After an eleven-inning pitchers’ dual with Long Beach State on Tuesday, UCLA welcomes the #1 team in the country to Jackie Robinson Stadium for a three-game series this weekend.
The Beavers are 30-1 overall and 14-1 in the Pac-12 so far this season. While UCLA currently sits in 2nd place in the conference, they are a full five games behind Oregon State. A sweep would go along way towards getting the Bruins back in the race for the conference title.
But, that said, it’s hard for me to see a sweep as even being possible this weekend. That’s because UCLA has been up and down all season long. Just when you think the Bruins are going to breakthrough, they fall back again.
They followed up a six-game winning streak with four losses in their next five games.
Meanwhile, the Beavers have the best team ERA in the entire conference at 1.74. UCLA’s team ERA is two full runs more at 3.76. It’s hard to win games when your offense can’t score and the Oregon State pitching staff has kept opponents from scoring runs so far this season.
At the same time, the Beaver hitters have the 2nd best batting average in the conference at .294, trailing only Arizona. UCLA, on the other hand, is dead last in the conference with a .260 team batting average.
Considering Team ERA and Team Batting Average, it looks like the Bruins will be overmatched this weekend and they may very well be. But there’s a reason they play the games. The teams are almost identical in their runs scored. The Beavers have scored 179 while the Bruins have scored 180.
So, the trick here is simple. UCLA needs to find a way to score more than the Bruin pitchers give up to Oregon State.
These are the expected pitching match-ups for the series:
Friday, April 21st - 6:00 p.m. PT
UCLA – Griffin Canning, RHP, Jr. (3-2, 2.77 ERA)
OSU – Luke Heimlich, LHP, Jr. (5-1, 0.83 ERA)
Saturday, April 22nd - 6:00 p.m. PT
UCLA – Moises Ceja, RHP, Sr. (1-3, 2.79 ERA)
OSU – Bryce Fehmel, RHP, So. (4-1, 3.00 ERA)
Sunday, April 23rd - 1:00 p.m. PT
UCLA – Jon Olsen, RHP, So. (2-1, 4.02 ERA)
OSU – Jake Thompson, RHP, Jr. (8-0, 1.03 ERA)
How to Watch, Listen and Follow:
Only Saturday’s game will be televised. That contest will air on ESPNU with Roxy Bernstein and Wes Clements. As always, all three games will be available to listen to online where UCLA stalwarts Jon Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call. Finally, you can follow the games, including tonight’s game’s live stats.