UCLA vs. USC showdown on the PAC12 network

By: coachemup!


No. 15 Bruins Ready for Crosstown Showdown with USC                   Each game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

LOS ANGELES - The 15th-ranked UCLA baseball team (22-10, 11-4) will host crosstown rival USC (18-15, 6-9) for a three-game Pac-12 series beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. PT at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Every game of the series will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Jim Watson and Wes Clements on the call and can also be heard live on UCLABruins.com with Tim Wilhelm on the call.

Probable Starters
Friday, April 20 - 7 p.m. PT
UCLA - Jake Bird, RHP, Sr. (4-2, 1.65 ERA)
USC - Kyle Hurt, RHP, Fr. (2-3, 4.20 ERA)
Saturday, April 21 - 4 p.m. PT
UCLA - Zach Pettway, RHP, Fr. (5-1, 2.85 ERA)
USC - Solomon Bates, RHP, Jr. (3-1, 3.11 ERA)
Sunday, April 22 - 12 p.m. PT
USC - Quentin Longrie, LHP, Jr. (4-2, 3.71 ERA)

Week in Review UCLA earned a series sweep over the weekend at Utah to improve to 11-4 in Pac-12 play.

  • UCLA won the series opener against the Utes, 16-3, as Jeremy Ydens hit a home run and a double with three runs scored, while Jake Bird allowed just two runs in 7.1 innings of work.
  • The Bruins won game two with a three-run ninth inning when Jarron Silva drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the ninth inning, while Zach Pettway tossed 7.0 innings for a 6-3 victory.
  • UCLA won the series finale, 12-4, as Jack Stronach collected two base hits and three RBIs, while Garrett Mitchell also drove in three runs and scored twice.
  • The Bruins dropped their midweek game to UC Irvine at home, 8-1, with Chase Strumpf going 3-for-3 with a walk and Will McInerny driving in a run.

Starting Pitchers Lead the Way Under head coach John Savage, the UCLA baseball team has been known for its starting pitching and this year is no different. Through the first half of the season, Bruin starting pitchers on the weekend have thrown 163.1 innings and have allowed 40 earned runs for a 2.20 ERA. The weekend starters have also totaled 103 strikeouts compared to just 36 walks, good or a 2.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Pac-12 Hitting The UCLA offense has been one of the best in the conference during Pac-12 play. In conference games, the Bruins are first in runs scored (105), RBIs (97) and on-base percentage (.405). They are also top-3 in batting average (.297), hits (149), home runs (11) and doubles (27). UCLA is scoring seven runs a game against Pac-12 opponents including averaging 10 runs over the last two weekends against then-No. 2 Stanford and on the road at Utah.

Strumpf Stays Hot Sophomore second baseman Chase Strumpf has been on a tear at the plate over the last 10 games. He is hitting at a .515 clip with a team-best 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored over the stretch. He is slugging .818 with three home runs and has also recorded a .673 on-base percentage after drawing 14 walks including four in the series finale at Utah.

Youth Movement This year the Bruins offense is being led by a talented group of underclassmen. The freshmen and sophomores have combined to drive in almost 79 percent of the team's runs and have also tallied 75 percent of the team's hits. In addition, they have scored just under 73 percent of the team's runs and have registered 71 of the 93 extra-base hits.

The Bruins Keeping Pace The Bruins are off to a fast start this year as they enter this weekend with a 22-10 record. This is the best start for UCLA since beginning the 2015 season 25-7, becoming the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and also the 2013 season starting 22-10, the year the Bruins won its first-ever NCAA championship.

NCAA Rankings More than halfway through the college baseball season and the Bruins are ranked top-50 nationally in a number of categories:

  • ERA (8th, 2.85), WHIP (11th, 1.21), Sacrifice Flies (12th, 22), Fielding Percentage (16th, .980), Walks Allowed Per Nine Innings (19th, 3.04), On-Base Percentage (27th, .397), Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (40th, 7.86), Doubles per Game (40th, 2.03), Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (47th, 2.44).

