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Bruins Welcome Pepperdine, Omaha for Back-to-Back Midweeks

Feb 21, 2022
Cody Schrier (photo: Scott Chandler)

No. 21 UCLA (2-1) vs. Pepperdine (3-0)
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Jackie Robinson Stadium)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
TV Talent: Jim Watson (pbp), Ryan Spilborghs (analyst)
Stream: Pac-12 Now App /
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Audio Play-by-Play Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats

No. 21 UCLA (2-1) vs. Omaha (1-3)
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Jackie Robinson Stadium)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
TV Talent: Jim Watson (pbp), Ryan Spilborghs (analyst)
Stream: Pac-12 Now App /
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Audio Play-by-Play Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats

No. 21 UCLA Hosts Pepperdine, Omaha in Back-to-Back Midweeks    
The No. 21-ranked UCLA baseball team (2-1) continues its season-opening nine-game homestand this week by hosting Pepperdine (3-0) and Omaha (1-3) in a pair of midweek games at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins welcome in the Waves on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. PT, followed by the Mavericks on Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. PT. Both games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, with Jim Watson and Ryan Spilborghs on the call. Fans can also follow along with an internet radio broadcast, live stats, and Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball

Quick Hits    

  • UCLA is 2-1 so far on the year after taking two-of-three from CSUN at home to open the campaign
  • The Bruins tossed a combined 3-hitter on Opening Day, and allowed just 18 hits on the weekend (5.2 H/9). 
  • Three Bruin regulars hit .300 or better vs. CSUN, including freshmen Malakhi Knight (.417) and Ethan Gourson (.400)
  • UCLA went a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts against CSUN, including a team-high 4 SBs from Kenny Oyama
  • UCLA's current freshman class was the No. 1-ranked recruit class in the country
  • UCLA had six players on D1Baseball's Top 100 Impact Freshmen List, more than any other school in the country
  • UCLA plays its first 9 games of 2022 at home, and doesn't play a true road game until Mar. 22
  • The Bruins went 37-20 in 2021 and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament
  • UCLA had an NCAA-high 10 players selected in the 2021 MLB Draft

Projected Pitching Matchups
Tuesday, Feb. 22 - 6:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Ethan Flanagan, LHP, Fr. (first-career appearance)
Wednesday, Feb. 23 - 6:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Thatcher Hurd, RHP, Fr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 2 IP)

The Weekend In Review    
UCLA opened the season with a series win over local rival CSUN, taking the Opening Day win and clinching the series with a 13-inning triumph in Sunday's rubber match. 

  • UCLA cruised to a 9-2 Opening Day victory, opening up a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning. Jake Brooks (5 IP, 0 R) was outstanding on the mound, and the Bruins used a balance offense (every starter reached base, all but two had a hit) to keep pressure up. Offensive standouts included Michael Curialle (4-5, RBI) and Jake Moberg (3-4, RBI). 
  • The Bruins strugged to get the bats going Saturday, as they were held off the scoreboard until the ninth inning in a 6-4 loss. Still, the game ended up being close as UCLA rallied for four runs and got the tying run into scoring position in the last of the ninth. The first six batters of that frame reached for the Bruins, with Jack Holman (bases-loaded double) providing the big swing of the inning in his first-ever college AB. 
  • UCLA finished off the series with a 5-3 win in 13 innings Sunday. Kelly Austin (6 IP, 0 R, 8 K) looked like he was going to key the Bruins to a 3-0 shutout win, but CSUN evened the game with two outs in the ninth on a three-run home run from Andrew Sojka. The teams traded tense zeroes until freshman Ethan Gourson blasted an opposite field two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th to win it. Jake Palmer (game-saving stab of a liner at 1B with the infield drawn in during the 11th inning) and Jake Saum (allowed just a single in 2.1 relief innings) also played key roles in extras.

UCLA on Opening Weekend    
With the weekend's results, UCLA improved to 12-6 all-time on Opening Day under head coach John Savage, and won their opening series for the eighth time in the last 10 years. 

Walk It Off    
Ethan Gourson's game-winning, 13th inning home run against CSUN was UCLA's first walk-off home run since Michael Toglia hit a three-run blast against East Carolina on Apr. 13, 2019 (UCLA won, 8-5). 

On The Move    
UCLA was busy on the basepaths against CSUN, going 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts. UCLA currently ranks No. 10 in the NCAA in total stolen bases, and No. 8 in stolen bases per game (3.67). The Bruins' five stolen bases on Friday were the team's most in single game since Apr. 3, 2018 (6 vs. Loyola Marymount), and UCLA's 11 stolen bases over the weekend represented the program's most for a single series in over 10 years. 

Happy to Be Home    
UCLA's 2022 schedule is home-heavy, especially in the early going. The Bruins open the new campaign with a nine-game homestand, and will play 16 games at Jackie Robinson Stadium before the team's first true road game: Mar. 22 at Loyola Marymount (the latest road opener in program history). The Bruins will play three neutral games at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Tex. from Mar. 4-6 as part of the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. 

In The Polls    
UCLA enters the week ranked in four of five major national polls, appearing as high as No. 21 (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball) while also checking in at No. 23 (NCBWA). The Bruins were ranked No. 24 in the preseason USA TODAY Coaches Poll, which wasn't updated Monday. 

