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UCLA Opens Homestand by Hosting Cal State Fullerton

Mar 7, 2022
Ethan Gourson (photo: Scott Chandler)

No. 15 UCLA (8-4) vs. Cal State Fullerton (2-8)
Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Jackie Robinson Stadium)
Stream: Pac-12 Now App / Pac-12.com
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Play-by-Play Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats

No. 15 UCLA Opens Seven-Game Homestand With Cal State Fullerton Midweek    
After hitting the road for the first time this season, No. 15-ranked UCLA (8-4) returns to Jackie Robinson Stadium for a seven-game homestand, starting on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. against Cal State Fullerton (2-8). The game against the Titans will be steamed live through Pac-12 Plus, with Nick Koop on the call. Fans can also follow along with an internet radio broadcast, live stats, and Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.

Quick Hits    

  • UCLA is 8-4 so far on the year, and has won six of its last seven games
  • Bruin starting pitchers have combined for an 0.83 ERA and 12.2 K/9 ratio through 12 games
  • UCLA has allowed eight runs total over the last seven games
  • UCLA was crowned champion of the 2022 Shriner's Children's College Classic (2-1 record, plus-15 run differential)
  • The Bruins have struck out 15+ batters in five games so far, including four consecutive from Feb. 20-25
  • UCLA leads the country in WHIP (0.82) and is top-10 nationally in, K-BB ratio (5.7, 2nd), H/9 (5.3, 3rd), strikeouts (143, 4th)
  • Thatcher Hurd leads all qualifying pitchers nationwide with an 18.44 strikeouts per nine innings ratio
  • UCLA is 30-34 this season in stolen base attempts (88% success rate), including a league-high 12 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
  • 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, Mar. 8 - 6:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Thatcher Hurd, RHP, Fr. (1-0, 0.66 ERA)
CSF - Timothy Josten, LHP, Sr. (0-0, 11.57 ERA)

The Week In Review    
UCLA went 3-1 last week, blanking Long Beach State on Tuesday before winning two-of-three at the Shriner's Children's College Classic in Houston (Minute Maid Park):

  • Thatcher Hurd (5 IP, 12 K) and Ethan Flanagan (4 IP, 7 K) teamed up to throw a 19-strikeout two-hitter against LBSU on Tuesday, as UCLA won 3-0. Hurd drew the start and was dominant early, going nine-up, nine-down to start the game with eight strikeouts. He wiggled out of a bases loaded jam before going 1-2-3 in the fifth. Flanagan entered in the sixth and closed it out by going 12-up, 12-down. Cody Schrier clubbed a three-run homer – the first home run of his career – in the bottom of the first to provide all the game's run production
  • The Bruins were edged in a pitcher's duel, 2-1, by Baylor on Friday in the first game of the Shriner's Children's College Classic. Jake Brooks allowed just three hits and struck out seven in a complete game effort for the Bruins. Trailing 2-0 in the ninth, Carson Yates hit a pinch-hit solo homer to halve the deficit, and UCLA would go on to load the bases before a sharply-hit Cody Schrier grounder was gobbled up for the game's final out
  • Yates had a team-high six RBIs, including a grand slam that drove in the game-winning run, to lead UCLA to a blowout 15-3 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. The Bruins posted six spots in the first and third innings against the Sooners to open a big lead, and three-spot in the sixth highlighted by a Schrier home run gave UCLA a season-high in runs scored. The game was called in the middle of the seventh with the run rule in effect for the tournament. Ethan Flanagan and Thatcher Hurd tossed 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Bruins, with the former picking up his first career win
  • The Bruins picked up a signature win on Sunday, defeating top-ranked Texas by a score of 5-1. Kelly Austin (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 K), Luke Jewett (0.2 IP, K), and Alonzo Tredwell (3.0 IP, 5 K) teamed up to limit the Longhorns to just five hits. UCLA never trailed in the game, going ahead in the third on a Darius Perry RBI single and taking the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. Yates (2-4, triple), Ethan Gourson (two doubles, RBI), and Michael Curialle (2-4) all had multiple hits for UCLA
  • UCLA's win over Texas was its first against a No. 1-ranked team since May 26, 2018 vs. Oregon State
  • UCLA was crowned champion of the Shriner's Children's College Classic by virtue of a run differential tiebreaker (four of six teams at the tourney went 2-1, Tennessee's plus-eight differential was next-best after UCLA's plus-15)

On The Move    
UCLA has been busy on the basepaths so far in 2022, stealing 30 bases at an 88% success rate to this point. The Bruins rank eighth in the country in total stolen bases, and 14th in stolen bases per game (2.5). UCLA has swiped multiple bags in eight of 12 games so far this year, including seven contests with at least three stolen bases. The Bruins stole 11 bases over three games against CSUN to open the year, the program's most in a single series over the last 10 years. 

