UCLA got some timely hitting Friday night to give James Kaprielian a well-deserved win, 3-0 over Washington, in Seattle. Kaprielian's next action will be for the U.S. national collegiate team this summer.
That is the good news. Now for the bad news, at least in terms of history. This was the 6th time that UCLA has won the opening game in a conference series this season, thanks to Kaprielian. In the previous five, UCLA followed up the Friday win with a Saturday win only once in five tries (1-4). That is how you wind up in 9th place in the conference.
Washington lost the opening game in a conference series for the 4th time this season. In the previous three, Washington won the Saturday game after a Friday loss every single time (3-0). That is how you wind up in 2nd place in the conference.
UCLA sends Grant Watson to the mound for what could be his final appearance as a Bruin. Watson is 4-9, with a 3.90 ERA, in his junior year. In his previous two seasons, he was 18-4 as a starting pitcher. So this year has obviously been a big letdown. The question next month is which Watson will the MLB teams be looking at for the draft.
Watson will face fellow junior Tyler Davis, who will almost assuredly be making his final start for the Huskies, unless he decides he can improve his draft position by coming back for his senior year. That would be a tall order, as Davis is 10-2 with a 1.71 ERA. HIs performance is why Washington has not lost consecutive games in conference on Friday-Saturday this season.
Last night's result clinched the Pac-12 for Oregon State. But Washington is still playing for the right to be a regional host. Watson and the Bruins will need to bring their A-game tonight.
First pitch is 7 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on Pac-12 network, with Paul Sunderland and Eric Byrnes at the mike. You can also follow along with the UCLA audio feed, found here. Washington will also be providing a live stat feed, found here.
Every game starts 0-0. This is your Saturday game thread. Fire away with updates and observations as the season draws ever nearer to a close. Go Bruins !!