Things didn't start out great for the Bruins last night, falling behind 2-0 early, but the bats came alive and the Bruins are now riding on a four-game win streak, dropping the Sun Devils last night, 7-3. In other action, the Ducks fell to Stanford, while the Huskies picked up a road win against Southern Cal, which leaves the Bruins and Huskies both at 6-1 in conference play and tied at the top of the conference. A win this afternoon will not only keep the Bruins in first, but it will lock up a series win against Arizona State and extend the winning streak to five.
Last night, James Kaprielian (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 12 K, 2 BB) got into some trouble early, falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, in large part due to some poor fielding, but was able to pick himself up and hold Arizona State to just one more run, to give the Bruins' offense a chance to get him his fourth win. Fortunately, Arizona State's former Sunday starter Brett Lilek (3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 3 BB) didn't look up to the task on Friday night, lasting just three innings, and getting the hook once the Bruins took a 4-3 lead. With the lead in hand, Kaprielian and the Bruin bullpen never led Arizona State back in it, with Max Schuh (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 K), Nick Kern (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 K), and David Berg (1.0 IP, 0 ER) combining to put together a shut-down three-inning relief effort to give Kaprielian his fourth win of the year.
This afternoon, we'll see junior southpaw Grant Watson (4-1, 1.76 ERA) take the hill for UCLA, while Arizona State will answer with their own lefty, freshman Ryan Kellogg (2-2, 3.65 ERA). Kellogg has proven to be easier to hit than Lilek, so UCLA's bats should be able to help Watson get his fifth win of the year today at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
If you missed it, islandbruin2 has a pretty good series preview, so check that out for more background on the starting pitchers and the matchup. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. PST at Jackie Robinson Stadium, but if you can't make it, you can listen in live through the digital radio (called by John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm), or you can track it through the official website's Gametracker (assuming it doesn't lock up and die in the fourth inning like last night).
This is your Saturday afternoon baseball thread, so fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, takes on the game, and comments as our Bruins look to pick up another win over the Arizona State Sun Devils.