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UCLA Baseball: Bruins Home for Three vs. Stanford, Series Preview

UCLA Baseball plays host to Stanford for a three game series, in the next to last home conference weekend. Both teams have underperformed compared to expectations. This is a chance for the Bruins to turn things around before they take on the conference leaders.

David Berg returns to give much needed relief to the UCLA pen
David Berg returns to give much needed relief to the UCLA pen
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

UCLA Baseball (22-19-1, 9-9) takes on Stanford (19-19, 7-11) at Jackie Robinson Stadium in the next to last home conference series. This is a matchup between two teams who were expected to be in much better position in the conference at this point than their current standing (UCLA 6th, Stanford tied for 8th).

Here are the projected match-ups, based on recent games. For UCLA, it is easy to project the starting pitchers. For Stanford, we have to make some assumptions, as Morgan Center and their Stanford brethren are slow out of the gate with information.

On Friday night, James Kaprielian (5-4, 2.53) takes the mound against Cal Quantrill (3-4, 3.11). UCLA is 7-4 in Friday games. The average score in these games is 3-3, evidence of Kaprielian’s usual steady outings and the inability of the offense to provide a lot of support against the opposing team’s ace. Stanford is 2-8 in Friday games. The average score in these games is 3-5, the reflection of some big numbers put up by Rice, Texas, Washington and Cal. The Bruins had won four straight Friday games before getting drilled by $C last weekend. Stanford lost their 1st five Friday games, but have played better lately. This is a game that UCLA should and must win.

On Saturday night, Grant Watson (4-6, 3.69) will face John Hochstatter (6-1, 1.93). UCLA is 4-7 in Saturday games. The average score in these games is 4-4. UCLA’s inability to win the close ones is in evidence on Saturdays, as the Bruins are 0-3 in one run Saturday games. Watson has been able to go deep on a fairly regular basis, but he has been victimized by big run innings. Stanford is 4-6 in Saturday games. The average score in these games is 3-3, as the Cardinal have had better pitching results on Saturday than on Friday. Hochstatter has become a recent addition to the starting rotation, and has won all three of his starts (versus Washington, ASU and Cal)This looks like a tougher matchup for the Bruins, and Watson will need to avoid the big inning. The Saturday night game will be televised on ESPNU.

On Sunday afternoon, Cody Poteet (3-2, 3.83) will face TBA, who has not pitched this year :). UCLA is 6-5 in Sunday games. The average score in these games is 5-5. UCLA’s inability to win despite scoring runs is in evidence on Sundays, as the Bruins have won only one of their last five Sunday games, despite scoring at least four runs in every one of those games. Poteet had an extremely tough no-decision in his last outing, as he shut down $C, only to see his expected win evaporate with the epic 9th inning meltdown by the bullpen. Stanford is 5-5 in Sunday games. The average score in these games is 4-4. The Bruins will have their work cut out for them, regardless of who starts for Stanford, and will need to get another strong performance from Poteet.

UCLA is as close to full strength as they have been for a while, as Brian Carroll returned to the lineup for the 2nd game of the $C series, and David Berg made his welcome return to the bullpen in Tuesday’s tie game at UCSB.

This will be UCLA’s last conference series against a lower-tier opponent, as the Bruins finish at Oregon State, home to Oregon, and at Washington. Let’s see if we can get the pitching and the bats to click at the same time. No time like the present. Go Bruins !!