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UCLA takes on UC Irvine in a Battle of Conference Leaders

The PAC 12 leader hosts the Big West leader at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCLA Head Coach, John Savage
UCLA Head Coach, John Savage

Tonight, the UCLA Bruins baseball team will take on the UC Irvine Anteaters at Jackie Robinson Stadium, in a battle of conference leaders. UCLA (28-8, 14-4 PAC 12) sits in first place in the PAC 12 Conference, one game ahead of the Arizona State Sun Devils. UC Irvine (23-13, 10-2 Big West) is in first place in the Big West Conference, two and one half games ahead of UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton. UCLA is ranked either number two or number three nationally, depending on the college baseball ranking service. The Anteaters are ranked in some polls and unranked in others.

UCLA is coming off a series win against UC Berkeley, and Irvine is coming off a series win against UC Davis. The Bruins are undefeated, 6-0, in midweek games this season. Irvine is 17-3 in their last 20 games. This is the last game of a five-game homestand for the Bruins, as they head north to play a three-game set against Stanford this weekend.

The Bruins will start right-handed junior, Cody Poteet (3-1, 2.31 ERA), while Irvine will counter with right-handed freshman, Shaun Vetrovec (1-1, 5.52 ERA). As a team, the Anteaters are hitting .283, with shortstop and lead-off hitter, Mikey Duarte (.347, 0 HR, 11 RBI), and left-fielder, Keston Hiura (.345, 6 HR, 30 RBI), leading the way. UCLA is hitting .287 overall, highlighted by left-fielder, Ty Moore (.370, 3 HR, 36 RBI), shortstop, Kevin Kramer (.347, 4 HR, 20 RBI), and third baseman, Chris Keck (.323, 6 HR, 32 RBI).

This is the first of two meetings between UCLA and UC Irvine, with the second to take place in Orange County on May 19th. It is not unreasonable to conclude that these two teams may also face one another in the postseason, whether in a regional or super regional.

First pitch is at 6:00 p.m. PT. Come on out to JRS and support the Bruins! The game is also televised on the PAC 12 Network. Listen to the call via internet streaming audio (John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call) or follow along with live stats.

This is your UCLA v. UC Irvine game thread. Go Bruins!