The Bruins are on the road again, this time heading down to the desert to take on the Arizona
Wildcats Mildcats in Tucson, in a game that the official Morgan Center preview is billing as a "battle between the last two NCAA champions." Yes, that's technically correct, but with both squads outside of the Top 25 (Baseball America dropped the Bruins out from #21 after dropping last weekend's series to Long Beach State), this is more like a game of has-beens, rather than a heavyweight bout for the belt. With UCLA now in a tie for third-place with Washington State (6-3 in Pac-12 play), the Bruins have to come up with a series win over Arizona (4-8 in Pac-12 play, 15-19 overall), a struggling sub-.500 team if they want to have any chance of catching second place Oregon State (9-3 in Pac-12 play) or first-place Washington (10-2 in Pac-12 play).
To try to get the series off on the right foot, Coach John Savage will send out his usual Friday night starter, ace sophomore right-hander James Kaprielian (4-3, 2.48 ERA), who will square off against the Mildcats' James Farris (4-3, 4.31 ERA), a senior right-hander, who has been involved in some high-scoring affairs. In short, it's the perfect opportunity for UCLA's offense to wake up and give Kaprielian some much-needed offensive support and help him to his fifth win of the year. The Bruins are familiar with Farris, having run him off the mound in 4 innings after he surrendered 4 runs last season at Jackie Robinson Stadium, so there shouldn't be any offensive excuses.
In case you missed it, islandbruin2 (as usual) has posted an outstanding series preview, which you can check out for some more in-depth information on the series between the two teams. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST and unlike most of our recent games, you'll be able to catch this one live on television, with the game being aired on the Pac-12 Network. Our very own hard-charging Eric Byrnes will have the call with Roxy Bernstein. If you can't watch, you can also listen in live , you can listen in live to the audio broadcast, being called by John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm. Or if video and audio are just not your thing, you can track the game live on the official website's Gametracker.
This is your series opener Friday night must-win game thread, so fire away in the comment thread with your comments, takes, or what you see as you're watching, tracking, or listening in to the game.