Dodgers manager Dave Roberts proud of his UCLA ties

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts still holds the UCLA single-season record for stolen bases (photo/uclabruins.com)

In advance of the Dodgers’ UCLA night on April 28, manager Dave Roberts spoke about his four years in Westwood. He chose to walk on to the UCLA baseball team instead of accepting a football scholarship to be an option quarterback at Air Force.

Before he even chose a sport, Roberts’ athletic career nearly ended as a sophomore in high school. He blew out his knee so badly that he needed a second opinion to find a doctor who told him he could ever play sports again. He went on to win a CIF championship as Rancho Buena Vista’s quarterback before choosing baseball in college.

READ: Dave Roberts proud to link UCLA to the Dodgers

Roberts didn’t just pass through UCLA. He spend four years there, the fourth being the most vital to launching a 10-year playing career in major league baseball. There were more than 1,300 players selected ahead of him, including nine UCLA teammates, in the 1993 MLB draft. He returned to UCLA, where he set a school record with 45 stolen bases, and achieved career highs in batting average (.353), on-base percentage (.445) and slugging percentage (.468). He was drafted 21 rounds earlier in 1994.

Roberts spent three seasons playing for the Dodgers, but his most notable feat came as a member of the Red Sox. Roberts famously stole second base and eventually scored the tying run in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees. The Red Sox won in extra innings and didn’t lose again on the way to snapping an 86-year drought and winning the 2004 World Series.

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UCLA weekend recap: Offense breaks out in baseball sweep

The UCLA baseball team entered this weekend as one of the worst hitting teams in the Pac-12. After a three-game sweep over California at home, it looks like the Bruins might be ready to climb up the rankings.

UCLA scored 38 combined runs with 36 hits in its sweep, capping off the weekend with a 20-0 thrashing of the Bears (9-12, 1-5 Pac-12). The 20-run total was the most for the Bruins in a single game since 2010. The Bruins won 9-5 on Friday and 9-4 on Saturday.

UCLA (10-11, 4-2 Pac-12) was last in the conference in hitting percentage (.237) and second-to-last in runs scored (73) before this weekend.

First baseman Sean Bouchard led the Bruins with eight RBIs over the weekend, highlighted by a career-high five on Sunday. Cal committed seven errors Sunday, which led to 11 unearned runs.

Jon Olsen pitched a career-high seven innings Sunday while holding the Bears to just three hits in the shutout.

Elsewhere in UCLA athletics:  Continue reading “UCLA weekend recap: Offense breaks out in baseball sweep” »

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Senior night at UCLA a send-off for more than Alford, Hamilton

Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford will be honored on senior night before UCLA’s regular season finale against Washington State

Isaac Hamilton was Steve Alford’s first recruit at UCLA. Bryce Alford will leave campus as the fifth-leading scorer in the history of UCLA basketball. The two seniors will be honored on senior night before Saturday’s regular season finale against Washington State.

As for UCLA’s two best players? It’s almost a certainty that Saturday is Lonzo Ball’s final game at Pauley Pavilion. TJ Leaf’s was probably Wednesday – when he sprained his ankle and created UCLA’s biggest postseason concern. Ball is likely a top-five pick and Leaf a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft, should they depart after one season.

It should also be noted that the third senior being honored during Saturday’s pregame ceremony is Jerrold Smith, who began his college basketball career as a scout team player for the UCLA women’s team. He will end it as a scholarship player for the most storied program in college basketball.

READ: TJ Leaf a game-time decision for Washington State

The chemistry of this UCLA team is fairly remarkable considering the convergence of youth and experience. The expectations for the postseason are lofty, especially considering the eight-game winning streak during which the Bruins augmented the nation’s best offense with respectable defense.

Before the Pac-12 tournament begins next week, there is still something on the line Saturday. Continue reading “Senior night at UCLA a send-off for more than Alford, Hamilton” »

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Four Bruins selected in Day 3 of MLB Draft

Four more UCLA players went off the MLB Draft board on Saturday: infielder Luke Persico (352nd pick, 12 round, Oakland Athletics), outfielders Eric Filia (587th pick, 20th round, Seattle Mariners), Kort Peterson (703rd pick, 23rd round, Kansas City Royals) and Christoph Bono (1,115th pock, 37th round, San Francisco Giants).

Combined with pitcher Grant Dyer, who went in the eighth round on Friday, UCLA had five players selected in the 2016 MLB Draft along with four commits from the incoming freshman class. Three commits went on the first day, and Michael Toglia was selected on Saturday as the 1,040th pick in the 35th round by the Colorado Rockies.

Persico and Peterson are both juniors, while Filia and Bono just finished their UCLA baseball careers.  Continue reading “Four Bruins selected in Day 3 of MLB Draft” »

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UCLA pitcher Grant Dyer selected in eighth round of MLB Draft

Grant Dyer was the first UCLA player drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft, going 227th overall to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. The junior went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 starts this past year.

Dyer was the third player with UCLA ties drafted by the Phillies in the first two days of the draft. The Phillies selected two UCLA commits on Thursday: Mickey Moniak (first pick, first round) and Kevin Gowdy (42nd pick, second round).

Blake Rutherford, another UCLA commit, was drafted by the Yankees on Thursday with the 18th pick in the first round.

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