UCLA Baseball Hosts Stanford in Key Conference Series
Los Angeles, Calif. - The UCLA Baseball team returns home this weekend to host the Stanford Cardinal in a three-game series from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game times are 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, May 2 - 6 p.m.
STAN – Cal Quantrill, RHP, Fr. (3-4, 3.11)
UCLA – James Kaprielian, RHP, So. (5-4, 2.53)
Saturday, May 3 - 7 p.m.
STAN – John Hochstatter, LHP, Jr. (6-1, 1.93)
UCLA – Grant Watson, LHP, Jr. (4-6, 3.69)
Sunday, May 4 - 1 p.m.
STAN – TBA
UCLA – Cody Poteet, RHP, So. (3-2, 3.83)
UCLA VS. STANFORD
The Cardinal hold a 194-147 advantage in the all-time series while head coach John Savage has an all-time record of 13-14 against Stanford. Last season, UCLA and Stanford met in the final regular season series of the year up in Palo Alto where the Cardinal took two of three from the Bruins. UCLA last won a season series over Stanford in 2010, taking two of three from the Cardinal at Jackie Robinson Stadium that year.
SATURDAY’S GAME TO BE TELEVISED BY ESPNU
Saturday night’s game against the Cardinal will be nationally televised live by ESPNU. Roxy Bernstein and Randy Flores will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. This season, UCLA will enjoy more national exposure than ever with 19 televised games between the Pac-12 Networks and ESPN. UCLA has made eight appearances already on the Pac-12 Networks and will make 17 total appearances on the Pac-12 Networks this year. Saturday’s game will be UCLA’s second appearance on ESPNU after the Bruins’ game at Arizona on April 12 was televised live by the network. In total, eight of the 19 TV appearances will come at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
All three of UCLA's games vs. Stanford this weekend will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Fans can also follow all three games online through a live stats link, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on uclabruins.com. Links can be found on the front page of uclabruins.com on the events calendar or on the 2014 UCLA Baseball schedule page.
NO. 1 STARTER
Sophomore right-hander James Kaprielian will take the mound for the Bruins on Friday night in the series opener. After earning freshman All-America honors from Perfect Game USA and Collegiate Baseball in 2013, Kaprielian has continued that success into 2014, posting a 5-4 record with a 2.53 ERA and a team-high 72 strikeouts. His 72 strikeouts are good for second-most in the conference and 37th-most in the nation. In addition, Kaprielian’s 2.53 ERA is the lowest among all UCLA starting pitchers and his 74.2 innings pitched leads all UCLA pitchers (fifth-most in the Pac-12). Kaprielian has also held opposing hitters to a .204 batting average against him, the fifth-lowest opposing average in the Pac-12, and has allowed two runs or less in eight of his 11 starts this season. In addition, Kaprielian has pitched at least six innings in nine of his 11 starts (including the last seven) and has struck out at least seven batters in six of those 11 starts.
CONTINUING THE SERIES
Junior left-hander Grant Watson will start game two of the series on Saturday night for the Bruins. Watson is 4-6 in 12 appearances (11 starts) this season, striking out 51 batters in 70.2 innings pitched while posting a 3.69 ERA. Additionally, his 51 strikeouts are the 11th-most in the conference. In his career, Watson has logged a 21-10 record as a starter and he has pitched at least six innings in eight of his 11 starts this season. In his last start against USC, Watson took a tough loss despite giving up just three runs in seven innings pitched.
Sophomore right-hander Cody Poteet will start for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon in the series finale. Poteet served as UCLA’s midweek starter in 2013, posting a 4-6 overall record with a 4.84 ERA. He struck out 56 batters in 2013 and this past summer played with the Walla Walla Sweets of the West Coast League, being selected as one of the league’s All-Stars. This season, he is 3-2 in 13 appearances (11 starts), logging an ERA of 3.83 while striking out 38 batters. He has also surrendered just 10 walks all season, the fifth-fewest in the conference. In his last start vs. USC, Poteet put together a quality start by tossing seven shutout innings for the Bruins. He struck out one and scattered four hits in his seven innings of work, earning a no-decision.
UCLA traveled up the 101 freeway on Tuesday and played UC Santa Barbara to a 5-5 tie after the game was called after the bottom of the 12th due to darkness. The Bruins’ bullpen combined to throw eight shutout innings in the ballgame while closer David Berg returned to the pitching staff after missing the last seven games due to an injury. Sophomore Ty Moore led UCLA at the plate, going 4-5 with three RBI and a run while senior Brian Carroll followed that up with a 2-4 game that included two runs scored, a RBI and two stolen bases. This was the first tie in head coach John Savage’s 10-year tenure as UCLA head coach (second in his career) and UCLA’s first tie as a program since Feb. 5, 1997 at Cal State Northridge.
PLAYING FROM AHEAD
In the last two seasons, UCLA has done a tremendous job of getting an early lead and then not relinquishing that lead. The Bruins are a combined 44-14-1 when they score first in the last two seasons and since the start of 2013 are 59-2 when leading after the seventh inning. Additionally, UCLA has a record of 26-7 in the last two seasons when scoring in the first inning.
Since the start of 2010, UCLA has gone 90-39-1 in all road and neutral site contests, good for a .696 winning percentage. The Bruins have also gone 46-20 in Pac-12 road games since 2010. In the last three seasons, UCLA has gone 45-17-1 on the road and 10-2 in neutral site games. The Bruins have logged six Pac-12 road sweeps in the last four years (2010 at Washington, California; 2011 at Oregon; 2012 at Washington, Utah; 2013 at USC; 2014 at California) and one non-conference road sweep (2012 at Georgia). The Bruins are currently 9-5-1 on the road this season.
