UCLA Hosts UC Santa Barbara in Tuesday Night Clash
UCLA (15-8) vs. UC Santa Barbara (16-5)
Tuesday, Mar. 29, 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
Bruins Open Homestand with Midweek vs. UC Santa Barbara
UCLA (15-8) returns to Jackie Robinson Stadium for its next five games, starting on Tuesday night with a non-conference showdown against UC Santa Barbara (16-5). The game will be streamed live on Pac-12.com and Pac-12 Insider, with Nick Koop on the call. Fans can also follow along with an audio broadcast and live stats on UCLABruins.com, as well as live Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.
- UCLA is 15-8 so far on the season, including a 12-5 mark against non-conference competition
- UCLA starting pitchers have combined for a 2.38 ERA and a 10.6 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 12 of 23 games so far, including a season-high 19 vs. LBSU on Mar. 1
- UCLA ranks top-10 nationally in ERA (2.50, 4th), WHIP (1.04, 2nd), K-BB ratio (4.5, 4th), and H/9 (6.9, 7th)
- UCLA is 43-48 this season in stolen base tries (90% success rate), including 15 SBs from Kenny Oyama in as many tries
- 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
Tuesday, Mar. 29 - 6:00 p.m. PT
UCLA - Kelly Austin, RHP, RSo. (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
UCSB - JD Callahan, RHP, So. (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
The Week In Review
UCLA went 3-1 last week (all road games), downing LMU on Tuesday and taking two of three from Arizona over the weekend
- 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.
- Cody Schrier had five RBIs – including a sixth-inning grand slam – to lead UCLA to a 10-2 Friday night win over Arizona. JonJon Vaughns put the Bruins ahead early with a two-run double in the first, and Schrier provided the decisive hit of the game after UCLA loaded the bases on two errors and a walk. Jake Brooks scatterered seven hits over a 6 2/3 inning start to pick up the win and improve to 4-2.
- The Bruins fell behind by four early and couldn't come all the way back in a 4-2 Saturday loss. Garrett Irvin limited UCLA to three hits over 7 2/3 innings, but the Bruins began to mount a charge late in the game, plating single runs in the eighth and ninth. UCLA loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, getting the game-tying run on base, but a strikeout and groundout to second ended it. Kelly Austin (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) led a strong bullpen effort for UCLA, as a quartet of relievers combined to throw 5 1/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
- UCLA captured the series with a 7-3 Sunday win. Josh Hahn hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie and drive in the eventual game-winning run for the Bruins. UCLA would go on to score in each of the next two innings as well (on RBI singles from Daylen Reyes and Malakhi Knight). The top eight batters in the lineup reached for UCLA, led by Jake Palmer (1-2, walk, two HBPs). Thatcher Hurd delivered six innings with just two hits and one earned run against to keep the Wildcats at bay. He picked up the win after posting a five-pitch sixth after Hahn's go-ahead HR.
- For the series, UCLA outscored Arizona 19-9 (the Wildcats averaged 8.3 runs/game entering the series)
- The Bruins have now held their opponent to single-digit runs in three of their last four weekend series (Arizona, Harvard, UC Riverside)
- UCLA is 24-3 in midweek contests since the start of 2019 (3-2 this year)
- In 2022, UCLA has defeated LMU, LBSU, and CS Fullerton while falling to Pepperdine and Omaha
- The Bruins went undefeated in midweeks in 2019 (11-0) and 2021 (8-0)
- Midweek standouts this year include Oyama (.357/.609/.571, 5-5 SB), Malakhi Knight (.987 OPS), Ethan Flanagan (1.59 ERA, 17 K in 11.1 IP), and Thatcher Hurd (1.26 ERA, 30 K in 14.1 IP)
- UCLA has won its last three midweeks after starting the year 0-2
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 second in the country in WHIP (1.02), third in walks allowed per nine innings (2.4), and fourth in K-BB ratio (4.5). The Bruins have sizable advantages over their opponents in walks drawn vs. issued (134-56) and HBPs drawn vs. issued (53-10).
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:
- 2.38 ERA and 138-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 117 innings
- 31 total earned runs allowed (1.4 per game)
- 0.97 WHIP, 10.6 K/9
- 7/23 games with 0 ER allowed, 15/23 games with 1 ER or fewer allowed, 19/23 games with 2 ER or fewer allowed
- Allowed more than four hits just five times in 23 games
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 week, Savage needs eight further wins to reach 700 overall in his career.
