UCLA Baseball needs to win five of the remaining six games on the schedule to avoid the first losing season since 2009, and the first losing season in conference play since Coach Savage's initial year at UCLA (2005). The postseason is clearly out of reach, so these games are a chance to set the stage for a brighter 2015.
Oregon, meanwhile, has had a rough season injury-wise, particularly at the front end of their pitching rotation, but they are currently tied for 3rd in the conference, and look bound for the 64 team tournament.
Tonight's game features the two aces, as is usual for Friday night. UCLA sends James Kaprielian to the mound. The sophomore is 6-5, with a 2.63 ERA, which is 6th best in the conference for pitchers starting at least 10 games. Kaprielian is also tied for the conference lead in strikeouts with 86 (in 89 innings).
Oregon counters with Timmy Thorpe, who has stepped in as the Friday starter. Thorpe is 8-4, with a 2.40 ERA, which is 5th best in the conference.
The game starts at 7pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium. If you can't make it out to the game, it will be televised on Pac-12 networks. Brian Webber and Geoff Blum will have all the action. You can also listen here to the live audio feed, with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm on the call. The official site also has a live stat tracker here.
This will be the final home series for four Bruin seniors- DH Kevin Williams, 3B Aaron Weimer, 1B Pat Gallagher and CF Brian Carroll. These four had a remarkable run at UCLA, including two trips to Omaha and a national title. There are also some juniors who will probably be playing their last home series at UCLA. On the offensive side, the list is headed by Shane Zeile, who this week was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. This goes to the top collegiate catcher in the country, and Shane Zeile, with his team-leading .332 average is richly deserving of this recognition.
Let's end this season on a high note. This is your Friday night game thread. Fire away with your thoughts and updates.
Go Bruins !!