I use the term "offensive parade" advisedly. It could refer to UCLA's production at the plate this season. But it could also refer to Block and Guerrero walking around campus (which would never happen, but still...)
Last night, UCLA beat Michigan State 14-2. The Bruins have played three Friday night games, which normally means that you are going against the other team's ace. It certainly applies to UCLA, which sends James Kaprielian to the mound every Friday. But the fewest runs the Bruins have scored this season on Friday night is 8, and they have scored 14 twice.
What a season so far. In the three Friday games, Kevin Kramer, Luke Persico and Ty Moore each have at least six hits. That is your 1-2-3 hitters in the lineup. Jump early and often. And when Brett Stephens returns post-injury to his DH spot, that will add a fourth bat (in the leadoff spot) averaging at least two hits each Friday (he has five in two games pre-injury).
Meanwhile, Kaprielian keeps dealing. Last night he moved to 3-0 on the season, with 7 innings pitched and only one blemish- a 2 run homer which gave Michigan State a fleeting lead. He struck out 8 and walked none. On the season, he has 20 K's and 2 walks in 15 innings pitched. He is the #1 2015 MLB draft prospect in the Pac 12 for a reason.
With the 14 runs last night, the Bruins hit double digits in runs for the 5th time in nine games. Last year, they hit double digits once in the entire 56 game season. I like this year's version better. For comparison, the 2013 CWS championship team scored 10 or more runs nine times, and did not hit the 10 run mark five times until game 21.
Some of this could be the new ball, although UCLA's pitchers are keeping the opposition down, so it can't be all ball. Some of this could be the level of competition, although UCLA did score 26 runs in three games in Florida against a top-20 opponent. Some of this is simply that this year's Bruin team is GOOD.
Today the teams will play game 2 in the series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. First pitch is NOON (this is a change from the published schedule). Michigan State is winless in Saturday games this season. I hope for their sake that they can break the jinx some time in March. The Bruins are 1-1 in Saturday games. The only UCLA loss this season came with a middle reliever meltdown after Grant Watson left with a lead over North Carolina.
Watson is 1-0, with an ERA of 2.25 and a 0.92 WHIP. Michigan State will start redshirt sophomore Cam Vieaux. He is 0-1, but has pitched much better than the win-loss would imply, with an ERA of 1.64 and a 1.18 WHIP.
With Friday night's Michigan State starter only going 2 innings, their bullpen was stretched pretty far with two more games on tap this weekend. Kaprieilian by contrast went 7 innings, and with the game well in hand, Coach Savage was able to rest his back-end duo of Grant Dyer and David Berg.
There are multiple ways to keep track of today's game. You can be there in person. That is always a great choice. You can follow the UCLA audio feed, with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm on the call (link here). You can follow the live stats, also through the UCLA website (link here). Or you can follow along here, in the open thread (my preferred method when I can't see the team in person).
Go Bruins !!