For the first weekend in quite some time, the Bruins will be hosting a weekend series, with our cross-town foes, the Southern Cal Trojans making the short drive from their less-than-savory part of Los Angeles to square off against our Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Like our Bruins, who stand at 21-16 overall and 9-6 in conference place (currently good for fourth place), the Trojans have struggled for consistency, coming in to the weekend at 20-17 overall and 9-9 in conference play (currently good for sixth place). Fortunately, history is on the side of the Bruins, as Coach Savage has gone 24-9 against Southern Cal since arriving in Westwood, with UCLA not dropping a series to the Trojans since 2005. So, we'll be expecting UCLA to come away with the series win, if not an outright sweep.
Once again, it's a Thursday through Saturday series, which means our Bruins will send out regular Friday night starter James Kaprielian (5-3, 2.12 ERA) to open the series. Our sophomore right-hander will square off against the junior right-hander from Southern Cal, Wyatt Strahan (3-3, 3.83 ERA). The Trojans have only gone 5-5 in opening series games, but Strahan has been hot of late, throwing a complete-game shutout over the Arizona Mildcats last weekend. Fortunately for UCLA, Kaprielian has been no slouch, throwing strong games all season long, even when his offense hasn't been able to get enough offense to earn him the win.
In case you missed it, islandbruin2 put together his usual excellent series preview, which you can check out for some more background information on the series against the hated Trojans. If that's not enough to satisfy your appetite, you can also check out the official website's series preview here (which like most things under the Chianti Dan regime, came well after islandbruin2 beat Morgan Center to the punch). First pitch tonight is set for 6 p.m. PST at Jackie Robinson Stadium. If you can't make it out to JRS for the game, you can catch the game live on the Pac-12 Network, with Roxy Bernstein and J.T. Snow making the call. And if you're one of those unfortunate souls who doesn't get Pac-12 Network, then 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 Thursday night BEAT '$C game thread, so fire away in the comment thread with your comments, takes, or what you see/hear as you're watching, tracking, or listening in to the game.