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UCLA Set to Face No. 9 Arizona in Pac-12 Road Series

Mar 24, 2022
Jake Palmer (photo: Scott Chandler)

UCLA (13-7, 1-2) at No. 9 Arizona (16-5, 5-1)
Friday, Mar. 25, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Saturday, Mar. 26, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. PT

Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. PT
Location: Tucson, Ariz. (Hi Corbett Field)
Stream: Pac-12 Now App /
Live Stats

Bruins Head to Tucson for Three Against Arizona    
After playing nearly exclusively at home over the first month of the season, UCLA (13-7, 1-2 Pac-12) heads east this weekend for its first road series of the year, at No. 9 Arizona (16-5, 5-1). The series consists of 6:00 p.m. night games on Friday and Saturday, followed by a 12:00 p.m. Sunday finale. All three games of the series will be streamed live through Fans can also follow along with live stats on, as well as live Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.

Quick Hits    

  • UCLA is 13-7 so far on the season, including a 12-5 mark against non-conference competition
  • UCLA starting pitchers have combined for a 2.39 ERA and a 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings ratio
  • UCLA was crowned champion of the Shriner's Children's College Classic (2-1 record, plus-15 run differential)
  • The Bruins have struck out 10+ batters in 11 of 20 games so far, including a season-high 19 vs. LBSU on Mar. 1
  • UCLA ranks top-10 nationally in ERA (2.61, 6th), WHIP (1.00, 3rd), K-BB ratio (4.7, 2nd), and H/9 (6.6, 8th)
  • UCLA is 43-48 this season in stolen base tries (90% success rate), including 15 SBs from Kenny Oyama (8th in NCAA)
  • 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
  • 2021: 37-20 record, No. 2 seed in NCAA Regionals, NCAA-high 10 players selected in MLB Draft

Projected Pitching Matchups
Friday, Mar. 25 - 6:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Jake Brooks, RHP, So. (3-2. 1.97 ERA)
ARIZ - TJ Nichols, RHP, So. (3-0, 2.40 ERA)
Saturday, Mar. 26 - 6:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Max Rajcic, RHP, So. (2-2, 2.86 ERA)
ARIZ - Garrett Irvin, LHP, Sr. (2-1, 3.25 ERA)
Sunday, Mar. 27 - 12:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA - Thatcher Hurd, RHP, Fr. (1-0, 0.98 ERA)
ARIZ - Dawson Netz, RHP, So. (2-0, 4.24 ERA)

The Week In Review    
UCLA is 3-1 over the last week, taking two of three at home against Stanford before topping LMU on the road on Tuesday:

  • UCLA produced a season-high in runs to defeat Harvard 25-2 on Friday. The Bruins led 20-0 by the end of three innings in the contest. Cody Schrier, Ethan Gourson, and JonJon Vaughns combined to go 8-9 with two home runs, 13 RBIs, and 10 runs scored to lead the Bruins, who also took advantage of 14 walks and six HBPs issued by Harvard pitchers. Jake Brooks turned in five innings of one-run ball to pick up the win. 
  • The Bruins were limited to one hit in a 5-0 Saturday loss. Tommy Beres got the Bruins in the hit column with a fifth-inning single to center. Lefty Tim Williamson (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K) received the win for the Crimson. 
  • UCLA captured the series with an 11-inning, 3-2 walk-off win on Sunday. The game-winning run came off a balk after UCLA had loaded the bases on a Vaughns walk, Jake Palmer base hit, and Malakhi Knight bunt single. The Bruins never trailed in the contest, scoring in the bottom of the first and leading 2-0 after five. Starter Thatcher Hurd (5.1 IP, 2 H, 6 K) and the UCLA bullpen (5.2 IP, 5 K) allowed just a single run apiece.  Luke Jewett pitched the last two innings of the game, facing the minimum, to record his first-career win. Palmer (3-5, two walks), Cody Schrier (2-4, two walks), and Vaughns (1-3, three walks) all reached base at least four times on Sunday.
  • For the series, UCLA outscored Harvard 28-9 and had a 2.79-5.27 edge in team ERA.  
  • UCLA scored five runs in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie en route to a 9-5 victory over Loyola Marymount on Tuesday night. Graduate left fielder Kenny Oyama sparked that decisive rally, lining the very first pitch of the inning over the wall in right field. The homer was cinematic in a number of ways: it was Oyama's first-career homer in 179 games at the NCAA level, it came on his birthday, and it was his first game back at LMU's Page Stadium after transferring to UCLA following a standout four-year career with the Lions. Ethan Gourson (3-5, HR, three runs) also had a standout day with the bat. Freshman lefty Gage Jump made his NCAA debut, tossing a scoreless sixth inning and picking up his first-career win. 

