Baseball Opens NCAA Tournament Play at Auburn Regional
No. 19 UCLA (38-22, 19-11) at the Auburn Regional
Jun. 3-6, 2022
Location: Auburn, Ala. (Plainsman Park)
TV/Stream: ESPN family of networks
Stream link: ESPN
No. 19 UCLA Heads to Auburn Regional as No. 2 Seed
UCLA (38-22) was named a No. 2 seed in the Auburn Regional on Monday, and will head to the south this weekend for a four-team regional featuring host and No. 1 seed Auburn (37-19), No. 3 seed Florida State (33-23), and No. 4 seed Southeastern Louisiana (30-29). The entire Regional will be televised on the ESPN family of networks, with Tom Hart and Kyle Peterson on the call. Fans can also follow along with live stats (uclalivestats.com) and Twitter updates from @UCLABaseball.
Friday, Jun. 3
Game 1: (2) UCLA vs. (3) Florida State | 9 AM PT
Game 2: (1) Auburn vs. (4) Southeastern Louisiana | 4 PM PT
Saturday, Jun. 4
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 | 10 AM PT
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 | 4 PM PT
Sunday, Jun. 5
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 | 11 AM PT
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 | 4 PM PT
Monday, Jun. 6
Game 7 (if necessary): Same teams as Game 6 | 4 PM PT
- UCLA is 38-22 so far on the year, and finished third in the regular season Pac-12 standings with a 19-11 league record
- UCLA owns a 72-50 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament; has qualified for Regionals in five straight and 13 of the last 17 years
- The Bruins had six players named to the 2022 Pac-12 All-Conference Team, second-most in the league
- UCLA finished the regular season top-10 nationally in ERA, WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and walks per nine innings
- The Bruins erased a nine-run deficit, eventually winning 25-22, over OSU on May 28 to reach the Pac-12 Tourney divisional final
- UCLA was crowned champion of the Shriner's Children's College Classic in Houston (2-1 record, plus-15 run differential)
- The Bruins won 10 of their 13 weekend series during the regular season (including of three of four against ranked opponents)
- UCLA is 72-85 this season in stolen base tries (85% success rate), including a team-high 20 SBs from Kenny Oyama
- The Bruins are 23-2 this season when scoring 6+ runs
- This season, John Savage has recorded career win No. 700 as well as his 600th win at UCLA
- 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
Bruins Return to the Postseason
UCLA is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season (exempting 2020) and 25th time in program history. The Bruins have now qualified for the NCAA Tournament 13 out of 17 possible times under head coach John Savage. UCLA is 72-50 all-time in postseason games, including a 56-34 mark in the Regional round. The Bruins have advanced to Super Regionals six times in program history, and have reached Omaha five times. UCLA brought home the program's first National Championship in 2013.
History as a No. 2 Regional Seed
This season marks the sixth time under John Savage that UCLA has been named a No. 2 seed in an NCAA Regional. The Bruins previously earned a No. 2 seed in three consecutive seasons from 2006-2008, 2018, and 2021. UCLA advanced to Supers in one of five previous seasons as a No. 2 seed (2007).
Pac-12 Tournament In Review
UCLA went 3-2 at the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament in Scottsdale, fighting through the loser's bracket to face OSU in the divisional final:
- The tournament used an eight-team, double-elimination format and was played at Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants
- The Bruins were limited to one run in a 4-1 tourney-opening loss to Cal on Wednesday. Kyle Karros went 3-3 with a walk and Darius Perry had two singles, but UCLA went 0-4 with RISP and left 10 runners on. Josh Hahn made his first-career start on the mound for UCLA. The game started at 10:18 p.m. local time and finished just short of 1:30 a.m.
- Less than 12 hours after the Cal game, UCLA recovered for a 14-8 win over Washington. The 3-4-5 spots in the order (Curialle-Gourson-Karros) combined to go 12-17 with 7 RBIs and 8 R, and the Bruins had a season-high 7 doubles as a team.
- The Bruins emerged with a 9-7 triumph in a Friday re-match with Cal to reach the divisional final vs. Oregon State. Trailing for much of the game, the Bruins rallied for two runs in the eighth to send it to extras, then won it with another two-spot in the tenth. Jake Saum, Daniel Colwell, and Luke Jewett combined to throw 6 2/3 relief innings without an earned run against.
