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UCLA Visits Pepperdine for Midweek Matchup

Apr 11, 2022
Charles Harrison (photo: Ashley Herman)

No. 12 UCLA (22-9) at Pepperdine (17-13)
Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. PT
Location: Malibu, Calif. (Eddy D. Field Stadium)
Stream: WCC Network
Audio: UCLA Lean Player
Audio Play-by-Play Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats

Bruins Wrap Road Swing With Pepperdine Midweek    
No. 12-ranked UCLA (22-9) finishes up a four-game road swing on Tuesday, heading to Malibu for a 3:00 p.m midweek contest at Pepperdine (17-13). The game will be streamed live on the WCC Network, and Nick Koop will be on hand for a live audio broadcast. Fans can also follow along with live stats on UCLABruins.com, and Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.

Quick Hits    

  • UCLA is 22-9 so far on the season, including an 8-1 mark over the last nine games
  • The Bruins have played seven consecutive one-run games, a program record
  • The Bruins had an 8-game winning streak snapped on Sunday (the last six were all comeback, one-run wins)
  • UCLA ranks top-10 nationally in ERA (2.73, 2nd), WHIP (1.06, 3rd), K-BB ratio (3.7, 5th), and H/9 (6.9, 7th)
  • UCLA was crowned champion of the Shriner's Children's College Classic in Houston (2-1 record, plus-15 run differential)
  • The Bruins have won five straight midweek games, after starting the year 0-2 in such contests
  • UCLA is 49-56 this season in stolen base tries (88% success rate), including 17 SBs from Kenny Oyama in as many tries
  • The Bruins have struck out 10+ batters in 15 of 31 games so far, including a season-high 19 vs. LBSU on Mar. 1
  • 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, Apr. 12 - 3:00 p.m. PT 
UCLA – Kelly Austin, RHP, RSo. (2-1, 2.79 ERA)
PEPP - Davis Luikart, RHP, Fr. (0-0, 2.70 ERA)

The Week In Review    
UCLA went 3-1 last week, defeating LMU at home on Tuesday then taking two of three from Utah in Salt Lake City:

  • Kyle Karros and Cody Schrier each hit clutch home runs late to lead UCLA to a 5-4 walk-off win over Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. The Bruins trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth in that contest, but Karros tied it up with one swing of the bat after clanging a three-run home run off the left field foul pole. Two innings later, Schrier pounced on the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th and sent it over the left field fence for a walk-off home run. The Bruins employed seven pitchers in a bullpen game, posting a zero in 10 of 11 defensive innings. Key arms included Kelly Austin (3 IP, 3K), Ethan Flanagan (2.2 IP, 5 K), and Chris Aldrich (1 IP, 0 H, first career W), who were all unscored upon. Ethan Gourson added two doubles for UCLA
  • The Bruins rallied for a 6-5 win in 10 innings to open the Utah series. UCLA trailed 5-1 after six, but knotted it up late on a Cody Schrier solo home run, two-run Josh Hahn single, and Daylen Reyes sac fly. The Bruins moved ahead in the tenth after Carson Yates led off with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Kelly Austin received the win after a standout relief outing ... he entered with two on and nobody out with the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, but got out of that inning unscathed before posting a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th. 
  • UCLA clinched the series over Utah with a 4-3 Saturday win. Daylen Reyes put the Bruins up for good with a two-run home run in the fourth (his first-career HR). Carson Yates added a two-run single in the next inning to make it 4-1, which turned out to be just enough offense to preserve the lead. Ethan Flanagan wiggled out of jams in the eighth and ninth inning to keep UCLA ahead, picking up his second-career save. Max Rajcic was solid for UCLA, striking out a career-high eight in a six-inning start. Bruin pitchers limited the Utes to a 1-13 line with runners in scoring position. It was technically another comeback, one-run win for UCLA, as Utah opened the scoring with a run in the second. 
  • The Bruins dropped a back-and-forth series finale on Sunday, 7-6. Both teams led multiple times over the course of the game, but the Utes went ahead for good with a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh. Darius Perry and Jake Palmer had RBI singles as part of a go-ahead four-spot for UCLA in the second inning, while Daylen Reyes sparked a two-spot with a one-out triple in the sixth. Gage Jump made his first-collegiate start in the game, striking out four over 1 2/3 innings. 
  • The performance in SLC clinched UCLA's fourth consecutive series win

In The Polls    
UCLA appeared in all five major national polls this week, checking in as high as No.9 (Collegiate Baseball) while also appearing at No. 12 (D1Baseball), and No. 13 (USA TODAY Coaches Poll, Baseball America, NCBWA). UCLA's No. 9 ranking from Collegiate Baseball is its highest this season, and the first time cracking the top-10. The Bruins were ranked as high as No. 22 in the preseason polls. UCLA re-entered the national top-25 last week after a three-week absence. The Bruins have faced a ranked opponent in a weekend series twice this year, and have won the series both times. 

Midweek Notes    

  • UCLA is 26-3 in midweek contests since the start of 2019 (5-2 this year)
  • In 2022, UCLA has defeated UCSB, LMU (twice), 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 Kenny Oyama (.348/.531/.522, 5-5 SB), Malakhi Knight (.900 OPS), Michael Curialle (team-high 7 RBIs), Ethan Flanagan (1.12 ERA, 25 K in 16 IP), and Thatcher Hurd (1.26 ERA, 30 K in 14.1 IP)
  • UCLA has won its last five midweeks after starting the year 0-2

Good Start    

  • UCLA's starting pitching has been absolutely dominant in the early going in 2022, as the group of Jake Brooks, Max Rajcic, Kelly Austin, Ethan Flanagan, Thatcher Hurd, and Gage Jump have combined for the following stats:
  • 2.81 ERA and 168-39 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 150 2/3 innings
  • 47 total earned runs allowed (1.5 per game)
  • 1.04 WHIP, 10.0 K/9
  • 9/31 games with 0 ER allowed, 16/31 games with 1 ER or fewer allowed, 24/31 games with 2 ER or fewer allowed
  • Allowed more than four hits just eight times in 31 games

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 is third in the country in WHIP (1.06), fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.7), and seventh in K-BB ratio (3.7). The Bruins have sizable advantages over their opponents in walks drawn vs. issued (166-85) and HBPs drawn vs. issued (69-16). The Bruins' +53 differential in HBPs is third-best in the country, and their +81 walk differential ranks sixth nationally. 