On The Move    
UCLA has been busy on the basepaths so far in 2022, stealing 43 bases at a 90% success rate to this point. The Bruins rank 16th in the country in total stolen bases, and 17th in stolen bases per game (2.2). Among the top-25 teams nationally in bases stolen, UCLA ranks third in success rate (percentage points behind first-place UMass Lowell). UCLA has swiped multiple bags in 13 of 20 games so far this year, including eight 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. 

Savage Hits One Milestone in 2022, On Track for Another    
Bruins' head coach John Savage recorded his 600th career win at UCLA after defeating Harvard on Mar. 18. Entering the weekend, Savage needs 10 further wins to reach 700 overall in his career. 

The All-Time Series Against Arizona    
UCLA owns a 135-124-2 record against Arizona all-time, including a 28-21 mark under head coach John Savage. The Bruins have won two of the last three head-to-head sets between the two schools, but UCLA is seeking its first series win at Hi Corbett Field since 2012.
Last Year Against the Wildcats    
UCLA and Arizona opened up Pac-12 play against each other last season, with the Bruins taking two of three at Jackie Robinson Stadium from Mar. 19-21, 2021. UCLA won the first and last games of the weekend, with Arizona taking the middle contest to set up a Sunday rubber match. UCLA outscored Arizona 17-12 for the weekend, outhit them .277 to .206, and had a 4.00 to 4.62 advantage in team ERA. Key contributors from last year still on the UCLA roster include Michael Curialle (4-12, two doubles, five RBIs), Kyle Karros (3-10, two doubles), Jack Filby (drew a walk to force in the walk-off run as UCLA won 3-2 on Friday), and Jared Karros (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 K over two relief outings). 

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:

  • 2.39 ERA and 128-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 101 2/3 innings
  • 30 total runs allowed (1.5 per game)
  • 0.93 WHIP, 11.3 K/9
  • 7/20 games with 0 ER allowed, 13/20 games with 1 ER or fewer allowed, 16/20 games with 2 ER or fewer allowed
  • Allowed more than four hits just three times in 20 games

Vaughns Heating Up    
With an OPS of 1.360 through his first 13 games, sophomore outfielder JonJon Vaughns has been getting it done with the bat for UCLA. Vaughns leads the Bruins in all slash categories at .320/.620/.640, and is walking nearly twice as often as he strikes out (20 walks to 12 strikeouts). His 20 BBs rank 21st nationally, and he would rank second in the country in OBP if he had met the 75% games played requirement for qualification. He has walked 3+ times in five games this season, and earned a free pass eight times in the Harvard series alone. Interestingly, he's shown an aversion to singles during his collegiate career; he has nine singles as a Bruin compared to 15 extra-base hits and 29 walks. 

Schrier Springs in March    
After a bit of a cool start to his collegiate career (.258 average in February), UCLA freshman shortstop Cody Schrier has become an offensive difference-maker since the calendar turned over to March. In 12 games this month, he leads the team in batting (.354 average), home runs (four), total bases (30), and is second in RBIs (11). He had his best offensive performance to date on Mar. 18 against Harvard; he went 4-4, reached base in all six of his plate appearances, and established career highs in hits, runs (four), and RBIs (four). 