Good Start    
UCLA's starting pitching has been absolutely dominant in the early going in 2022, as the quintet of Jake Brooks, Max Rajcic, Kelly Austin, Ethan Flanagan, and Thatcher Hurd have combined for the following stats:

  • 0.84 ERA and 87-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 64 1/3 innings
  • 10 total runs allowed
  • 0.71 WHIP, 12.2 K/9
  • 6/12 games with 0 R allowed, 9/12 games with 1 ER or fewer allowed, 11/12 games with 2 ER or fewer allowed
  • 5 games with 2 H allowed (the most hits allowed by a UCLA starter in one game so far has been 4)

Racking Up The Strikeouts    
UCLA pitchers have been piling up the Ks so far in 2022, ranking fourth in the country with 143 strikeouts to this point (just eigth behind NCAA leaders Florida State). UCLA had 15+ strikeouts in four consecutive games from Feb. 20-25, the first time the program has achieved that feat over the last 10 years. The Bruins followed that up with a season-high 19 strikeouts on Mar. 1 against Long Beach State, matching the program's highest single-game K output of the last 10 years. The 19 strikeouts against the Dirtbags – all by Thatcher Hurd and Ethan Flanagan – is believed to be a program-record for single-game strikeouts by freshmen. UCLA paces the Pac-12 Conference in both total strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (11.8). 

Yates Named Pac-12 Player of the Week    
UCLA sophomore outfielder Carson Yates was named the Pac-12 Baseball Player of the Week on Monday after a standout performance in Houston. Yates collected a hit in all three games at Minute Maid, going 5-9 overall on the weekend with two home runs and seven RBIs. He hit a pinch-hit home run on Friday vs. Baylor (his first-career HR), had a career-high six RBIs against Oklahoma on Saturday, then delivered two more hits Sunday as UCLA took down top-ranked Texas. It was Yates's first career weekly award, and he becomes the first Bruin to win the award this season. 

Happy to Be Home    
UCLA's 2022 schedule is home-heavy, especially in the early going. The Bruins opened 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). 

In The Polls    
UCLA was featured in four of the five major national polls on Monday, appearing as high as No. 15 (Baseball America) and also checking in at No. 22 (NCBWA), No. 24 (Collegiate Baseball), and No. 25 (USA TODAY Coaches Poll). The Bruins were cited as one of three teams just outside the top-25 in D1Baseball's poll. 

Hurd Missing Bats    
Despite being a true freshman, right-hander Thatcher Hurd has been piling up strikeouts at a higher rate than anyone in the country, as his 18.4 strikeouts per nine innings ratio paces all qualifying NCAA pitchers. He totaled 11 strikeouts over five innings in his first-ever NCAA start (Feb. 23 vs. Omaha), then one-upped himself with a dozen strikeouts in five innings against Long Beach State on Mar. 1. Those 12 strikeouts were the most by a UCLA freshman since Gerrit Cole had 13 against Washington on Apr. 17, 2009. Over two-thirds of his recorded outs have come via the K (28-41, 68%).

Rub Some Dirt On It    
UCLA enters the week ranked seventh in the country in offensive HBPs (28). The Bruins have been hit by a pitch at least once in every game this season, including a season-high five by Pepperdine on Feb. 22. Ethan Gourson (6 HBPs) leads the Pac-12 in that statistic. 

The Series Against Cal State Fullerton    
UCLA owns a 41-68-2 all-time record against Cal State Fullerton, including an 18-27 mark under John Savage. The Bruins have had the edge over CSF in recent years, winning the last six matchups in a row. Exempting the COVID-shortened 2020 season, UCLA and Cal State Fullerton have met every year since 1974, a streak of 47 consecutive seasons. The Bruins have faced the Titans in the postseason 13 times, over twice as many as any other school (Oklahoma is next at six). 

Last Year Against the Titans    
UCLA and Cal State Fullerton played three times over an eight-day span last year (Mar. 2-9, 2021), with the Bruins taking away wins in each matchup. Key performers from last year still on the UCLA roster include Josh Hahn (4-8, HR) and Michael Curialle (4-11, two doubles, three RBIs).
Midweek Notes    

  • UCLA is 22-3 in midweek contests since the start of 2019 (1-2 this year)
  • This year, the Bruins defeated Long Beach State in midweek action while falling to Pepperdine and Omaha
  • The Bruins went undefeated in midweeks in 2019 (11-0) and 2021 (8-0)
  • Midweek standouts include Oyama (.429 BA), Hurd (0.90 ERA, 23 K in 10 IP), and Flanagan (1.17 ERA, 15 K in 7.2 IP)

In The Zone    
As is the case most years, the Bruins have been adept so far in 2022 at limiting free passes. Entering the week, UCLA leads the country in WHIP (0.82), is second in K-BB ratio (5.7), and third in BB/9 (2.0). Over the last seven games, UCLA has yielded just seven bases on balls (compared to 79 strikeouts). 

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 week, he needs three wins to reach 600 at UCLA, and he needs 15 victories to reach 700 overall for his career.