TAKING THE HITS
UCLA has done a remarkable job this season of reaching base via the hit by pitch. Overall, UCLA hitters have been hit 67 times in 42 games thus far, which is second to Oregon for the most in the Pac-12. Sophomore Ty Moore leads the Bruins individually with 12 hit by pitches, which is also good for fourth-most in the conference. Senior Brian Carroll and sophomore Christoph Bono are right behind Moore with 10 hit by pitches apiece. UCLA has had a batter get hit by a pitch in 19 of its last 22 games and has had a total of 41 batters get hit by a pitch in those 22 games. Last season, the Bruins drew 82 hit by pitches, the most in the Pac-12 Conference.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Junior catcher Shane Zeile has continued to hit the ball well during the 2014 season. The Valencia, Calif. native leads the Bruins and ranks seventh in the Pac-12 with a .339 batting average. Zeile, who was named to the 2014 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, given out to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, has also logged a team-high 17 multi-hit games while leading UCLA with 56 total hits and a .415 on-base percentage (10th-best in the Pac-12). His 56 hits rank third in the Pac-12 and he has also reached base safely 23 of his last 26 games. Additionally, Zeile is hitting .323 in his last 14 games and is batting a team-leading .316 with nine RBI and 10 runs scored in conference play. Behind the plate, Zeile has thrown out 15 attempted base stealers, the most in the Pac-12 Conference.
Junior closer David Berg has enjoyed as fine a career as any reliever in the history of college baseball. In three seasons, Berg has made a school record 127 appearances, breaking the previous mark of 119 set by Bill Wenrick from 1984-87, and has posted a 15-4 record with a 1.26 ERA. Berg also owns the NCAA single-season record for saves with 24 in 2013 and tied the NCAA record for most appearances in a season with 51 last year. Additionally, he became the first reliever in conference history to win Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year last season and was UCLA’s first recipient of the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, given out to the nation’s top relief pitcher. Berg was named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the second time in his career in 2013, making him just the 25th UCLA player all-time to receive all-conference acclaim at least twice. In addition, he finished second in the country in both WHIP (0.85) and ERA last year. Berg is the only pitcher in UCLA history to lead the conference in ERA in back-to-back seasons and is UCLA’s all-time record holder for most postseason appearances (17), postseason saves (6) and career saves (34). This season, Berg has thrown 40.1 innings in 26 appearances, all while logging a 3-1 record, nine saves and a 1.56 ERA. Berg has also won 11 of his last 12 decisions dating back to 2012 and his nine saves are the fourth-most in the conference and 29th-most in the country. In addition, Berg has been named to the 2014 watch lists for both the National Pitcher of the Year and NCBWA Stopper of the Year.
HEAD COACH JOHN SAVAGE
Head coach John Savage was named the 2013 National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, the ABCA and Perfect Game USA. By guiding the Bruins to their second straight College World Series last year, Savage became one of just 10 coaches all-time from the Pac-12 to lead their teams to back-to-back College World Series appearances. Additionally, Savage is one of just five coaches in college baseball history to have led his team to one CWS championship, produced a No. 1 MLB Draft pick and coached a Golden Spikes Award winner. Savage helped UCLA post an overall 49-17 record in 2013, marking the second-highest single-season win total in school history, and is UCLA’s all-time winningest postseason manager with 32 postseason victories. UCLA also matched a school record with 21 conference victories in 2013. Finally, Savage has guided the Bruins to the postseason in seven of the last eight seasons and has a winning percentage of .687 since 2010.
UCLA’s pitching staff has picked up right where it left off in 2013 as the Bruins continue to string together great performances on the mound this season. UCLA as a team is holding opponents to a .233 batting average, the fourth-lowest in the conference. The Bruins have also allowed the fewest walks (109) in the Pac-12 and own the third-lowest ERA (3.11) and second-most strikeouts (300). The Bruins’ pitchers also own a WHIP of 1.13, the 16th-best in the nation. Additionally, UCLA’s bullpen has posted an ERA of 2.67 in 42 games this season while holding opponents to a .221 batting average. Sophomore Jake Ehret (0.56 ERA) and junior Max Schuh (0.84 ERA) have combined to not allow an earned run in their last 25 innings pitched, with Schuh going 14.2 innings and Ehret going 10.1 innings without allowing an earned run. Schuh also leads the Pac-12 conference with 27 appearances. The Bruins have also allowed three runs or less to the opposition in 24 of their 42 games this season and in the last two seasons are 60-5 when holding the opposing team to three runs or fewer.
SWINGING THE BATS
Several Bruins have been swinging the bat well in Pac-12 play this season. In addition to Shane Zeile hitting a team-high .316, freshman Luke Persico and sophomore Ty Moore are both hitting .309 in conference play. Moore has scored a team-leading 14 runs in Pac-12 games, logging seven RBI and a .441 slugging percentage as well, while Persico has scored eight runs and drove in five. Moore also leads the Bruins with a .377 on-base percentage in conference games only. Senior Kevin Williams has been hitting the ball with power in Pac-12 play, slugging a team-best .485 with two home runs and 17 RBI. Overall, Williams is tied with sophomore Christoph Bono and Zeile for the team lead in RBI with 21 while Moore is tied with Bono with 10 doubles.