The UCLA Bruins baseball team (36-12; 18-6 PAC 12) travels to Orange County this evening to take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans (28-21; 13-5 Big West), in UCLA’s penultimate nonconference game of the regular season. UCLA is ranked in the top four nationally in each of the five collegiate baseball ranking services, and is in first place in the PAC 12 Conference. The Bruins are coming off a crucial series win at ASU. CSUF is ranked in one poll, and received votes in some of the other polls, so they are hovering around the top 30 in the nation. The Titans are tied with UC Irvine for first place in the Big West conference, and are coming off a huge series win against UC Santa Barbara.
This game is important for UCLA to maintain its present position for a national seed, and this game is important for Fullerton to secure a postseason berth, which would be buoyed by a win against the Bruins. This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams, with UCLA taking the prior matchup on April 14, 2015, by a score of 7-2. In that game, UCLA’s starting pitcher, Cody Poteet, threw three scoreless innings to earn the win. Poteet (4-1; 2.21 ERA) will get the start again tonight for the Bruins. The Titans will start Conner Seabold (2-3; 3.99 ERA), who did not get the start nor pitch at all in the April 14 matchup with UCLA.
The Bruins are hitting .289 as a team, while CSUF is hitting only .268. UCLA’s team ERA is second in the nation, at 2.14 ER4, but the Titans just won a series against the team with the third best ERA In the country, UC Santa Barbara. The Titans’ team ERA is pretty good, 3.06 ERA, good for 24th in the nation. As they did in their last matchup, UCLA will try to score early and often, to try to the get the game in the hands of their late inning pitching specialists. This is not Jackie Robinson Stadium though, it is Goodwin Field, where the Bruins have historically had a difficult time. The Titans draw pretty well, so UCLA can expect a hostile crowd this evening.
The first pitch is at 6:00 p.m. PT. John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call via online streaming audio. If you are in Orange County, and would like to see a college baseball game featuring two teams that are headed to the postseason, come out to Goodwin Field and cheer on the Bruins.
This is your UCLA v. Cal State Fullerton Open Thread. Go Bruins!