The postseason is finally here. UCLA's up and down season has finished on the up with a Pac-10 title and Regional host spot. That leaves them sitting pretty as the number one seed heading into tonight's game (6 pm PDT) against San Francisco. The Bruins swept the Dons in the first weekend of the season thanks to dominant pitching that allowed just one run all weekend, but all three games were close and San Francisco also finished the season strong. While the Bruins should beat the Dons, they definitely need to come out and play well because if any team fits the scrappy, good bullpen, good defense blueprint for a team to pull an upset, it's San Francisco.
As has been the case all season, Gerrit Cole will start for the Bruins on Friday. Some number one seeds like to hold their top pitchers back and have them against the theoretically better two or three seeds in the next couple days, but Cole got the start last season on Friday in the Regional and will again this season. The junior had issues for a month in the middle of the Pac-10 campaign, but bounced back with two strong starts to finish the year and is 6-7 with a 3.28 ERA on the year.
He'll be faced by Kyle Zimmer, who is forced to start because the Dons' ace, Matt Lujan, injured his elbow and will miss the postseason. Zimmer is 5-3 with a 4.08 ERA this year and surrendered two runs in 4.2 innings against the Bruins earlier this year while Cole threw a complete game shutout against the Dons.
Before the Bruins and Dons play at 6 pm PDT, the Los Angeles Regional will get underway with UC Irvine and Fresno St. at 2 pm PDT. All of the games this weekend can be seen live online and GameTracker also has it. My UCLA baseball twitter has updates, observations and notes as well so check in there, watch the games and chime in here. This is your LA Regional open thread so have at it. It's time for postseason baseball!