Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel, the former managing editor of PrepStar magazine, is nationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on college football recruiting. The veteran analyst and reporter was key in first making Blue Chip Illustrated and then PrepStar Magazine a recruiting publication standard.

Kimbrel has written for CBS Sportsline, ESPN.com, CNN-SI, The Sporting News, Athlon's, Lindy's, Football News, and numerous other publications. He has also consulted on All-America teams for Parade Magazine and Street and Smith's. Most recently, Rick was the West Coast Recruiting Editor for Rivals.com, national recruiting consultant for Rivals.com and publisher of BruinBlitz.com.

Rick has been a featured guest on many television shows around the nation including Prime Ticket, Fox Sports, Fox Sports West, CNN, CNN-SI and numerous local and regional stations. Kimbrel is also a highly sought after guest on radio broadcasts from coast-to-coast.

Monday, 03 June 2013 13:49

UCLA Advances to NCAA Super Regionals

UCLA Advances to NCAA Super Regionals with 6-0 Win Over San Diego 
Bruins advance to third NCAA Super Regional in four years

Los Angeles, Calif. - The top-seeded UCLA Baseball team won its seventh regional title, posting a 6-0 victory over third-seeded San Diego in the finals of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional on Sunday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson led the way, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing just one hit.

The Bruins will face the winner of the NCAA Fullerton Regional Finals between Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State in a best-of-three series next weekend. Game dates and site location will be announced Monday evening at 8 p.m. (PT). Tickets for next weekend's NCAA Super Regionals will be available through UCLA's Central Ticket Office beginning on Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT, regardless of the location of next weekend's games.

UCLA, which improved to 42-17 with the win, received a dominant effort on the mound from Watson, who improved to 8-3 on the year and pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five batters. Watson also allowed just two base runners in his seven innings of work.

Junior Zack Weiss (eighth inning) and sophomore David Berg pitched the final two innings of hitless relief to combine with Watson for a one-hitter. Max Homick, who closed San Diego's 8-5 win over Cal Poly earlier in the day, got the start for USD and was credited with the loss, dropping to 5-2 on the year. He recorded only one out while giving up four earned runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. Michael Wagner came on in relief of Homick and pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

The Bruins pounced on San Diego (37-25) early in the bottom of the first, when junior Brian Carroll got a lead-off bunt single to the pitcher. After sophomore Kevin Kramer struck out swinging, sophomore Eric Filia singled and advanced to second on a throwing error, which allowed Carroll to advance to third. Junior Pat Valaika then drove in Carroll and Filia with a single to left to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Junior Kevin Williams then singled to center field in the next at-bat, advancing Valaika to third, before junior Pat Gallagher made it four straight singles (to first base), advancing Williams to second and scoring Valaika for a 3-0 advantage.

After sophomore Shane Zeile drew a walk to load the bases, the Toreros pulled starting pitcher Max Homick and inserted Michael Wagner. Senior Cody Regis then gave the Bruins a 4-0 lead with a single through the right side, scoring Williams.

UCLA pushed its lead to 5-0 with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Bruins showed patience at the plate, drawing three straight walks by Filia, Valaika and Williams. Gallagher recorded his second RBI of the game with a sac fly to center field, scoring Filia.

The Bruins extended the lead to 6-0 by punching one across the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Kramer started the inning with a single up the middle, but was thrown out at second, trying to stretch it into a double. Filia then doubled to right field and later advanced to third when Valaika flied out to center field. Williams picked up his second hit and first RBI of the game with a two-out double to right field, scoring Filia, who crossed the plate for the third time in the game (tying a career-high).

Weiss and Berg took over from there and UCLA went on to sweep the NCAA Los Angeles Regional with a 6-0 shutout win over the Toreros.

The Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional was UCLA's Gallagher, a junior first baseman, who went 5-for-9 with two runs and four RBI in the Bruins' three victories. Joining Gallagher on the 11-man All-NCAA Los Angeles Regional Team from UCLA was shortstop Valaika, outfielder Filia and pitchers Adam Plutko and Watson. Cal Poly had three players on the All-Regional squad, including third baseman Jimmy Allen, outfielder Jordan Ellis and designated hitter Brian Mundell. Representing San Diego was catcher Austin Green and second baseman Austin Bailey. The lone San Diego State representative was outfielder Greg Allen.

