Another second series game, another deflating defeat by our baseball team. In what is quickly becoming a recurring theme, UCLA has been able to pick up the series opener in every set the past four weekends behind James Kaprielian (although not always giving him enough offense to give him the victory), followed by a second game loss, and a choke away loss in the Sunday rubber matches. Coach Savage certainly gets a lot of slack, having just won UCLA its only national title in baseball last season, but at this pace, UCLA looks to be playing itself out of having any shot at any post-season action. It's hard to see why this group is deserving of post-season consideration given that they are struggling against a pathetic Utah team (which is now 12-22).
Yesterday afternoon, the Bruins kept their second series game struggles alive, losing to Utah 8-6. The Bruins jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after two innings, behind timely hits by RF Brett Stephens (2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI) and DH Kevin Williams (1-5, 2 RBI). Utah picked a run up in the bottom of the third, before UCLA increased their lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth behind a C Shane Zeile (1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI) triple to drive in two. And then things completely fell off the rails for Grant Watson (4.0 IP, 6 ER, 3 K, 11 H, 0 BB) who got lit up by Utah. Grant Dyer (0.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB) came in to relieve Watson but he fared worse, unable to register an out, before Jake Ehret (3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 3 H) came in to finally to close the seven-run bottom of the fifth. The Bruins were able to take on a consolation run in the top of the ninth to make it a two-run game, but once again UCLA walks away from the second game in a weekend set with a deflating loss, this time to an absolutely pathetic Utah team.
Turning to this morning's game, while it's Saturday, since this is a Thursday-Saturday series, we'll see normal Sunday starter Cody Poteet (2-2, 4.64 ERA), who will square off against senior right-hander Zach Adams (0-1, 2.01 ERA). Poteet, like Watson, has struggled lately, only lasting four innings in both of his prior starts. If UCLA hopes to finally win a weekend road series, Poteet will need to get back on his game, or else it'll be the fourth weekend series loss in a row for UCLA.
In case you missed it, one of our newest members of the BN front-page crew, islandbruin2, has put together his usual excellent series preview, which you can check out for some more background information on the series between UCLA and Utah. It'll be a morning affair with first pitch scheduled in Salt Lake City at 11 a.m. PST and will not be aired on the Pac-12 Network (can't blame them for not wanting to cover the entire series between two teams that look to be not going anywhere this season), so your choices are to either listen in live to the audio broadcast, being called by John Ramey, or you can track the game live on the official website's Gametracker.
This is your Saturday morning rubber match game thread, where our Bruins will need to finally figure out how to pick up a series win on the road if they want to maintain whatever slim hope they have of a serious post-season run. There's no better opposition to do it against than Utah's sorry squad, so there's no excuses for UCLA today. Fire away in the comment thread with your comments, takes, or what you're getting as you're listening or tracking the Bruins in Salt Lake City.