UCLA Baseball (24-25)
Opponent: UC Santa Barbara (32-15-1)
When: 6:00 PM PDT, Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Where: Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Audio: Bruin Audio
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
The UCLA Bruin baseball team plays its final non-conference game of the season tonight, as it hosts the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Jackie Robinson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT.
The Bruins are coming off a tough series loss to Southern Cal, capped by a 9-0 dismantling on Sunday, which likely ended UCLA's chances to make the postseason. Realistically, UCLA (24-25) would need to win out in their last seven games to have a shot. Santa Barbara (32-15-1), on the other hand, is in the hunt to host a regional. The two teams played earlier in the season on March 1st in Santa Barbara, and the Gauchos took it to the Bruins, 11-6.
UCLA will, once again, start Jon Olsen (0-0, 7.71 ERA). Olsen has started the last several UCLA midweek games, but has yet to get farther than the third inning. He has neither recorded a win nor a loss in his four midweek starts. Head Coach John Savage uses multiple pitchers to get through these midweek games. None of the UCLA staff has stepped into the fourth starter role that Cody Poteet and Griffin Canning handled so well last season.
The Bruins will face redshirt junior James Carter, who has thrown only three innings this season, allowing no runs. Carter has started two games this season (last week against CSU Bakersfield and two weeks ago against Pepperdine) and given up no runs. He went one inning in the former game and two innings in the latter. I think that it is safe to say that the Bruins will see a committee approach to pitching from the Gauchos tonight.
Santa Barbara does not have a starter hitting over .300, has a team batting average of .263, and has a team ERA of 4.09. Those numbers do not appear to be the numbers of a 32-15-1 team, one of the best on the west coast. How has UCSB done it? They are an amazing 12-2 in one run games, that's how. They know how to win in the tight ones, which is very similar to past UCLA teams coached by John Savage (just not the 2016 iteration).
Tonight's game is not televised, but you can follow John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm via UCLA's online audio stream. You can also follow live statistics.
Some are reporting that this is a "must win" game for the Bruins. I thought Sunday's game was a "must-win." I do not think that UCLA will make the postseason at this point, barring a 7-0 finish, which I do not see happening. Nevertheless, I will still root for UCLA to win every one of its remaining games and finish the season on a high note, even though it is almost impossible for the Bruins to advance to the NCAA tournament.
This is your UCLA v. UCSB baseball open thread.