UCLA Brings in Nation's No. 1 Recruiting Class    

  • UCLA's 2022 roster has been bolstered by a strong recruiting class, which received a No. 1 national recruit class ranking from three separate outlets (D1Baseball, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball). 
  • The group features three players from the top-100, and five from the top-125, of Baseball America's top 500 prospect list for the 2021 Draft.
  •  The newest group of Bruins is headlined by four players ranked inside the top-100 nationally by Perfect Game in outfielder Malakhi Knight (No. 26), right-handed pitcher Thatcher Hurd (36), infielder Cody Schrier (43), and left-handed pitcher Gage Jump (45).
  • The Bruins also brought in talented transfers from the four-year and junior college ranks including outfielder Kenny Oyama (batted .320 last season at Loyola Marymount), outfielder Jake Palmer (career .446 OBP at UC Irvine), and right-handed pitcher Kelly Austin (6-0, 1.26 ERA last season at Orange Coast College).
  • The class also features standout prep players in RHP Alonzo Tredwell (No. 164 national ranking from Perfect Game), RHP Luke Jewett (195), OF Nick McLain (211, younger brother of Bruin alum Matt McLain), C Jack Holman (292), and INF Bryce Grudzielanek (314). The class is rounded out by RHP Josh Alger (No. 342 in the BA Top-500 Draft rankings) RHP Nate Leibold (2.19 ERA in the WCL), LHP Ethan Flanagan (Orange County All-Star), and INF Ethan Gourson (All-CIF shortstop).

The Series Against Pepperdine    
UCLA leads the all-time series against Pepperdine, 66-39-4. The Bruins have won six staight against Pepperdine dating back to 2016, and are 20-6 against them under head coach John Savage. 

Last Year Against Pepperdine    
The Bruins won both matchups against Pepperdine in 2021, defeating the Waves 16-8 at home on Mar. 5 as part of the College Baseball Classic tournament, then edging them 5-4 in Malibu on Apr. 20. The two were supposed to meet a third time - a midweek at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Mar. 30 - but that contest was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. UCLA scored seven runs in the eighth on Mar. 5 to pull away in that contest, with key offensive performers including Michael Curialle (3-4, 4 R, 4 RBIs) and Josh Hahn (2-3, 2 RBIs). UCLA trailed 3-1 after one in the road contest, but Daniel Colwell (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R) led a Bruin bullpen effort that gave up just one run the rest of the way. Kyle Cuellar (4-5) was the key offensive performer, as UCLA pulled ahead with a three-run rally in the fourth inning and never gave up the lead.

The Series Against Omaha    
UCLA is 1-0 all-time against Omaha, defeating them by a score of 5-2 in the first game for both teams in the 2019 Los Angeles Regional. The top-seeded Bruins received 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball from 2019 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Ryan Garcia in that contest, and the offense strung together four singles for a decisive three-run rally in the sixth inning. No current Bruins appeared in that 2019 matchup, though Jake Moberg, Jack Filby, and Daniel Colwell were all on the roster.

Midweek Notes    
UCLA is 21-1 in midweeks since the start of 2019, including unbeaten marks of 11-0 in 2019 and 8-0 in 2021. UCLA defeated LMU, Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, and Nevada in midweek action last year, outscoring the opposition 75-28 in those games. The Bruins outhit their opponents .327 to .199 in midweeks last season, and had a 2.88 ERA (opponents: 7.93). Six UCLA regulars hit over .300 in midweeks including Kevin Kendall (.500), Pat Caulfield (.462),  Michael Curialle (.400), JT Schwartz, (.346), Matt McLain (.333), and Mikey Perez (.300) while five of the 11 pitchers the Bruins used in midweek games did not yield an earned run.

Savage Approaching Milestones in 2022    
UCLA head coach John Savage is on the verge of a pair of milestones during the 2022 season. As of Monday, he needs nine wins to reach 600 at UCLA, and he needs 21 victories to reach 700 overall for his career. 

UCLA Lands NCAA-High Six Players on D1Baseball Impact Freshmen list    
D1Baseball released its annual list of the projected Top 100 Impact Freshen in college baseball on Feb. 17, and the Bruins led the country with six inclusions on the list. Only Florida and Texas Tech (four apiece) came close to matching the Bruins. The UCLA selections included LHP Gage Jump (No. 9), INF Cody Schrier (26), RHP Thatcher Hurd (40), OF Malakhi Knight (65), INF Ethan Gourson (79) and OF Nick McLain (89). 

Plenty of Kenny    
Thanks in part to the game going 13 innings, UCLA leadoff hitter Kenny Oyama recorded 7 at-bats on Sunday. He becomes the first Bruin to have 7 ABs in a game since Brett Urabe and Brett Stephens both did so against USC back on Mar. 6, 2016. Oyama led the Bruins in both hits (6) and stolen bases (4) during the CSUN series, and was the lone player from either team to collect multiple hits in all three games of the set. 

Looking Back at 2021    

  • UCLA went 37-20 overall in 2021, hitting the 30-win plateau for the 12th time under John Savage
  • The Bruins posted an 18-12 record in Pac-12 play, finishing fourth in the league standings
  • UCLA earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and was placed in the Lubbock Regional at Texas Tech
  • The Bruins went an undefeated 8-0 in midweeks
  • JT Schwartz (.396) was the Pac-12 Batting Champion, UCLA's first since 2001
  • The Bruin pitching staff was led by breakout campaigns from Sean Mullen (3.39 ERA), Max Rajcic (1.65 ERA) and Adrian Chaidez (2.20 ERA)
  • UCLA was the only Pac-12 team to finish top-three in the league in both offense (7.3 runs per game, second) and pitching (3.95 team ERA, third)
  • The Bruins had 10 players selected in the 2021 MLB Draft, the most of any school in the country
  • SS Matt McLain was selected No. 17 overall by Cincinnati, giving UCLA a first-round pick in three consecutive drafts for the first time in program history