From the diaries. If you live in Southern California, come out to Jackie Robinson Stadium to cheer on our Bruins. And if you are going and taking pictures share them with us via email, facebook, or post them here. GO BRUINS. -N
After a sweep of Stanford last weekend to open Pac 10 play, the UCLA Bruins(3-0, 13-14) hosts the Washington Huskies(4-2, 15-11) this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This unusual weekend series will allow the teams to spend Easter Sunday at home. Thursday and Friday's games will take place at 6 pm and Saturday's first pitch is set for 1 pm. All three games will be at Jackie Robinson Stadium on the grounds of the VA.
The Bruins are coming off a sweep at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto last weekend, becoming the first team to sweep Stanford at Sunken Diamond in the past 71 series. Before that, the Bruins took the final 2 games of the series from Pacific. The Bruins current 5 game winning streak comes off the heels of a rough stretch for the Bruins when they lost 9 of 11. The Bruins did recieve a shot in the arm in Palo Alto however as So. 3B Jermaine Curtis returned from academic inelibility after being cleared by the NCAA. In his first game back, Curtis registered 4 RBI, showing the bat that led the Bruins in batting average last season. With Curtis back, he joins So. SS Brandon Crawford and Jr. 2B Alden Carrithers to make one of the best infields and top of the order in the conference.
This weekend's series is key for the Bruins as they currently sit atop the Pac 10 and need a series win to keep that spot before a difficult series next weekend at USC. Getting the Thursday start for the Bruins will be Sr. RHP Tyson Brummett. The ace was superb early in the season, only to have back to back rough starts, however Brummett got back on track last weekend where he went the full 9 innings en route to being named Pac 10 Pitcher of the Week. Facing Brummett will be So. LHP Nick Haughian, who is not overly dominant, but will be around the plate and force the Bruins to swing the bats. Haughian has a 4.04 ERA, which does not come close to Brummett's 2.82, however the Huskies have good bats and will put pressure on the Bruin defense.
Getting the Friday start for the Bruins will be So. LHP Tim Murphy. Murphy began the season as the starting centerfielder who was a capable arm out of the bullpen, however with UCLA lacking a starter, Murphy stepped in. After a decent first two starts, Murphy showed the arm Head Coach John Savage raved about in the preseason. Murphy went 5 2/3 innings while striking out 7 and giving up no runs. Toeing the rubber for Washington will be So. RHP Jordan Merry who has a 3.25 ERA and has shown great stuff. Considered by most to be the Huskies true ace, the Bruin bats will be under a lot of pressure to score against Merry in Friday.
Fr. LHP Gavin Brooks will start the Saturday finale for the Bruins. Brooks has pitched exceptionally the past 2 starts and is showing the ability to handle division 1 lineups earlier than expected. In his start versus Stanford, Brooks went a career high 8 innings while stirking out 8 and showing command of fastball that had been missing all season. The Huskies have not announced their starter for Saturday and will not until game time.
The Bruins head into the series on a 5 game win streak and have shown the ability most expected from them in the preseason. Currently atop the Pac 10, the Bruins will expect nothing less than a series win versus the Huskies despite Washington having a strong club. The key to the Bruins success will likely be at the plate. With Curtis at 3B, the Bruins have a deep lineup and if he and Carrithers get on base, Crawford, Fr. OF Gabe Cohen and So. Cody Decker will drive them in. Decker will look to keep him hot hitting going as he had 3 HR last weekend versus Stanford and 10 RBI. Cohen was also hot as he finished the series with a .800 slugging percentage.
The games this weekend are Thursday (6 pm), Friday (6 pm) and Saturday (1 pm) at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children and free for Wooden Club members. Let's show up to the stadium and support our Bruins in their march to Omaha. For those of you that cannot make it out, the games can be followed on GameTracker via uclabruins.com.
Pac 10 Standings:
Arizona- 3-0, 25-16
UCLA- 3-0, 13-14
Arizona St.- 4-2, 23-10
Washigton- 4-2, 15-11
California- 2-1, 17-14
USC- 1-2, 18-12
Washington St.- 1-5, 16-12
Oregon St.- 0-3, 23-6
Stanford- 0-3, 13-12