- UCLA topped OSU 25-22 on Saturday afternoon in the wildest game of the tournament, forcing a re-match with OSU for the right to advance to the Championship Game. UCLA erased a nine-run deficit in the ninth inning, with the first nine batters of the frame reaching before an out was recorded. Kenny Oyama scored from third on a chopper to first, beating the throw home, to tie it up at 21-21. In the tenth, Tommy Beres hit a walk-off three-run homer to end it (his first-career HR). It was the most combined runs in single-game program history, and the Bruins' 25 hits were their most in a single-game since 2008.
- The Bruins and Beavers engaged in another back-and-forth battle in the second game of the divisional final, played just an hour after the first, with OSU notching a 8-7 walk-off win in the ninth. UCLA battled back from a large deficit in this contest too, as OSU led 5-0 after two.
- INF Ethan Gourson (.435/.517/.565, 6 RBIs) and OF Michael Curialle (.538/.552/.731) made the all-tournament team
- 3B Kyle Karros reached base in his first nine plate appearances of the tourney, finishing with team-highs in batting (.591), and RBIs (9)
History Against the Auburn Regional Field
- UCLA is 0-1 all-time against Florida State, with the lone matchup coming on Jun. 19, 2012 at the College World Series. The Seminoles took a 4-1 decision in that contest, eliminating the Bruins from the CWS. FSU scored two runs in the first inning of that game and never looked back. Beau Amaral led the Bruins with a 2-4 line, and Cody Keefer singled home Kevin Williams in the sixth inning for the squad's lone run. David Berg tossed 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings to lead the Bruin staff.
- The Bruins have never faced Auburn or Southeastern Louisiana.
- SEC: UCLA owns a 28-25 record all-time against SEC teams. The Bruins last faced an SEC opponent on Mar. 6, 2020 (the Bruins defeated Vanderbilt, 3-2, as part of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, days before the COVID shutdown).
- Southland: The Bruins are 2-2 all-time against current Southland Conference members, though UCLA has played just one game against that league since 2000 (UCLA def. Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 11-3, on Mar. 12, 2010). Gerrit Cole had 15 strikeouts in that game, his most in a single game as a Bruin.
In The Polls
UCLA appeared in all five major national polls this week, checking in as high as No. 13 (Collegiate Baseball) while also appearing at No. 16 (NCBWA), No. 19 (Baseball America, D1Baseball), and No. 25 (USA TODAY Coaches Poll). The Bruins have been ranked as high as No. 6 this season (May 2, Collegiate Baseball), entered the year ranked as high as No. 22 in the preseason polls, and have been nationally ranked in all but three weeks over the course of the season.
In The Zone
As is the case most years, the Bruins have been adept so far in 2022 at limiting free passes. Entering Regionals, UCLA is 10th in the country in WHIP (1.26), eighth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.98), and 11th in K-BB ratio (3.1). The Bruins have sizable advantages over their opponents in walks drawn vs. issued (299-179) and HBPs drawn vs. issued (101-43).
- UCLA's +58 differential in HBPs is fifth-best in the country
- UCLA's +120 walk differential is sixth-best in the country
- Combined, the Bruins have a +178 differential for extra runners via BB/HBP. That total ranks fourth in the country, behind Tennessee, Oregon State, and Central Michigan.
UCLA is outscoring its opponents by a healthy margin (384-281) 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 155-91 (plus-64), including a 70-38 advantage in the first inning alone. The Bruins are 27-7 this season when scoring first and 21-6 when scoring in the first inning.
Palmer Locked In
Graduate first baseman Jake Palmer has been one of the team's most consistent hitters this season. Since Mar. 5, he's gone 56-157 (.357) while reaching base a further 42 times via walk or HBP. He reached base in 41 consecutive starts during that time (snapping the streak on May 19 at Oregon State), by far the longest streak of any Bruin this season. Palmer's 56 free passes (40 BB, 16 HBP) rank second on a team that has excelled in that area, and he's nearly doubled his batting average since early March (from .162 to .314).
