The UCLA Bruins baseball team travels to the Palouse this weekend to face the Washington State Cougars in a three game series. This is the first PAC 12 road series for this Bruins this season.
Washington State Cougars
Washington State comes into the series on a five game losing streak and sporting a record of 12-11 (1-5 in PAC 12 play). The Cougars, however, are 7-1 at home. As a team, WSU is hitting .216. They only have two players hitting over .300, sophomore outfielder and designated hitter, Wes Leow (.333 in 33 ABs), and senior first baseman, Ian Sagdal (.304 with 14 RBI). The Cougars’ team ERA is 4.29. Their Saturday starter, Joe Pistorese, has good numbers, with a 3-2 record and a 2.62 ERA. Their closer, Ian Hamilton, has 6 saves in 11 appearances and a 1.23 ERA. The rest of their staff is relatively pedestrian. Aside from chilly temperatures, weather should not be an issue in Pullman, although there is a 30% chance of rain on Saturday.
UCLA comes into the series on a five game winning streak and a record of 18-5 (tied for first place in the PAC 12 with Cal, each carrying a record of 5-1). In those five games, UCLA pitching only gave up a total of ten runs (earned and unearned), which is even more impressive when you consider that two of the games went 13 innings (that is a total of 10 runs in 53 innings). Impressive. The Bruins’ team ERA is a scintillating 2.40.
As a team, UCLA is hitting .288, and getting excellent production out of the top 5 hitters in the lineup. Out of the lead-off spot, Kevin Kramer is hitting .424, with 4 home runs and 28 runs scored. Ty Moore is approaching the .400 mark, hitting .393, with 2 home runs (including the game winning 3 run shot in the 13th inning against SDSU on Tuesday), usually hitting out of the fourth or fifth sport.
Here are the expected matchups and game times for this weekend’s series:
Game 1: Friday, March 27, 6 p.m. PT
UCLA – James Kaprielian, junior right-hander (5-1; 2.13 ERA)
WSU—Sean Hartnett, senior right-hander (3-3; 4.50ERA)
Game 2: Saturday, March 28, 2 p.m. PT
UCLA –Grant Watson, senior left-hander (3-2; 1.80 ERA)
WSU— Joe Pistorese, senior left-hander (3-2; 2.62 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, March 29, Noon PT
UCLA—Griffin Canning, freshman right-hander (4-1; 2.57 ERA)
There is no TV coverage, but you can follow the game via online via streaming video and/or you can listen to John Ramey call the game. Tomorrow, we will recap this game and preview Game 2 of the series.Can the Bruins sweep the Cougars on the road?
UCLA is the superior team, on offense and defense. The Bruins need to keep pace with the top of the conference, including the Cal Golden Bears, who take on UCLA’s last PAC 12 opponent, the Utah Utes, on the road this weekend in Salt Lake City. With important two important series looming in the future for UCLA (next weekend at home against Oregon State and the following weekend in L.A. at just$c*), the Bruins need to bank as many wins as possible this weekend. A road sweep would be outstanding, but even a series win on the road in a tough environment would be acceptable.
This is your UCLA vs. Washington State baseball open thread.