The two most surprising teams in the Pac-12 meet this weekend to wrap up the baseball regular season. Washington was picked to finish 10th out of 11 teams (Colorado apparently cannot distinguish between snowballs and baseballs, so can't be bothered to field a team). And here Washington is on the threshold of being a regional host when the field of 64 is announced.
Here is a link to an article explaining a big reason for Washington's success. As Aaron Fitt at Baseball America points out,
it’s no coincidence that UW has ushered in the Husky Ballpark era by putting together the best season in the program’s long history—just as Indiana did last year when it moved into its new ballpark.
Meanwhile, Doughnut dithers regarding our home field, while sitting on a pile of cash. Unbelievable (or it would be unbelievable if this was any other AD in the country- instead it is business as usual for the resident doofus).
UCLA, meanwhile, was picked to finish 3rd in the conference, behind Oregon State and Oregon. To be fair, the poll (which can be seen here) was taken before the first, and most devastating, wave of injuries decimated the Bruins at the plate and in the field.
The Bruins bring a 10 game losing streak into game 1 of the series, as the wheels have come off. The Huskies had a nine game winning streak before dropping the final two games of their conference leader showdown with Oregon State last weekend.
Friday night, the Bruins send sophomore James Kaprielian (6-6, 2.48) to the mound against junior Jared Fisher (6-3, 4.23). All that you need to know about relative run support is reflected in the fact that Kaprielian has a .500 winning percentage, compared to a .667 winning percentage, despite having an ERA a full 1.75 runs below his opponent. This should be the Bruins' best chance for a win, as UCLA is 5-4 in Friday conference games, compared to Washington's 6-3 record in Friday games. If Kaprielian stays true to form, he will keep the Bruins in this game to the end.
Saturday night, unfortunately, looks unfavorable on paper. Thank goodness every game starts 0-0 in the top of the 1st. You wouldn't know it from the results, however, as UCLA is 2-7 in Saturday conference games, while Washington is 8-1 in Saturday conference games, losing for the first time in conference last Saturday 1-0 to Oregon State. Junior Grant Watson (4-9, 3.90) starts for UCLA, against Washington's junior ace Tyler Davis (10-2, 1.71).
Sunday afternoon's game also looks to favor Washington, although this matchup looks much closer on paper. UCLA will start sophomore Cody Poteet (3-4, 4.00) against junior Jeff Brigham (6-3, 3.20). The Bruins are 3-6 in Sunday conference games, while Washington is 6-3 in Sunday conference games.
The Huskies will be out for blood this weekend, because they are on the bubble to be a regional host. Winning this series would probably seal the deal for postseason home games at the Huskies' brand new baseball stadium ("paging Doughnut- please pick up something other than a donut or a glass of italian red").
Washington is also two games behind Oregon State for the conference lead with three games to play. The Huskies need to sweep to have any hope of winning the division outright, and will need help from a very unlikely source, $C, which hosts Oregon State this weekend. So, again, the Huskies have a lot to play for, while the Bruins just hope to stop the bleeding.
Washington is 2nd in the conference in batting average, and tied for 3rd in runs scored. UCLA is 9th in the conference in batting average, and dead last in runs scored.
Washington is 3rd lowest in the conference in ERA, and 2nd in fewest runs allowed. UCLA has the 4th lowest ERA, and has given up the 4th fewest runs. This will be a matchup of Washington's hitting and pitching, against UCLA's pitching. Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?
Friday's game, the most interesting on paper, will not be televised. Pac-12 networks will have the Saturday and Sunday games, with Paul Sunderland and Eric Byrnes on the call. Start times are 7pm on Friday and Saturday, and 3pm on Sunday.
Let's go Bruins. Even though the season is basically a lost cause, it would be great to see the team end on a high note.
Go Bruins !!