UCLA's starting pitching has been excellent in 2022, combining for the following stats:
- 3.91 ERA and 284-73 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 269 innings
- 117 total earned runs allowed (1.95 per game)
- 1.17 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
- Allowed 0 ER or fewer in 14 of 60 games, 1 ER or fewer in 28 of 60 games, and 2 ER or fewer in 43 of 60 games
- Allowed more than four hits just 20 times in 60 games
Savage Hits a Trio of Milestones in 2022
The 2022 campaign has been chock-full of milestones for UCLA head coach John Savage, who this year has reached:
- Career win No. 700 (at Pepperdine on Apr. 12, 9-7)
- Win No. 600 at UCLA (vs. Harvard on Mar. 18, 25-2)
- Career game No. 1,000 at UCLA (Apr. 5 vs. LMU; W, 5-4)
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 with more than spot duty (Luke Jewett, Thatcher Hurd, Ethan Flanagan, Gage Jump, and Alonzo Tredwell) have combined for some gaudy numbers: 12-3, 11 saves, 2.73 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and a 222-63 K-BB ratio over 187 1/3 innings. The top three qualifying ERAs on the staff belong to freshmen (Hurd, Flanagan, Tredwell).
This is 30
UCLA's win over Arizona State on May 1 was the team's 30th victory of the season. Exempting the COVID-shortened 2020 season (in which UCLA was pace for 48 regular season wins), UCLA has now hit the 30-win plateau in five straight and six of the last seven seasons. Overall, UCLA has won 30+ games 13 times under head coach John Savage. With two more wins, the Bruins will log their 12th 40-win season all-time.
Schrier Standing Out
True freshman shortstop Cody Schrier leads the Bruins in home runs (9) despite missing six games in May:
- His 9 HRs are the most by a UCLA freshman since Cody Regis in 2010 (last Bruin frosh w/ 10+ HRs: Gabe Cohen, 2007)
- In 39 games with Schrier atop the lineup, UCLA is 25-14 while Schrier has slashed .300/.375/.503
- He hit safely in 11 straight games from Apr. 15 to May 3, the longest hitting streak by a Bruin so far in 2022
- During the streak, he batted .451 (23-51) with 11 extra-base hits and a team-high 14 RBIs
- He reached base safely in 19 consecutive games from Apr. 2 to May 3, slashing .424/.505/.694 during that span
- Key performances: Mar. 18 vs Harvard (4-4, 6 RBIs), Apr. 5 vs. LMU (walk-off HR), ASU series (P12 Player of the Week, 6-13, 9 RBIs)
Gourson Doing Great
Freshman second baseman Ethan Gourson has produced a league-high 22 doubles this season, tying a UCLA freshman program record (Garrett Atkins, 1998). He's the lone player in the Pac-12 that ranks top-10 league-wide in doubles, HBPs (17, second), and walks (41, eighth). He was productive while filling in for Schrier at shortstop in the Pac-12 Tournament, earning all-tournament honors after going 10-23 with two extra-base hits, five walks, and six RBIs.
On The Move
UCLA has been busy on the basepaths so far in 2022, stealing 72 bases at an 85% success rate to this point. The Bruins are second in the Pac-12 in total stolen bases, and rank No. 19 nationally in success rate. The Bruins have swiped a bag in 38 of 60 games this year, including 10 contests with at least 3 SBs. UCLA stole 11 bases over three games against CSUN to open the season, the program's most in a single series over the last 10 years. Kenny Oyama is second in the league in stolen bases, and during the Pac-12 Tournament became just the second Bruin with a 20-SB season over the last decade (Brian Carroll, 32; 2013).
Curialle Coming Through
Michael Curialle has been on a tear recently, batting safely in his last seven games and collecting multiple hits in all but one of those contests. He leads the team in practically every offensive category over that span, including batting .514 (18-35). He's raised his average 36 points in the last seven games alone, and earned All-Pac-12 Tournament honors with a 14-26 line. He enters NCAAs as the team leader in batting (.326), hits (72), slugging (.498), OPS (.901), triples (3), RBIs (40, tied with Karros), and multi-hit games (23).