The All-Time Series Against UC Santa Barbara
UCLA owns a 55-40-1 record all-time against UC Santa Barbara. The Bruins took two of three from the Gauchos in a split-venue weekend series last year, rallying from a Friday night loss to post wins in the last two games of the set. The Saturday win snapped a six-game winless streak for UCLA against UCSB. Barring unforeseen alterations to the schedule, the 2022 season marks the first time that the Bruins and Gauchos will play a home-and-home midweek series since the 2016 season (the two programs were scheduled to do so in 2020 before COVID cut the season short).
Last Year Against the Gauchos
UCLA and UCSB played a split-venue weekend series last year, with the Bruins taking two of three from May 14-16. UCLA lost at home to open the set, evened the series in Santa Barbara on Saturday, and won the series with a healthy 11-3 win at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday. Most of the series was tight, but Kyle Cuellar (since graduated) hit a grand slam and JonJon Vaughns followed with a three-run homer as part of a seven-run seventh that served as the series decider in the rubber match. Key performers from that series last year still on the UCLA roster include Kyle Karros (6-11, 2 XBH), Michael Curialle (4-9, two RBIs), JonJon Vaughns (3-10, HR, four RBIs), Max Rajcic (3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R).
Gourson Steps on the Gas
Freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson has been getting on base any way possible in his first season in Westwood. He leads all qualifying Bruins in each slash category at .297/.490/.514, and his OBP ranks fifth in the Pac-12. He has reached base in 14 consecutive games, a stretch that's seen him post a 1.098 OPS while leading the team in a bevy of offensive categories including doubles (8), walks (11), RBIs (13), and HBPs (6). He's been a versatile piece of the lineup, appearing in each spot of the lineup 2-7 at some point this season.
Rub Some Dirt On It
UCLA enters the weekend ranked fifth in the country in offensive HBPs (53). The Bruins have an HBP in 20 of 23 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) and saw another eight batters plunked during the Arizona series. Ethan Gourson leads the Pac-12 and is 13th nationally with 11 HBPs so far in 2022, and five Bruins regulars have at least 5 HBPs.
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 15 games this month, he leads the team in home runs (five), total bases (34), and RBIs (16). 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).
Bullpen Making Strides
After a somewhat slow start to the season, UCLA's bullpen has fared well in recent weeks. Dating to Feb. 25, UCLA relievers have allowed one earned run or fewer in 16 of 18 contests. That span includes 11 games with no earned runs against at all (with a five-game streak of 0 ER from Mar. 1-8). Key relief arms this year have included righty Alonzo Tredwell (1.62 ERA, team-leading two saves, 14.6 K/9), swingman southpaw Ethan Flanagan (1.21 ERA, 13.3 K/9), and freshman righty Luke Jewett (2.25 ERA, team-high 11 appearances).
Vaughns Goes for Extras
Two-sport standout JonJon Vaughns leads all Bruin regulars with a 1.092 OPS to this point in the season, and he ranks 24th nationally with 22 walks despite starting just 14 games. His .563 OBP would rank fifth nationally if 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 16 extra-base hits and 31 walks.
UCLA is outscoring its opponents at nearly a 2-1 ratio (147-76) 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 59-18 (plus-41), including a 21-5 advantage in the third inning alone. The Bruins are 15-2 this season when scoring first (.882 winning percentage) and 9-1 when scoring in the first inning (.900 winning percentage).
Palmer Heating Up
Graduate first baseman Jake Palmer has been red-hot over a five-game hitting streak, going 8-16 while reaching base a further nine times via walk or HBP (.686 OBP). His 23 free passes (17 BB, 6 HBP) on the season rank third on a team that has excelled in that area, and he's raised his batting average 98 points (to .273) since Mar. 6.
In The Polls
UCLA appeared in three of five major national polls this week, appearing as high as No. 25 in the Collegiate Baseball top-25. The Bruins also received votes in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and NCBWA poll. UCLA was ranked as high as No. 22 in the preseason polls, and has been as high as No. 15 during the 2022 season.
UCLA's series win over then-No. 9 Arizona continued a run of recent success for the program on the road. The Bruins have won their last two road series against ranked opponents (at Arizona State; May 27-20, 2021). UCLA also won its last series on the road against a top-10 team (taking two of three at No. 2 Stanford; Apr. 7-9, 2019). This season, the Bruins are 5-2 away from Jackie Robinson Stadium with a plus-29 run differential (49-20).
Notes on UCLA's 2022 Schedule
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) was the latest road opener in program history.
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 28th in the country in total stolen bases, and 30th in stolen bases per game (1.9). To boot, UCLA has the highest success rate among the top-30 base-stealing teams in the country. UCLA has swiped multiple bags in 13 of 23 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.