Bruins Keep Rolling With Big Pitching & Hitting
UCLA is off to the best start in program history. The Bruins are 13-0 heading into this weekend’s 3-game series vs. Oral Roberts. Most thought the Bruins would have a good pitching staff, with guys like sophomores Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer on the hill. However, UCLA’s offense had some big holes to fill from a team that didn’t even make an NCAA Regional in 2009.
The Bruins returned just four players who combined to hit 13 of the team’s 54 home runs last year, but they have already belted 18 long balls this season. That total currently leads the Pac-10. Senior leadoff man Blair Dunlap set the tone early when he homered the very first pitch UCLA saw this season in the season-opener against Bethune-Cookman. He enters this weekend’s action riding an 8-game hitting streak.
Sophomore catcher Steve Rodriguez is on his way to a breakout season at the plate. Rodriguez batted just .179 with 17 hits, two home runs and 10 RBIs as a freshman last year, but he’s currently hitting .375 (15-for-40) with 12 RBIs and a Pac-10 leading five home runs.
Tyler Rahmatulla is another sophomore who’s off to a great start after a pedestrian freshman season. The second baseman has started all 13 games and is hitting a team-best .420 while sharing team leads with five stolen bases and 13 runs scored.
As a team the Bruins are batting .355 with 18 home runs, a .536 slugging percentage, a .434 on-base percentage, and they’re averaging 8.6 runs a game. Heading into Friday’s match-up with Oral Roberts UCLA has nine players with at least 20 at-bats this season who are hitting .300 or better. Top wins in the 13-0 start have come against Vanderbilt (14-2) and Oklahoma (16-2).
As good as UCLA’s hitting has been, its pitching has been even better. The staff boasts a 2.00 ERA with a Pac-10 best 173 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 117.0 innings. Freshman Scott Griggs has made one appearance this season, and he gave-up one run in one inning for an ERA of 9.00. Otherwise, the worst ERA on the staff is held by Bob Rasmussen, who has a 2.79 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 19 1/3 IP in four starts. The staff has totaled at least 10 strikeouts in 11 of 13 games so far.
Cole (4-0, 2.10 ERA) leads the staff with 41 Ks and just 4 BB in 25 2/3 IP after last weekend’s 15 strikeout performance against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at the Whataburger Classic. Classmate Trevor Bauer (3-0, 2.38 ERA) fanned 15 the next day in a win over Mississippi State. He has 38 Ks with 6 BB in 22 2/3 innings so far. Rasmussen didn’t have the gaudy strikeout totals that Cole and Bauer did, but the left fanned seven in 6 IP in Sunday’s win over OU to snap the Sooners’ 10-game winning streak.
The UCLA relief corps been just as dominant as the team’s starting pitching. The bullpen is 4-0 with 3 saves, a 1.23 ERA and .213 opponent batting average. Closer Dan Klein has three saves with 14 strikeouts and just two BB in 11.0 innings and nine appearances, while set-up man Erik Goeddel (2-0, 2.70 ERA) has 12 Ks with 4 BB in 10.0 innings of work.
More on UCLA Through 13 Games…
- UCLA has opened the season with a 13-0 record, the best start on record in school history (dating to 1955).
- UCLA last won 13 straight in 1969, when they entered the College World Series on a 13-game win streak.
- Through Tuesday’s national action, UCLA (13-0) and Arizona State (16-0) are the only undefeated NCAA Division I ballclubs in the country.
- The Bruins have out-hit their opponent in all 13 ballgames, having outscored the opposition by a 112-31 margin.
- The offense ranks third in the Pac-10 in batting average (.355) and first in homers (18) through Tuesday.
- The pitching staff has posted a league-best 2.00 ERA and .188 opponent average through Tuesday.