The UCLA Bruins baseball team (40-12; 21-6 PAC 12) faces the UC Irvine Anteaters (31-21; 13-8 Big West) this evening in the final non-conference, regular season game of the year for the Bruins. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. PT at Anteater Ballpark in Irvine.
UCLA is hot, coming off a series sweep of the Arizona Wildcats at Jackie Robinson Stadium, in which two notable events occurred. First, in the Friday matchup, James Kaprielian and Dave Berg combined for the first no-hitter in UCLA history. James Kaprielian was named PAC 12 Pitcher of the Week today due to his stellar performance last Friday night. Second, after winning the Sunday matchup with the ‘Cats, UCLA earned at least a share of PAC 12 Championship (mathematically Southern Cal could still tie UCLA if it won its last 5 games). When UC Berkeley beat just$c* a few hours later, the Trogans were eliminated from contention and the Bruins were champs by themselves. UCLA is ranked either second or third in the nation, depending on the ranking service.
UCI is cold, having been swept last weekend at UC Santa Barbara and having lost five of their last seven games. The Anteaters, currently third in the Big West behind Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara, would greatly benefit from a win over the Bruins to bolster their postseason resume. UCI lost to the Bruins in their last match up, 15-8, on April 24th at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Some of you may recall that the Bruins had a 6-0 lead through two innings, only to have the Anteaters put up seven in the top of the third inning, for a 7-6 lead. The Bruins rebounded nicely, however, outscoring UCI 9 to 1 for the remainder of the game.
Cody Poteet (5-1, 2.35 ERA) was the pitcher who gave up seven runs in 2 and 2/3 innings against Irvine on April 24, and Poteet will take the hill for the Bruins tonight. I am confident that Cody will be looking to improve upon the performance from his last outing against the Anteaters.
Freshman right-hander, Alonzo Garcia (3-0, 3.40 ERA), gets the start UC Irvine. Garcia came on in relief against UCLA in their matchup on April 24, surrendering three runs on four hits in three innings.
The game is not televised, but Tim Wilhelm will have the call via online streaming audio. Even though UCLA has already clinched the conference, these last four games are important for the purpose of securing a national seed so I am sure that Head Coach, John Savage, will have the Bruins prepared for tonight’s game as well as this weekend’s series in Eugene.
This is your UCLA v. UCI Open Thread. Go Bruins!!!