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UCLA Baseball Heads to Oregon with Postseason on the Line

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How many games must UCLA win in Eugene in its final regular season series in order to make the postseason?

UCLA's Sean Bouchard
UCLA's Sean Bouchard
@UCLABaseball

The UCLA Bruin Baseball team (28-24; 17-10 PAC 12) travels north to Eugene for the final regular season series of the season against the Oregon Ducks (29-23, 11-16 PAC 12). Last year, UCLA’s slim playoff hopes died in Corvallis with a series sweep at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers.

Same state this year, Different team. This season, the Bruins fate rests in Eugene. UCLA will look to avoid a repeat of last year. First pitch tonight starts it all off at 6 p.m PT.

But this is a completely different UCLA team, replete with freshman that are, overall, probably more talented than last years squad.. And, unlike last year, UCLA has a good chance to make the postseason with less than a sweep of Oregon.

UCLA’s Postseason Chances

Baseball America and D1Baseball.com still project UCLA in the postseason after its home sweep of Utah. But that was before the 12-4 thrashing in Irvine against the middling Anteaters.

Here are the following scenarios and how I see things playing out in each instance:

(1) UCLA sweeps Oregon. This would put UCLA at 31 wins, 3rd in the PAC 12 at 20-10. Although I do not foresee this, such a result would mean that UCLA is in the postseason. No argument.

(2) UCLA takes two of three on the road. I have said all along that 30 wins gets UCLA a berth. Not changing my mind here.

(3) Oregon take two of three. This would put UCLA at 29-26, 18-12 in the PAC 12 and at worst tied for third in the conference with Arizona. Some fans might he holding their breath, but I still think UCLA gets in on conference record. It might be a 50/50 proposition.

(4) Oregon sweeps UCLA. It would be impossible for the committee to add a 28-27 team that lost its last four games. I think that UCLA would be excluded with this result.

How the Team Stack Up

Statistically, the teams are very similar, both from a pitching and a hitting perspective. UCLA hits .258 as a team. Oregon is at .261. UCLA’s team ERA is a very solid 3.62. Oregon’s is slightly higher at 3.77. And we have had about as big of a sample size as is possible when looking at the stats. These are razor thin margins.

One aspect where the Bruins have an advantage is in the power department. UCLA has hit 43 home runs as a team this season. The Ducks have only hit 19.

It should be a very tight series. A good start by Griffin Canning tonight would certainly start the series off right for the UCLA Bruins. Of course, Oregon will start its "ace" as well, the lefty, David Peterson (11-3, 2.31 ERA).

The Match-Up

The following are the anticipated pitching match-ups for the series:

Thursday, May 25 - 6:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Griffin Canning, RHP, Jr. (6-3, 2.55 ERA)

ORE – David Peterson, LHP, Jr. (11-3, 2.31 ERA)

Friday, May 26 - 6:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Jake Bird, RHP, Jr. (5-3, 3.02 ERA)

ORE – Matt Mercer, RHP, So. (5-7, 3.44 ERA)

Saturday, May 27 - 2:00 p.m. PT

UCLA – Jon Olsen, RHP, So. (6-1, 3.12 ERA)

ORE – Cole Stringer, LHP, So. (4-2, 3.36 ERA)

Media

The game is not televised. But there are two streams of the game and the series: a PAC 12 stream and a Twitter stream.

Fans can also follow along with live stats and/or listen to Griffin Canning’s last game as a Bruin the old-fashioned way, with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm on the radio . . . er, . . . online streaming line audio

Final Thoughts

This series is one of the most important series for Head Coach John Savage in a long, long time. His success getting to and, in one instance, winning the CWS has bought him a lot of goodwill with the UCLA fans. He is a great gentleman and a scholar of the game. But missing the postseason a second time in a row would be a chink in Savage’s armor.

I see UCLA getting it done this weekend. I think that UCLA will be up to the task of taking each game and pitch at a time, winning that pitch (a Savage mantra), and ultimately getting a positive result coming out of Eugene.

This is your UCLA Bruin Baseball versus Oregon Ducks Game One thread.

Go Bruins!