UCLA: UC Irvine

UC Irvine takes control of L.A. Regional

June, 4, 2011
6/04/11
9:46
PM PT
UC Irvine moved into the driver's seat at the L.A. Regional with a 4-3 victory over San Francisco in a second-round game of the NCAA baseball playoffs Saturday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The No. 3-seeded Anteaters (41-16) now await the winner of the elimination game between No. 1 UCLA and No. 4 USF. Those teams meet at 2 p.m. Sunday and the winner plays Irvine at 6 p.m. Another victory for Irvine would send the Anteaters to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2008.

"Clearly we love being the team that’s 2-0," Irvine coach Mike Gillespie said. "We prefer to be the team that’s 2-0, not as much as we’d like to be the team 3-0. This is the position that every team wants to be in, so that’s a good thing for us. We trust that all of us know that there’s lots of work to be done so we have to stay after it."

Irvine pitcher Matt Whitehouse (4-0) held San Francisco in check, giving up two runs and four hits with seven strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. San Francisco rallied with two runs in the ninth, but relievers Brian Hernandez and Jimmy Litchfield got the final two outs. Litchfield struck out San Francisco catcher Mason Morioka to end the game and picked up his third save of the season.

Irvine left fielder Drew Hillman provided the big blow, knocking a slider over the left field fence for a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth inning that gave Irvine a 4-0 lead.

San Francisco pitcher Matt Hiserman (6-4) took the loss despite a 98-pitch, complete game. He gave up seven hits and four runs with one walk and a strikeout, but made the crucial mistake to Hillman.

"I left a slider over the middle of the plate," he said. "I thought it was a good pitch, not a good location."

Baseball's hope to host regional takes hit

May, 3, 2011
5/03/11
11:36
AM PT
Everything that could have gone wrong nearly did for the UCLA baseball team over the weekend.

If not for a 5-2 win Sunday against Oregon State, the Bruins might have been out for the count in the heated Pac-10 race. Ace pitcher and No. 1 draft prospect Gerrit Cole blew a 5-1 lead Friday night and the Bruins were no-hit by Josh Osich Saturday afternoon. Under those circumstances, Sunday's finale was as close to a "must-win" as you'll get in late April.

The Bruins (23-16, 11-7 Pac-10) salvaged a game and trail Oregon State (32-9, 12-3) by four games in the loss column with nine conference games remaining. They are tied with California for third place, two games back of second-place Arizona State.

UCLA did bag a crucial midweek victory against UC Irvine last Tuesday which, in retrospect, softened the blow Oregon State dealt to the Bruins' hopes of hosting a regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium for the second straight year. The Bruins fell two spots in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 coaches' poll, from 20th to 22nd. There is still room for movement, though -- the Bruins have three games with eighth-ranked Arizona State, one against 11th-ranked Cal State Fullerton, one against 19th-ranked Irvine and three against 25th-ranked Cal left on their schedule.

Baseball: UCLA stays put in latest poll

April, 25, 2011
4/25/11
9:27
PM PT
The UCLA baseball team heads into its most important week of the year ranked 20th in the latest USA Today/ESPN top 25 coaches' poll. The Bruins went 2-2 last week -- capping it with a series loss at Stanford -- but didn't slip in the rankings.

Now the fun begins.

UCLA (21-14) hosts 18th-ranked UC Irvine (26-10) on Tuesday night before welcoming ninth-ranked Oregon State (29-8) for a weekend set at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Irvine is a game back of Cal State Fullerton in the Big West standings; the Beavers lead the Pac-10 with a 10-2 mark. The Bruins sit in third place at 10-5, behind 11-4 Arizona State.

Anyone who follows UCLA baseball knows it's been an up-and-down season for the defending national runner-up. They entered the spring as the top-ranked team in the land, won their first four games but haven't matched such a streak since.

Now's the time for the Bruins to make their move.

Deep Three: Bruins nearly give it away

December, 23, 2010
12/23/10
11:25
PM PT
We go beyond the arc following UCLA's narrow 74-73 win over UC Irvine on Thursday night:

1MISSED FREE THROWS ALMOST COSTLY

With the game on the line, UCLA nearly blew it at the line.

The Bruins missed six free throws in the final 51 seconds, going 2-for-8, to make things interesting Thursday.

