-Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
UCLA returns to conference play with a 3 game series in Tucson against Arizona. The Bruins are 6-3 in conference play (tied for 3rd), 18-13 overall. The Mildcats are 4-8 in conference play (tied for 7th), 15-19 overall.
Friday night, James Kaprielian (4-3, 2.48 ERA) faces Arizona's senior righty James Farris (also 4-3, but with a 4.31 ERA). Kaprielian has started every Friday game. UCLA is 5-3 in Friday games. The average score in these games is 3-2, a testament to Kaprielian's skill and also to the lack of run support provided to him. Arizona is 4-4 in Friday games, including losses their last 3 times. Farris has also started every Friday game. The average score in the Arizona Friday games is 7-5, which is a very high total for Friday night games. Farris was the Friday starter last year also, and was the losing pitcher at Jackie Robinson Stadium, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings. A repeat would be most welcome.
Saturday night, Grant Watson (4-3, 2.91 ERA) faces Cody Hamlin (sophomore righty, 4-2, 2.31). Watson has started every Saturday game. The Bruins are 4-4 in Saturday games. The average score in these games is 4-3.5. The Mildcats are also 4-4 in Saturday games. The average score in these games is 8-5. This is another example of more runs scored and more runs allowed than UCLA games on the same day of the week. Hamlin started the season as the Sunday starter, and moved into the Saturday slot in the 4th week of the season. Arizona is 5-3 in games which Hamlin has started.
Sunday afternoon, Cody Poteet (2-2, 4.31 ERA) faces fellow righty sophomore Tyger Talley (1-0, 3.99). Poteet has started every Sunday game. UCLA is 5-3 in Sunday games. The average score in these games is 5-5, which shows UCLA's ability to score against the 3rd member of the opposing starting rotation, but also demonstrates Poteet's struggles of late. In the last 3 Sunday games, the opposition has scored at least 6 runs against UCLA. This would be an excellent streak to end right now. Arizona is 3-5 in Sunday games. The average score in these games is 4-6. Talley is only making his 2nd start in the weekend rotation, winning last Sunday at Utah 5-2. Apparently, losing the prior two Sunday games to Washington and Oregon State by a combined score of 19-0 will cause the coach to consider changes.
As can be surmised from the average scores, Arizona has been stronger on offense, and UCLA has been stronger on defense. This is reflected in the overall stats as well. Arizona is batting .300 as a team, compared to UCLA's .254 batting average. Arizona's opponents are batting .278, while UCLA's opponents are batting .220. Arizona has a staff ERA of 4.99, while UCLA has a staff ERA of 2.80.
UCLA should have a chance to score a decent amount of runs this weekend, but they need to have more stops, particularly on Saturday and Sunday than they have had recently.
Conference leader Washington hosts Stanford, currently tied for 9th place. 2nd place Oregon State is at Washington State, which is seemingly a harder task than the Washington-Stanford matchup, but with Oregon State's pitching, they will be in every series. The Bruins will need to win this series to keep pace.
As a bonus, every game this weekend will be televised. The Friday and Sunday games are on the Pac-12 network. The Saturday game is on ESPNU. What a pleasure to not worry about the typical 5th inning freeze of the Morgan Center stat feed.
The march back to the postseason begins now. Go Bruins !!