The No. 14 UCLA Bruins open their 2012 college baseball season on Friday night, hosting the Maryland Terrapins at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins lost their top two pitchers from last season, Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in the 2011 MLB Draft, respectively, but return a strong team to Westwood in 2012.
Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko leads the pitching staff this season after earning All-Pac-10 Team honors as a freshman last year. Plutko was 7-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts as a freshman. Plutko will start the season opener Friday night against Maryland.
The offense is led by four returning regulars, all juniors. Left fielder Cody Keefer (.303/.393/.408 in 2011), center fielder Beau Amaral (.299/.404/.425), third baseman Cody Regis (.284/.381/.448 with a team-leading six home runs), and right fielder Jeff Gelalich (.268/.389/.415) have all played together for two seasons.
The Bruins were ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll by Baseball America, were ranked No. 18 in the USA Today / ESPN coaches poll, and ranked No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball. Head coach John Savage's team was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 in the preseason coaches poll, behind Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State.
Here are the probable starting pitchers for the three-game weekend series:
Game 1 - Friday, February 17 (6 p.m. PST): Plutko, UCLA (7-4, 2.01 ERA in 2011); Brady Kirkpatrick, Maryland (2-5, 5.71)
Game 2 - Saturday, February 18 (2 p.m. PST): Nick Vander Tuig, UCLA (3-4, 2.09); David Carroll, Maryland (5-5, 4.70)
Game 3 - Sunday, February 19 (10 a.m. PST): Zach Weiss, UCLA (5-3, 2.86); Brett Harman, Maryland (redshirt freshman)
This is the first-ever meeting on the baseball diamond between UCLA and Maryland.
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