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UCLA Baseball Travels to San Diego to Take on SDSU

Fresh off their sweep of Utah at home, the 17-5 UCLA Bruins hit the road for one game against the 19-5 San Diego State Aztecs.

Cody Poteet
Cody Poteet
© Steve Jacobs, 2015

The UCLA baseball team travels to San Diego today to take on the San Diego State Aztecs in a non-conference test at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Bruins are ranked in the top ten in all college baseball ranking services, with USA Today ranking UCLA at #6 in the nation. UCLA is 4-0 in mid-week games this season. This is your UCLA v. SDSU baseball preview and open thread.

The Background

UCLA pounded the Utah Utes last weekend on Friday, 14-2, and Sunday, 11-2. Sandwiched in between those games was another UCLA win, 3-0. The Bruins had had 39 hits and 28 runs in the series, while only giving up 4 runs. UCLA pitching was excellent, from the starters to the bullpen. The Bruins are currently tied with California atop the PAC 12 standings, with identical 5-1 conference records.

Under first year Head Coach, Mark Martinez (R.I.P. Tony Gwynn—the best hitter I ever saw), the unranked Aztecs are 19-5 and are coming off a sweep of Air Force (9-13 after the sweep) in San Diego. SDSU outscored Air Force 36 to 5, so both SDSU and UCLA are coming into this game with hot bats. SDSU is fifth in the nation in batting, hitting at a .315 clip as a team.

The Matchup

SDSU is led by four hitters, one of which is hitting over .400 and three of which are flirting with a .400 average. CF and lead-off hitter, Steven Pallares, is hitting .434 with 30 RBI. The usual number 3 hitter, Ty France is hitting .389 with 25 RBI. The usual 7 and 8 hitters, Chase Calabuig and David Hensley, are hitting .397 and .395, respectively. Expect SDSU to try to score early and often.

UCLA is also swinging the lumber well. Lead-off hitter, Kevin Kramer, is hitting .430 with a .529 on-base percentage. The 9 hole hitter, Christoph Bono, had a great series over the past weekend, as "Bones" accounted for 3--count ‘em 3--triples, 1 double, and 7 RBI, hitting .500 for the weekend. Ty Moore also hit .500 over the weekend, raising his season average to .384. Chris Keck leads the Bruins in power numbers, with 6 home runs, 7 doubles, and 26 RBI, to go along with a .342 batting average.

While both teams are hitting well, today’s pitching match-up favors the Bruins. As mentioned in BN’s Sunday baseball article, UCLA Head Coach, John Savage, started his usual mid-week starter, Griffin Canning, on Sunday. Cody Poteet, UCLA’s usual Sunday starter, came on in relief and pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, giving up one hit and striking out two. It appears that this brief relief stint will not affect Coach Savage’s decision to start Poteet (2-1; 3.47 ERA) tonight against SDSU’s sophomore right-hander, Cody Thompson (1-1; 7.36 ERA), in a "battle of the Codys." Thompson has pitched 22 innings and given up 18 runs on the season. Expect the Bruins to try to chase Thompson in the early innings.

Last Thoughts

Based on the pitching match-up, this is a game the Bruins should win. Although both teams have excellent offensive production, UCLA’s offense has come against better competition. Anything can happen in baseball, and SDSU will be pumped to try to get a win against a top-ranked team to bolster their postseason resume.

The first pitch is at 6 p.m. PT. If you are a Bruin in San Diego and have some time this evening, come out to Tony Gwynn Stadium to cheer on the baseball team. The game will not be televised, but you can listen to John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm call the game or follow along with live statistics.

This is your UCLA vs. SDSU baseball open thread.

Go Bruins!!!