Junior guard Jerime Anderson, a 56.3 percent free-throw shooter this season, missed a pair with UCLA up five. The Anteaters cut the deficit to two before Lazeric Jones, the team's best foul shooter at 80.8 percent, split his two attempts. Reeves Nelson also split his pair to put the Bruins up four with 14 seconds remaining.

A Darren Moore three made it a one-point game with seven ticks left and freshman Tyler Lamb missed two to give UC Irvine a chance at the upset.

The Bruins shot 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) for the game. They're shooting 64.4 for the season.

"Our free-throw shooting down the stretch was obviously a problem for us," coach Ben Howland said. "We've got to be able to close out games by making foul shots."

2LET'S TALK ABOUT IT...

Made basket. Timeout.

It has become a Howland trademark in his eight years as UCLA's head coach.

So it wasn't surprising that the whistle blew when Jones' three-pointer gave the Bruins a 14-point lead with 16:51 remaining in the game Thursday. UCLA had things going its way, but Howland wanted to talk things through. He said he's never been afraid of destroying the momentum.

"We're up 14," Howland remembered telling his team. "Let's shorten the game, there's 16-something to go, let's have a good defensive possession coming out of this timeout."

UC Irvine (6-6) responded with a 14-6 run following the timeout and hung close for the rest of the night.

3VIDEO: BEN HOWLAND AND JOSHUA SMITH REACTION

Baseball: UCLA sweeps through L.A. Regional

June, 6, 2010
6/06/10
10:10
PM PT
Who says you can’t hit the ball out of Jackie Robinson Stadium at night? Who says the postseason is where freshmen hitters go to die? Who says UCLA is just a weak-hitting, bunt-happy team?

Cody Regis put those stigmas to rest, tucked them into bed and kissed them goodnight with one vicious swing of the bat Sunday night. The end result was a three-run, line-drive homer to right in the eighth that propelled the Bruins to a 6-2 win over UC Irvine and sent them to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament.

Prior to the crucial at-bat, UCLA second-year hitting coach Rick Vanderhook summoned Regis back to the on-deck circle for a brief conference. The talk could have been about moving two runners into scoring position, but according to Regis, Vanderhook told him to prepare for a fastball on the first Matt Summers offering.

(“I went into that at-bat thinking that I was going to bunt and preparing myself to bunt, but then I got the green light,” Regis said.

So Regis made the ball go, his second home run in two days proving why he’s one of UCLA’s most promising hitters.

“The freshmen class is very good,” UCLA head coach John Savage said. “It’s a combination of very good pitching, very good freshmen position players and a real good group of older guys that are keeping this thing together.”

Now the Bruins are heading to their first trip to the Super Regionals since 2007 and a year after missing the postseason altogether. Junior pitcher Rob Rasmussen made sure of it, backing strong performances from previous starters Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer with six innings of two-run ball. Relievers Erik Goeddel and Dan Klein combined for three scoreless innings to close it out.

“UCLA is one of those teams that can be standing on the last day,” Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie said.

The Bruins won their 46th game of the year to set a new school record for victories in a season. UCLA went 45-21-1 in 1997 -- a year that ended with a trip to the College World Series.

UCLA is two wins away -- against either Cal State Fullerton or Minnesota -- from Omaha.

“We feel like we have a special team but we know we have a lot of work to do,” Savage said.

The Associated Press The LSU Tigers are coming to Los Angeles and reportedly bringing all of Baton Rouge with them.


According to UCLA's Central Ticket Office, tickets to this weekend's Los Angeles Regional have been selling quickly. The tickets were made available at 10 a.m. PT Monday morning, and as 2 p.m., only about 100 general admission tickets and just a "handful" of full-session reserve seats remained.

The alarming thing for UCLA? A large chunk of the ticket sales have gone to fans of Louisiana State -- this according to UCLA's CTO.

UCLA added around 650 seats during the season to increase its chances of being selected as a regional host. UCLA was awarded that thanks to a 43-13 regular season. The Bruins were also awarded with toughest on-field group (LSU and UC Irvine are also ranked in the latest poll), but will those extra seats -- perhaps filled by opposing fans -- serve as an disadvantage this weekend?

Coach John Savage said he did not know if the school intended on installing more seats when asked Monday morning.

The Bruins, who earned the nation's No. 6 seeding and are hosting for the first time since 1986, begin play Friday night against Kent State. LSU and UC Irvine kick off the four-team mini tournament at 2 p.m. Friday.

