The #2 UCLA Bruins baseball team (9-2) will face the #18 Michigan Wolverines (8-2) tonight as a part of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic. Tonight’s game is at Jackie Robinson Stadium with the first pitch to be thrown at 6 pm PT.
The Bruins will also face the unranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-4) tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm at JRS and finish the weekend versus unranked Southern Cal (4-7) at Dodger Stadium on Sunday at 3 pm PT.
Last Time Out
The UCLA baseball team’s midweek game this week was postponed due to the weather. So, their last game was a bad game, a Sunday loss to Sacramento State, by the score of 2-1. Although UCLA still won the series, the Sunday loss, in which UCLA’s bats appeared to be dead, prevented the series sweep.
As I mentioned in the comment section during Sunday’s game, UCLA just seemed disinterested against an inferior opponent after a Saturday rain-out resulted in UCLA having to play a long doubleheader on Sunday.
Although UCLA won the first game in convincing fashion, 6-0, on the strength of a four-run seventh inning, the Bruins ran out of gas in the second game, mustering only six hits and committing two errors in the 2-1 loss.
The game moved along knotted 1-1 in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, before Steven Morretto hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. It would be the game winner, as UCLA was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning, with a Jake Pries lead off single wiped out by a game-ending double play off the bat of Ryan Kreidler.
Michigan, after starting the season 8-0, has dropped its last two games, both in Southern California, versus Cal State Northridge, 5-2, and Long Beach State, 8-7. But neither of those games involved Michigan’s ace Friday night starter, Tommy Henry.
UCLA’s Friday starter, Zach Pettway, has three no decisions in three starts, despite a 1.80 ERA. Such is the life of the Friday starter, who is always throwing against the opponent’s best.
Tonight will be no different, as Pettway (0-0, 1.80 ERA) will seek to match arms with Henry (3-0, 0.00 ERA), the Michigan ace lefthander. Henry has thrown 23 innings in his three starts, one of which was a complete game. He has struck out 34 batters and allowed only two walks. That’s a ridiculous 17 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. Henry has scattered ten hits and allowed no runs, earned or unearned. Clearly, UCLA will have its work cut out with Henry.
6’3” freshman, Willie Weiss, has been the closer for Michigan so far this year. He has made four appearance, earning three saves, and allowing just one earned run in 61⁄3 innings, good for a 1.42 ERA.
It would be in the Bruins’ best interest to chase Henry early, which is easier said than done, get into Michigan’s long relief and avoid the possibility of Weiss.
The Wolverines are hitting .257 as a team, with junior outfielder Jordan Brewer leading the team in several offensive categories including batting average (.342), hits (13), and doubles (tied with 5). Although he is only hitting .244, senior Jimmy Kerr is a dangerous bat for Michigan with three home runs and nine RBI, both leading the team.
Senior Miles Lewis is not far behind, with two homers and eight RBI to go with a .270 batting average. Lewis leads the Wolverines in slugging percentage.
I am worried about tonight’s game. Henry has been outstanding and the Bruins have been struggling to score runs against inferior competition. All signs point to a UCLA loss and I think Michigan pulls off a mild upset. I do think, however, that UCLA does better tomorrow and Sunday against Oklahoma State and Southern Cal, winning both.
This is your UCLA baseball versus Michigan Wolverines Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic open thread. Let us know your thoughts, comments, and/or updates in the comment section below.