Savage Hits One Milestone in 2022, On Verge of Another    
Bruins' head coach John Savage recorded his 600th career win at UCLA after defeating Harvard on Mar. 18. Coach Savage is also on the precipice of hitting another milestone, as his next win will be the 700th overall in his career.  He also coached his 1,000th game overall as UCLA's head coach on Apr. 5 vs. LMU.

The All-Time Series Against Pepperdine    
UCLA leads the all-time series against Pepperdine, 66-40-4. The Bruins had won six consecutives games in the head-to-head series before the Waves broke up that streak earlier this year. UCLA is 20-7 against Pepperdine under head coach John Savage. 

Last Time Out Against the Waves    
Pepperdine captured a 7-5 win over the Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Feb. 22 of this season. The Waves put together a six-run rally in the top of the ninth, highlighted by a John Peck grand slam, to capture the win. The UCLA freshman trio of Ethan Flanagan, Alonzo Tredwell, and Luke Jewett combined to strike out 17 over the first eight innings. Daylen Reyes went 2-5 to lead the Bruins offensively. 

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.

Welcome Back, Karros    
Sophomore third baseman Kyle Karros has had a strong return to action after missing 21 games with a hand injury. In his first five games back (starting on Mar. 29), he batted a team-best .400 (8-20), hit a game-winning home run in the Oregon series finale on Apr. 3, and hit a game-tying three-run home run as part of an eventual 5-4 walk-off win against LMU on Mar. 5. 

Close Shave    
UCLA pulled off a string of six consecutive one-run victories from Apr. 1-9, as part of an overall eight-game winning streak. That mark of six straight one-run wins doubled the previous program record of three consecutive one-run victories. The last time UCLA reeled off three straight one-run wins was on Mar. 18-19, 1995 against Washington and Washington State. 

Rub Some Dirt On It    
UCLA enters the week ranked fifth in the country in offensive HBPs (69). The Bruins have an HBP in 25 of 31 games so far this year (including 14 in a row to start the season) and are averaging 2.2 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 seventh nationally with 14 HBPs so far in 2022, and five Bruins regulars have at least 7 HBPs. 

Gourson Steps on the Gas    
Freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson has the highest OPS (.955) among qualifying Bruins, and has a solid all-around slash line at .284/.475/.480. He has the No. 3 on-base percentage in the Pac-12, and has reached base in 21 of the last 22 games. Over that 22-game span, he leads the team in a number of stats including runs (19), doubles (12, three times more than any other Bruin that span), RBIs (16), and HBPs (9).  He's been a versatile piece of the lineup, appearing in each spot of the lineup 2-7 at some point this season. 

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 21 of 26 contests. That span includes 14 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, two saves, 14.6 K/9), swingman southpaw Ethan Flanagan (1.41 ERA, 12.4 K/9), and lefty Jake Saum (2.25 ERA, team-high 16 appearances). The Bruin 'pen has had some of its most effective performances of the year over the last few weeks, limiting UCSB to two hits and no runs over seven innings on Mar. 29, tossing 8 2/3 innings to finish off the win in Sunday's Oregon finale (Saum and Jump combined for six scoreless innings), and posting a zero in seven of eight innings to help get a 5-4 win over LMU in 11 innings on Apr. 5. 

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 23 games dating to Mar. 1, he leads UCLA in home runs (7), slugging (.558), at-bats (95), hits (29), RBIs (19), and total bases (53). 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). Schrier also launched a walk-off home run in the 11th inning to lead UCLA past LMU on Apr. 5. 

Early Birds    
UCLA is outscoring its opponents by a healthy margin (187-107) 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 74-32 (plus-42), including a 32-13 advantage in the first inning alone. The Bruins are 16-2 this season when scoring first (.889 winning percentage) and 11-1 when scoring in the first inning (.917 winning percentage). 

Vaughns Goes for Extras    
Two-sport standout JonJon Vaughns leads all Bruin regulars with a .961 OPS to this point in the season, and he ranks top-50 nationally with 26 walks despite starting just 21 games. His .505 OBP would rank 35th nationally 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 just 13 singles as a Bruin compared to 17 extra-base hits and 34 walks. Vaughns has reached base in 17 consecutive games, the longest active streak on the team. 

Road Warriors    
UCLA has gone 5-2 in true road games this year, and has won both its road series. The Bruins' series win at then-No. 9 Arizona was its second straight over a ranked opponent on the road (at ASU, May 27-29, 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). Including neutral games, the Bruins are 7-3 away from Jackie Robinson Stadium this year with a plus-30 run differential (65-35). 

Palmer Heating Up    
Graduate first baseman Jake Palmer has been red-hot over a 13-game reached base streak, going 18-47 (.383) while reaching base a further 15 times via walk or HBP. He hit safely in eight consecutive games from Mar. 20 to Apr. 2, the longest hit streak of any Bruin in 2022. His 29 free passes (21 BB, 8 HBP) rank third on a team that has excelled in that area, and he's raised his batting average 112 points (from .175 to .287) since Mar. 6.