Postseason Notes: This is UCLA's seventh regional title and the fifth since the new format was adopted in 1999...it is also the fourth regional title under head coach John Savage...UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history...the Bruins are also making their fourth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last seven years...UCLA has swept each NCAA Regional in those four years (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013)...UCLA is the only team from California and the Pac-12 Conference to have earned at least three NCAA Division I Super Regional appearances in the last four years...head coach John Savage is now 25-14 in six trips to the postseason as UCLA head coach...Savage's 25 postseason wins are also one shy of UCLA's all-time record (26, Gary Adams)...in six NCAA Regional appearances under Savage, the Bruins are 17-6...UCLA is now 15-3 in postseason games at Jackie Robinson Stadium since 2010.

Game Notes: The Bruins have won 42 or more games in a season for the sixth time in program history and for the third time in the last four years...Cody Regis tied Eric Valent (1996-98) for the most RBI in UCLA postseason history (20)...David Berg made his 10th career postseason appearance, extending the UCLA record for most postseason pitching appearances...this was the third postseason shutout of an opponent in program history (2012 vs. Creighton, 1992 vs. Yale) and the seventh shutout this season...Grant Watson, Zack Weiss and David Berg combined for the first UCLA one-hitter since Trevor Bauer one-hit USC on March 26, 2011...Pat Valaika has now reached base safely in his last 13 games...the Bruins improved to 16-2 when they score in the first inning and 32-1 when they hold their opponent to three runs or fewer. 

Bruins Overcome Four-Run Deficit to Defeat Cal Poly, 6-4
Williams drives in three runs while Vander Tuig earns 11th win of the season.

Los Angeles, Calif. - The top-seeded UCLA Baseball team advanced to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Final with a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over No. 2 seed Cal Poly on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sophomore Eric Filia led the Bruins with two hits and drove in the eventual game-winning RBI in the top of the seventh inning.

UCLA, which improved to 41-17 with the win, trailed 4-0 through four innings. Cal Poly's starting pitcher, sophomore Matt Imhof, held the Bruins without a hit through the first five innings. But the Bruins got to him in the sixth, scoring four runs on three hits to tie the game. Junior Nick Vander Tuig earned the win for UCLA, pitching six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits to improve to 11-4 on the year. Vander Tuig also recorded three strikeouts while surrendering three walks. Mustang closer Reed Reilly was charged with the loss (2-4), giving up two runs on three hits in the seventh. He finished with two innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out two and walking two. Imhof finished with 5.1 innings of work and struck out five with one walk, allowing four runs on three hits.

Freshman James Kaprielian struck out four in two hitless innings of work for UCLA. Sophomore David Berg closed the door in the ninth to earn his 20th save of the season, extending his single-season school record.

Cal Poly (40-18) struck early in the bottom of the first, starting when senior Denver Chavez got a lead-off single up the middle. Sophomore Jordan Ellis followed with a single through the left side to move Chavez to third. Ellis would later advance to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Nick Torres then scored Chavez on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0, and then with two down, junior Jimmy Allen doubled down the left field line to score Ellis and make it 2-0. Junior David Armendariz grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Mustangs would extend their lead to 3-0, tacking on another run in the bottom of the third inning. Mundell would start things off with a single up the middle. Torres would then draw a walk, advancing Mundell to second. After Allen's failed bunt attempt popped up to the catcher, Armendariz would single to left field, scoring Mundell, and advancing Torres to second. Torres would later advance to third after senior Elliot Stewart flied out to center. Freshman John Schuknecht would draw a two-out walk to load the bases, but Cal Poly would strand three runners as Vander Tuig got Peter Van Gansen to fly out to right field.

Chavez would open the bottom half of the fourth inning with a walk, and advanced to second on a wild pitch that struck out Ellis. Mundell would then ground out to the pitcher, but Torres would get his second RBI of the game with a two-out single to left field, scoring Chavez to put Cal Poly up 4-0.

The Bruins would battle back in the top of the sixth inning though with four runs to tie it at 4-4. Junior Pat Gallagher started things off with a double to left field before junior Brenton Allen singled through the left side, advancing Gallagher to third. Junior Brian Carroll was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Sophomore Kevin Kramer drove in UCLA's first run on a sac fly to left, scoring Gallagher. Then Filia singled to second base to load the bases again with one out. Cal Poly then turned to its closer in Reilly. He immediately looked to calm things down, striking out junior Pat Valaika, for the second out of the inning. But designated hitter, junior Kevin Williams, tied it at 4-4 with a two-out triple, scoring Filia, Carroll and Allen.

