Bruins Set to Host UC Riverside For Three
No. 21 UCLA (2-3) vs. UC Riverside (0-4)
Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 - 2:00 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 - 1:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Jackie Robinson Stadium)
Stream: Pac-12 Now App / Pac-12.com
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Audio Play-by-Play Talent: Nick Koop
No. 21 UCLA Battles UC Riverside at Jackie Robinson Stadium
The No. 21-ranked UCLA baseball team (2-3) continues its season-opening nine-game homestand this weekend by hosting Big West-member UC Riverside for a three-game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The set opens Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and continues at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be streamed live on UCLABruins.com, with Nick Koop on the call. Fans can also follow along with an internet radio broadcast, live stats, and Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.
- UCLA is 2-3 so far on the year following a series win over CSUN and a pair of midweek losses
- Bruin starting pitchers have allowed 1 ER or fewer in four of five games, and 2 ER or fewer in all five games so far
- The Bruins tossed a combined 3-hitter on Opening Day, and allowed just 18 hits last weekend (5.2 H/9).
- Bruin pitchers have struck out 15+ batters in three straight games, and 17+ in back-to-back games
- Entering the weekend, UCLA's 64 total pitching strikeouts lead the country
- UCLA is 16-18 this season in stolen base attempts (89% success rate), including a team-high 7 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
Friday, Feb. 25 - 6:00 p.m. PT
UCLA - Jake Brooks, RHP, So. (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
UCR - Zach Jacobs, RHP, RSo. (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
Saturday, Feb. 26 - 2:00 p.m. PT
UCLA - Max Rajcic, RHP, So. (0-1, 3.60 ERA)
UCR - Joey Magrisi, RHP, Jr. (0-1, 30.86 ERA)
Sunday, Feb. 27 - 1:00 p.m. PT
UCLA - Kelly Austin, RHP, RSo. (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
UCR - Tyler Frazier, RHP, RJr. (0-1, 11.57 ERA)
The Week In Review
UCLA has gone 3-2 over the season's first week:
- 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.
- Ethan Flanagan (8 Ks in 3.2 IP), Alonzo Tredwell (7 Ks in 2.2 IP), and Luke Jewett (2 Ks in 1.2 IP) combined to strike out 17 batters in eight innings on Tuesday against Pepperdine, but the Waves rallied for six runs in the ninth inning (including a grand slam from John Peck) to take a 7-5 midweek decision. Daylen Reyes had two hits in his first start of the year, including an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
- Thatcher Hurd was masterful (5 IP, 11 K, 1 ER) in his debut NCAA start Wednesday, but Omaha rallied for seven runs over the seventh and eighth innings to win, 9-4. Malakhi Knight (2-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBIs) had a strong night offensively for UCLA, while Kenny Oyama reached base three times and swiped two bases.
On The Move
UCLA has been busy on the basepaths so far in 2022, stealing 16 bases over five games at an 89% success rate. The Bruins rank sixth in the country in total stolen bases, and 14th in stolen bases per game (3.2). UCLA has swiped at least three bags in four of five games so far this year, including each game of the CSUN series. Kenny Oyama (7-7) has been the Bruins' most dangerous runner, while Cody Schrier (2-4), Michael Curialle (2-2), and Alex Fernandes (2-2) all have multiple SBs. UCLA's 11 stolen bases against CSUN to were the team's most in any weekend series over the last 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.
Racking Up The Strikeouts
UCLA pitchers (and almost exclusively newcomers) have been piling up the Ks over the last few games. The Bruins have registered 35 strikeouts over the last two games, including a season-high 18 against Omaha on Wednesday, and have totaled 15+ strikeouts in three consecutive games (the first time UCLA has accomplished that feat over the last 10 years). Entering the weekend, UCLA leads the country in total strikeouts (64) and paces the Pac-12 Conference with an 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings ratio.
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 UC Riverside
UCLA leads the all-time series against UC Riverside, 25-13. That includes a 12-7 mark under current head coach John Savage. This is the third weekend series between the Highlanders and Bruins since 2005, all at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins have swept each of the last two sets. UCR most recently picked up a win in Westwood on Feb. 21, 2017 in a midweek contest.
Last Time Out Against UCR
The Bruins swept a three-game series from UCR at Jackie Robinson Stadium to open the 2020 season (Feb. 14-16, 2020). UCLA outscored UCR 21-3 that weekend, and allowed just 12 hits over the course of the series including a three-hitter in the series finale. Among Bruins still on the team, Michael Curialle (5-13, 2 HR, 5 RBIs) had the strongest performance against UCR in 2020.
Savage Approaching Milestones in 2022
UCLA head coach John Savage is on track to hit a pair of milestones during the 2022 season. Entering the weekend, 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 against CSUN. 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. Oyama has been one of the most profific base-stealers nationwide in the early-going: entering the weekend he ranks fourth in the country in stolen bases, and only one player (Texas Southern's Johnathon Thomas at 14-14) has more steals than him and an 100% success rate.
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).
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
So far in 2022, many new Bruins have been seeing plenty of the field. On the position player side, six newcomers have started a game for UCLA, including four true freshmen. On the pitching side, three newcomers have started on the mound (two freshmen) and another two have appeared out of the bullpen.
Strong Start for Malakhi Knight
True freshman center fielder Malakhi Knight has been UCLA's most-consistent hitter through the opening five games, leading the team's regulars in all three slash categories (.368/.500/.684) as well as runs (6), RBIs (5), and extra-base hits (3). He's hit safely in four of five games entering the weekend, and clubbed the Bruins' first home run of the 2022 season (on Opening Day vs. CSUN).