The (evil) Empire Strikes Back. The Southern Cal Trogans beat up on the UCLA Bruins last night, in a game that was the complete opposite from Friday afternoon's UCLA victory. The two rivals will duel for the series win today at 2 p.m. PT.
Last night, it was the Trogans that got out to an early first inning lead (2-0), built upon that lead with a subsequent home run, and cruised to a 5-0 win behind a strong effort from starting pitcher, Kyle Twomey, who scattered 7 hits over 7 innings, without surrendering a run. U$c* was led offensively by all-everything lead-off hitter, Bobby Stahel, who was 2-3, with the 2 run home run, 3 RBI, and a run scored.
Like just$C* on Friday, the Bruins on Saturday got plenty of hits (9), but did not get much to show for them. In fact, UCLA and Southern Cal both had 9 hits. The Bruins failed to get the timely hits. For example, Luke Persico went 2 for 5, but struck out looking with the bases loaded in the 7th inning. The Trogans' effort was helped by two double plays.
Grant Watson had a rocky outing, going 5 and 1/3 innings, surrendering 5 runs (all earned) on 7 hits and 4 walks. Cody Poteet and Hunter Virant pitched well in scoreless relief, with Virant perhaps giving his strongest effort of the season, facing 3 batters in the eighth, retiring all 3, 2 of which were strikeouts.
UCLA (24-7; 11-3 PAC 12) remains in first place in the PAC 12, 1/2 game ahead of Arizona State (22-9, 10-3 PAC 12), and 1 and 1/2 games ahead of just$c* (24-8, 8-3 PAC 12). Today's game is critical for SoCal bragging rights, the PAC 12 standings, and postseason possibilities.
Two freshmen will face off today. UCLA's Griffin Canning (5-1, 2.84 ERA) will go for the Bruins. The Trogans will start Mitch Hart (5-0, 2.93 ERA). It is not often that you will see two freshman pitchers with a combined record of 10-1 facing off, so it should be a treat to watch.
First pitch is at 2 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on the PAC 12 Network. You can follow James Ramey and Tim Wilhelm via online audio stream.
This is your Bruins vs. Trogans rubber game open thread.