UCLA would take a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh. Senior Cody Regis led things off with a single through the right side before Gallagher dropped a nice bunt to move Regis over to second. After Allen drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, Carroll loaded the bases with a bunt for a single. Reilly looked like he was going to get out of the inning after striking out Kramer for the second out of the frame, but Filia singled to short, scoring Regis to make it 5-4 Bruins. Still with the bases loaded and two outs, Valaika walked on five pitches to record his first RBI of the game, scoring Allen.

Kaprielian set down all six of the batters he face in the seventh and eighth inning before Berg closed the door in the ninth to seal the 6-4 win.

The Bruins will await the winner of the 2 p.m. game on Sunday, June 2, which will feature #3 San Diego vs. #2 Cal Poly. The Regional Final game will start at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Game Notes: Tonight's four-run deficit is the largest the Bruins' have overcome to win a game this season (the previous high was three, accomplished in a 6-4 win at another Big West foe, UC Irvine on April 16; and again in a 7-6 win at USC on May 18)...John Savage improved to 24-14 in the postseason as UCLA's head coach...Nick Vander Tuig moved into a tie for fifth with Dave Schmidt (1977-79) on UCLA's all-time career wins list, winning career game number 24 tonight...this was also the 14th time in 16 starts this year that Vander Tuig has pitched at least six innings...David Berg has tied Gabe Sollecito (1992-93) for the most career saves in UCLA history, notching his 21st career save tonight...Berg has also passed Sollecito for the most saves in UCLA postseason history (3)...since 2010, UCLA is 14-3 in postseason games at Jackie Robinson Stadium...the Bruins are now 35-5 when scoring three or more runs in a ballgame this year.

Don't fret if you missed today's BruinBru Radio Show with incoming freshmen, linebacker Cameron Judge and defensive back Tyler Foreman. Just like all the previous incoming freshmen guests, Judge and Foreman were outstanding representatives of what the future will be like at UCLA. Enjoy!

Saturday, 01 June 2013 13:49

UCLA Opens Postseason Play with 5-3 Win

UCLA Opens Postseason Play with 5-3 Win Over San Diego State 
Plutko becomes winningest postseason pitcher in UCLA history.

Los Angeles, Calif. - The UCLA baseball team opened play in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional with a 5-3 win over San Diego State on Friday night in front of 1,690 fans at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Junior Adam Plutko allowed just one run in seven innings to earn the win, making him the winningest pitcher in UCLA postseason history.

Plutko improved to 8-3 with the win while San Diego State's Ryan Doran dropped to 8-4 with the loss. Plutko surrendered just six hits in seven innings of work while striking out four. Doran gave up four runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings pitched.

The Aztecs opened the scoring in the top of the second inning when third baseman Tyler France earned a lead-off walk, moved to second base on Matt Nunoz's sacrifice bunt, and later to third on Plutko's throwing error (on the play at first). He came around to score when Jake Romanski grounded into a fielder's choice, which forced Munoz at third. The inning ended when Plutko picked Romanski off first with Evan Potter at the plate.

The Bruins equalized in the bottom half of the third. Junior Pat Gallagher opened the inning with a double before moving over to third on junior Brenton Allen's single. The next batter was sophomore Kevin Kramer, who hit a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Gallagher and tie things at 1-1.

UCLA took the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth when Gallagher's single to right plated both junior Pat Valaika from third and sophomore Shane Zeile from second to make it 3-1. Allen followed with a single to score senior Cody Regis later in the inning to give UCLA a 4-1 advantage.

Romanski got San Diego State back on the board in the top of the fifth, hitting a solo homer over the left field fence to trim the UCLA lead to 4-2. Plutko avoided further trouble though escaping the inning without allowing any more runs.

In the top of the seventh, San Diego State got Potter to second base, but he was stranded there by Plutko. UCLA then tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning when pinch-hitter Brett Urabe drew a lead-off walk, moved to on a sacrifice and then scored on sophomore Eric Filia's single to right.

Junior Zack Weiss relieved Plutko for the Bruins to start the eighth, and retired the side with ease, allowing only a one-out hit by France. Sophomore David Berg entered the game in the ninth for UCLA, and gave up a run on doubles by Romanski and Allen before settling down and striking out Sheehan to end the game.