Pac-12 Leaders UCLA is ranked in the top-3 in the conference as a team and top-10 individually in a number of categories:

  • As a team, the Bruins are top-3 in ERA, doubles, walks, hit by pitches, sacrifice flies, stolen bases, opposing batting average, runs allowed, hits allowed, walks allowed and fielding percentage.
  • Offensively, Chase Strumpf is top-10 in the conference in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, RBIs, home runs and walks, Michael Toglia is top-10 in doubles, walks and home runs. Jeremy Ydens ranks in the top-10 in the conference in batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases.
  • On the mound, Zach Pettway is top-11 in opponent batting average, wins and innings pitched, while Jake Bird is third in the conference in ERA and tops in innings pitched. Ryan Garica leads the conference in opposing batting average and is top-10 in ERA.

In The Polls UCLA made a jump in the national polls after going 3-1 last week including earning a series sweep on the road at Utah. Baseball America has the Bruins at No. 15, up three spots from last week and D1Baseball has UCLA shooting up four spots to No. 13 in the country. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll has the Bruins jumping to No. 13 after being No. 14 last week.

Representing the Red, White and Blue Over the summer in 2017, head coach John Savage was the manager of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and right-handed pitcher Jon Olsen became the first Bruin to play for Team USA since James Kaprielian in 2014. Savage led the U.S. to a 15-5 record over the summer, including holding an 11-4 mark during international play. The United States won all three international series it competed in, including going 4-0 against Chinese Taipei and 3-2 versus both Cuba and Japan. Olsen finished the summer with a 1-0 record and a 2.67 ERA in six appearances for the red, white and blue. He also registered 15 strikeouts compared to just two walks.

Scouting USC USC enters the weekend with a 18-15 mark, including 6-9 in the Pac-12, after dropping two out of three at home to Arizona last weekend followed by falling to UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday and defeating Loyola Marymount on Wednesday. The Trojans are led offensively by Chase Bushor hitting .302 with nine extra-base hits, while Dillon Paulson has a team-high six home runs and 26 RBIs. The pitching staff is led by Quentin Longrie who is 4-2 in eight starts with a 3.71 ERA and 28 strikeouts, while Kyle Hurt has also made eight starts with a 4.20 ERA and a 2-3 record. Connor Lunn has a team-best eight saves this season in 15 appearances and has a 4.11 ERA.

History against the Trojans UCLA is 138-262 all-time against USC after playing in their 400th meeting earlier this year in the final game of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic on March 11. UCLA is 7-6 since 2015 vs. USC with the Bruins taking all three games at Dedeaux Field last season. The Bruins are 31-19 against the Trojans under head coach John Savage, the most wins against a single opponent during his tenure.

Positional Rankings With the season at its halfway point, D1Baseball updated its positional power rankings and a number of Bruins have made the positional rankings:

Draft Stock UCLA has several players that are ranked inside the top 100 MLB draft prospects in the country.

  • Kyle Molnar was named the No. 10 2018 draft prospect by Baseball America and No. 13 by D1Baseball in the Pac-12. He was also tabbed the No. 91 overall college draft prospect by D1Baseball.
  • Jon Olsen was pegged No. 14 by Baseball America and No. 16 by D1Baseball in the Pac-12 for 2018 draft prospects.
  • Daniel Amaral and Jake Bird were each named to D1Baseball's list of 2018 draft prospects in the Pac-12.
  • Bird was also named as one of the top college senior draft prospects by D1Baseball and baseball America.
  • Michael Toglia was tabbed the No. 1 draft prospect in the Pac-12 by D1Baseball for the 2019 MLB draft and No. 8 by Baseball America. He was also tabbed the 12th-highest prospect overall by D1Baseball.
  • In addition to Toglia, Chase StrumpfRyan KreidlerJeremy Ydens and Jack Stronach were on D1Baseball's top 2019 MLB draft prospects list.

Looking Ahead The Bruins will return to Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday to host Cal State Fullerton for a midweek matchup starting at 6 p.m. PT. UCLA will then travel to Cal Poly next weekend for a three-game non-conference series beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. PT from Baggett Stadium.


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