Bruins Make History with Offensive Performance on Mar. 18    
UCLA's offensive performance against Harvard on Mar. 18 was notable for a number of reasons:

  • The Bruins' 25 runs were their most ever in a game at Jackie Robinson Stadium (home field since 1981)
  • UCLA's most runs ever in a game under 18th year head coach John Savage
  • The 25 runs were the most for a program in a single game since Mar. 22, 1986 (28 at Arizona)
  • UCLA's 10-run first inning was its first frame with double-digit scoring since Mar. 25, 2007 vs. Pacific (14)
  • The 23-run margin of victory was tied for the largest in program history against a Division I opponent (last: 28-5 at Arizona on Mar. 22, 1986) and third-largest against all opponents

In The Zone    
As is the case most years, the Bruins have been adept so far in 2022 at limiting free passes. Entering the weekend, UCLA is third in the country in WHIP (1.00), is second in K-BB ratio (4.7), and third in walks allowed per nine innings  (2.4). 

Rub Some Dirt On It    
UCLA enters the weekend ranked 8th in the country in offensive HBPs (45). The Bruins have an HBP in 18 of 20 games so far this year (including 14 in a row to start the season) and are averaging 2.3 HBPs per game. The Bruins had 12 batters plunked vs. Harvard, including a season-high six on Mar. 18. Ethan Gourson leads the Pac-12 and is sixth nationally with 11 HBPs so far in 2022.

Early Birds    
UCLA is outscoring its opponents at nearly a 2-1 ratio (128-68) overall in 2022, and that advantage is particularly acute in the early innings. In the first three innings of games, the Bruins are outscoring their opponents 55-15 (plus-40), including a 21-4 advantage in the third inning alone. The Bruins are 13-2 this season when scoring first (.867 winning percentage) and 7-1 when scoring in the first inning (.875 winning percentage). 

Racking Up The Strikeouts    
UCLA pitchers have been piling up the Ks so far in 2022, leading the Pac-12 and ranking 15th nationally with an 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings ratio. UCLA has recorded double figure strikeouts in over half of its games (11-20, 55%), and recorded 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. 

On the Road Again    
UCLA's 2022 schedule was very home-heavy in the early going, as the squad played 16 of its first 19 games at Jackie Robinson Stadium (the other three were part of a neutral-site tournament at the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park). The team's first true road game (Mar. 22 at Loyola Marymount) is the latest road opener in program history. 

Hurd Missing Bats    
Thatcher Hurd has been striking out batters at an elite rate this season, as his 44 strikeouts rank 18th nationally (and second among freshmen, one behind Vanderbilt's Carter Holton). Hurd totaled 23 strikeouts over his first two collegiate starts, including a 12-strikeout performance against LBSU on Mar. 1 that represented the most by a UCLA freshman since Gerrit Cole had 13 against Washington on Apr. 17, 2009. Over half of his recorded outs have come via the K (44-83, 53%). 

Young Blood    
Despite a heavy amount of turnover on the pitching staff, UCLA has continued to excel on the mound in 2022 thanks in large part to the performance of its freshmen. The five first-year Bruin pitchers to have appeared so far (Luke Jewett, Thatcher Hurd, Ethan Flanagan, Gage Jump, Alonzo Tredwell) have combined for some gaudy numbers: 6-0, 1.43 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and a 105-17 K-BB ratio over 75 1/3 innings. 

Plenty of Kenny    
Graduate outfielder Kenny Oyama has been quite the spark plug for UCLA's offense, reaching base safely in 17 of the team's first 20 games while going a perfect 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts. He has the eighth-most stolen bases in the country, and second-most among players with a 100% success rate. He's had several notable moments so far this season. On Feb. 20 he became the first Bruin since 2016 to record seven at-bats in a game, and went on to lead all Bruins in hits (6) and stolen bases (4) during the season-opening CSUN series. On Mar. 6 against No. 1 Texas, he stole second and third base on back-to-back pitches in the fifth inning before scoring the go-ahead and game-winning run. On Mar. 22, he sparked a game-winning five-run rally with his first career home run (it was also his birthday, and his first game back at LMU).

New Faces    
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 three have appeared out of the bullpen.