Overall, Gallagher led the Bruins at the plate by going 3-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Kramer added a hit and a RBI while Zeile went 2-4 with a run.

The Bruins improved to 40-17 on the season, and will face Cal Poly (40-17) on Saturday at 6 p.m. San Diego State will play San Diego (35-24) at 2 p.m. in an elimination game. UCLA will act as the visiting team in its game against Cal Poly tomorrow.

Game Notes: UCLA has reached the 40-win plateau for the third time in the last four years and for the ninth time in program history...Adam Plutko is now 5-0 in five all-time postseason appearances, logging a 0.97 ERA...Plutko also moved into sole possession of first place on UCLA's all-time career postseason wins list, breaking the tie with Trevor Bauer who previously had four postseason wins...Plutko is now tied with Gerrit Cole, Bauer and Rob Rasmussen for most postseason games started in UCLA history...finally, Plutko moved into sole possession of seventh place on UCLA's all-time career strikeouts list, striking out 266 batters in his three-year career...Cody Regis became UCLA's all-time leader in career postseason games played, now playing in 25 all-time postseason games...Regis also tied Troy Glaus for eighth place on UCLA's all-time career walks list, drawing his 123rd career walk tonight...in his last two games, Pat Gallagher is 7-9 with three RBI and two runs scored...David Berg extended his single-season UCLA saves record to 19 with his save tonight. 

Valorie Kondos Field to Speak at UCLA History Commencement

UCLA '87 grad to address fellow history graduates.

 

UCLA Gymnastics Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field has been chosen as the 2013 UCLA Department of History Commencement Speaker. The Commencement Celebration will take place on Sunday, June 16 at 9 am on Dickson Plaza.

 

"I am extremely honored to be asked to give the UCLA History Commencement address," Kondos Field said. "I enjoyed and appreciated every moment of my education at UCLA and am still in contact with my favorite history professor, Prof. Chambers. Whenever one of our student-athletes is at a loss for an area of study in which to major, I often offer the suggestion of majoring in History. The areas of study and the practice of writing comprehensive and grammatically correct exams have proven invaluable in my career."

 

A 1987 UCLA graduate in history, Kondos Field has been head coach of the Bruins since 1991 and has led her teams to six NCAA team championships, 16 NCAA Regional titles and 12 conference titles in her 23 years. She has been voted the national and conference coach of the year four times each, and in 2010, she became just the second active coach ever to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.


Kondos Field's coaching philosophy stresses balance and integrity. Her teams are regularly represented on the conference all-academic teams and scholastic all-American squads and contend each year for UCLA’s team GPA award. Her student-athletes have also found individual success, winning 25 NCAA individual titles during her tenure as head coach.

 

A former professional ballet dancer, Kondos Field initially got her start in gymnastics by playing the piano for floor exercise music. She then became a dance coach and learned the fundamentals of the sport. In 1983, she was hired at UCLA to be an assistant coach/choreographer by UCLA coach Jerry Tomlinson. Together they put UCLA Gymnastics on the map with distinctive choreography and flair. As head coach, Kondos Field took the program to the next level, guiding the Bruins to their first NCAA title in 1997.

David Berg Captures First-Team All-America Honors 
Sophomore right-hander leads the country in ERA with a 0.70 mark.

Tucson, Ariz. - Sophomore reliever David Berg picked up more national honors today, earning first-team All-America honors from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball.

Berg, the 2013 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, has posted a record of 6-0 with 18 saves while leading the nation in ERA with a 0.70 mark. Berg's 18 saves are also a new UCLA single-season record and rank third in all of Division I baseball. In addition, he is second in the country in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) with a mark of 0.78 and has allowed the lowest opposing batting average (.190) in the conference.

The Covina, Calif. native has also given up fewest runs (5), walks (7) and hits (43) in the Pac-12, while appearing in the most games in the conference (41). At one point this season, he did not allow a run in 37 consecutive innings, which was the longest consecutive scoreless innings streak in the nation this season. Finally, Berg is also a semifinalist for the NCBWA Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award and earlier this season was selected to the National Pitcher of the Year watch list.

Last season, Berg was named a second-team All-America selection by Perfect Game USA and earned first-team Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America. He also earned second-team Freshman All-America acclaim from the NCBWA and was named to the Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America squad.

UCLA (39-17) will begin postseason play tomorrow evening against San Diego State (31-29) at 6 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.