Baseball: Los Angeles Regional field set

May, 31, 2010
5/31/10
1:11
PM PT
The UCLA baseball team will have to go through defending national champion LSU and local rival UC Irvine if it hopes to advance past the Los Angeles Regional next weekend.

That's perfectly fine for the Bruins, who erupted in their clubhouse at Jackie Robinson Stadium when they learned that they had received the NCAA Tournament's No. 6 overall seed on Monday morning.

"It's the best regional and it's definitely the toughest," junior pitcher Rob Rasmussen said. "But we wouldn't have it any other way."

Said sophomore infielder Tyler Rahmatulla: ""It doesn't matter who we play. We're just going to play the same way we've been playing all year."

UCLA will play No. 4-seeded Kent State (39-23) on Friday night, following the highly anticipated matchup between No. 2 LSU and No. 3 UC Irvine at the Jack. The losers of each game face off Saturday in a win-or-go-home scenario, while the winners play to move on in the winner's bracket.

The four-team Regional is already being pegged as the "Group of Death" -- and it's hard to argue against that. UCLA (43-13) finished second in the Pac-10 Conference, which sends eight of its 10 schools to the tournament. LSU won the SEC Tournament over the weekend, while UC Irvine (37-19) placed second in the Big West behind Cal State Fullerton. Kent State won five games last weekend to claim the Mid-American Conference Tournament title.

"We're very proud of what we've done," UCLA head coach John Savage said. "Earning a national seed is a big accomplishment. Certainly playing on the West Coast and playing in the Pac-10, to get out of that the way we did, shows a lot about the character of our team. We knew it was going to be a very difficult regional -- that's what the postseason is. There's no surprises."

Baseball drops 2-1 decision at UC Irvine

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
10:25
PM PT
IRVINE -- For only the third time all season, the UCLA baseball team dropped a road game Tuesday night.

UCLA head coach John Savage was not there to see the end of it.

The sixth-year coach was ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning immediately after UC Irvine's Jeff Cusick doubled to give the Anteaters the two go-ahead runs in an eventual 2-1 win at Anteater Ballpark. Earlier in the inning, Savage disputed a blooper that first base umpire Bradley Hungerford ruled had hit the ground before center fielder Beau Amaral made the catch.

“I thought it was a catch," Savage said afterward. "It was a difference in opinion and I expressed my thoughts. After the two-run double, I said something I shouldn’t have said.”

Hungerford ejected Savage right after Cusick's game-winning double -- though it was unclear because Hungerford began to jog toward center while Savage chased after him. Savage eventually retreated back into the first base dugout to gather his belongings and was set to exit down the right field line but was told he had to leave from the other side.

Here's a condensed version of the sequence:



Before then, UCLA had struggled to string productive at-bats.

“It was disappointing," Savage said. "We just didn’t get good swings.”

The night looked promising after the Bruins (34-11) got on the board in the first on a run-producing bouncer from Tyler Rahmatulla. But UCLA collected four hits -- all singles -- and was held in check by Irvine relievers Nick Hoover and Evan Brock (combined 7 2/3 innings, two hits, no runs and seven strikeouts).

UCLA starter Garett Claypool (7-2) absorbed his second loss of the season despite giving up only two runs in six innings.

"We should have given a better offensive effort," said Blair Dunlap, who scored UCLA's run in the first.

Claypool leads UCLA to 4-1 win over UC Irvine

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
10:34
PM PT
Garett Claypool was zoned in Tuesday night.

The senior right-hander tossed a career-high 7 2/3 innings, leading the UCLA baseball team to a 4-1 win against UC Irvine (24-14) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

"Every time you’re out there, you want to compete and go as long as you can," Claypool said. "I had to do a little convincing to have coach [John Savage] keep me in the game.”

By the time Savage brought in Erik Goeddel in the eighth, Claypool had done enough. The Bruins' offense had done just enough too.

After stranding eight runners in the first four innings, UCLA scored three in the fifth -- highlighted by Chris Giovinazzo's two-run blast -- to open a rather comfortable 4-0 advantage.

Closer Dan Klein lowered his ERA to a minuscule 0.62 and earned his eighth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

UCLA (30-7), which reached 30 wins in the fewest games in program history, welcomes No. 3 Arizona State (33-5) for a three-game series beginning Friday night.

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