting a .286 batting average, Rodriguez delievered the game-winning two-RBI single in UCLA's 16-inning, 3-1 victory at Oregon State (April 10), going 4-for-8 in that contest. He has helped guide the Bruins' pitching staff to a Pac-10-leading 2.44 ERA and .200 opponent batting average. UCLA catchers have limited the opposition to 29 steal attempts, third-fewest among all Pac-10 programs. At the plate, he has totaled five doubles, one triple, 19 RBI and 21 runs.
LOOKING FOR RELIEF
UCLA's bullpen has gone 6-1 with a 2.10 ERA and nine saves through 32 games. The Bruins' relief corps has logged 116 strikeouts and 32 walks, posting a .204 opponent batting average. Eight relief pitchers have combined to make 79 appearances out of the bullpen. No relief appearance may have been more impressive than that of right-hander Garett Claypool in UCLA's 16-inning victory at Oregon State on April 10. Claypool earned the victory that evening, limiting the Beavers to one hit in 4.2 scoreless innings.