Wednesday, 27 May 2015 18:07

Berg Named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year

Written by  UCLA Official Press Release

LOS ANGELES – In a vote of Pac-12 coaches, UCLA senior closer David Berg has been named the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, it was announced today by the conference office. This is the second time Berg has earned the honor, also being selected in 2013.

Berg D 350

The conference also announced the All-Pac-12 teams where Berg joins Grant Dyer, Ty Moore, Kevin Kramer, James Kaprielian and Grant Watson on the first team. Griffin Canning, Luke Persico and Darrell Miller Jr. were named honorable mention All-Pac-12. UCLA ties Arizona State with the most players on the All-Pac-12 first team with six apiece.

Berg is the fourth UCLA pitcher, and third in the last five seasons, to be named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year. Berg in 2015 and 2013, Trevor Bauer in 2011 and Pete Janicki in 1992 are the four occasions that a Bruin has been selected. In 2013, Berg was the first relief pitcher in Pac-12 history to be named Pitcher of the Year.

A semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Berg is 7-1 with a 0.73 ERA (3rd in the nation) this season. Over 40 appearances, Berg has recorded 56 strikeouts and seven walks in 61.2 innings, posting the nation’s ninth best strikeout-to-walk ratio (8/1). In Pac-12 play, Berg has allowed just one earned run, posting a 5-0 record with 0.22 ERA and eight saves in 22 appearances. The Covina, Calif. native currently holds the NCAA record for career appearances at 172 and is just five saves away from tying the NCAA record for career saves. Berg has pitched a career-high six innings twice this season and threw one perfect inning on May 15 to pair with Kaprielian for the program’s first ever no-hitter. The Bishop Amat High School alum has 12 saves this season, ranking third best in the Pac-12. Berg has been named to the All-Pac-12 first team in all four seasons in Westwood, joining Cal’s Lance Blankenship (1983-1986) and Oregon State’s Pete Rowe (1974-1977) as the only players to achieve that feat.  

Serving as the Bruins’ set-up man, this is the first All-Pac-12 honor for sophomore right-hander Grant Dyer. The Laguna Niguel, Calif. native has a 4-1 record with a 1.86 ERA over 53.1 innings out of the bullpen this season. Dyer has recorded 62 strikeouts, ranking first on the team among full-time relievers. His 39 appearances rank behind only Berg, and he has held opponents to a team-low .174 batting average. On March 24, Dyer set a new career-high with seven strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief in a win over San Diego State.

Junior left fielder Ty Moore currently leads UCLA with a career-high .335 average (6th best in the Pac-12), earning his first All-Pac-12 honor this season. Moore has recorded 17 extra-base hits, including five homeruns, and has a team-high 47 RBI. The Mater Dei High School alum has started all 56 games this season and has set or tied single game career-highs in at-bats, runs, hits, RBI, triples, homeruns and stolen bases. Moore has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week twice this season, going 5-for-13 with nine RBI from March 23-29 and going 7-for-18 with six RBI from May 4-10. Over the past two seasons, Moore has started all 112 games for UCLA.

After missing all of last season due to injury, redshirt junior Kevin Kramer has started all 56 games at shortstop this season, earning his first All-Pac-12 honor. Kramer ranks fourth in the conference in hits, runs and on-base percentage, posting a career-high .328 average. The Turlock, Calif. native has 21 extra-base hits, including six homeruns (2nd on the team), and has scored a team-high 49 runs. A semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, Kramer has a team-high 142 assists and has been a part of 25 double-plays. The 2013 honorable mention All-Pac-12 honoree has set or tied single game career-highs in at-bats, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, homeruns and stolen bases this season.

Also an All-Pac-12 first team honoree in 2014, James Kaprielian has gone 9-4 with a 1.94 ERA in 15 starts this season to earn All-Pac-12 for the second time. Kaprielian leads the conference in wins and strikeouts, while ranking third in ERA. The Tustin, Calif. native has racked up 107 strikeouts over a team-high 97.2 innings; the second year in-a-row Kaprielian has topped the century mark. On May 15, Kaprielian threw nine no-hit innings, striking out a season-high 11, to combine with Berg for a 10-inning no-hitter. The no-hitter is the first in UCLA history and marked the third double-digit strikeout performance of the season for the Beckman High School alum. For his performance, Kaprielian was awarded with his second career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week award; his first coming in 2014. Kaprielian has been even better in Pac-12 play, lowering his ERA to 1.64 in 10 conference starts.

Senior left-hander Grant Watson, earning his first All-Pac-12 first team honor, had a record-breaking season, passing Jim Parque as the winningest left-handed pitcher in UCLA history. His current total of 30 career wins also ranks second in UCLA history among all pitchers, just four back of record-holder Trevor Bauer. Watson also set a new school record for career starts, currently sitting at 62 over four seasons in Westwood. This season, Watson is 8-4 with a 2.08 ERA (5th best in the Pac-12) in 15 starts. Over 91 innings, Watson has racked up 60 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .224 average. Excellent at controlling the run game, the Bakersfield, Calif. native has picked off a conference-high 10 runners. 

Earning honorable mention All-Pac-12, freshman right-hander Griffin Canning has gone 7-1 with 2.97 ERA in 15 appearances (11 starts) this season. The Santa Margarita High School alum has racked up 66 strikeouts with just six walks in 63.2 innings, posting the nation’s third best strikeout-to-walk ratio (11/1). During his rookie campaign, Canning, has retired 10 or more consecutive batters in six different games, including a three-game span (3/10, 3/14, 3/22) where he retired 28 in-a-row. The Coto de Caza, Calif. native’s best start this season came on March 10 when he allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings while striking out a career-high nine batters in a victory at Pepperdine.

Sophomore first baseman Luke Persico has started all 56 games this season, hitting a career-high .286 with three homeruns and 38 RBI to earn honorable mention All-Pac-12. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif. native has stolen 10-of-13 bases this season and boasts a team-high tying four sacrifice-flies. Persico, who played second base last season, has been even better in conference play, hitting .303 (2nd on the team). The Great Oak High School alum has set or tied single game career-highs in at-bats, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, homeruns and stolen bases this season.

UCLA redshirt sophomore catcher Darrell Miller Jr. has appeared in a career-high 50 games (48 starts) this season to earn honorable mention All-Pac-12. A semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Miller Jr. is hitting .254 with 13 extra-base hits and 27 RBI this season. The Servite High School alum has thrown out 60 percent of potential base stealers and earned Pac-12 Player of the Week earlier this season after going 6-for-12 with six RBI from April 20-26. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native has set or tied single game career-highs in at-bats, runs, hits, RBI, doubles and homeruns this seas

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