#6 Oregon St. (24-5, 6-2) at #10 UCLA (19-8, 7-4) / 1 PM / Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los angeles / KEJO 1240 AM & KPOJ 620 AM
#6 Oregon St. and #10 UCLA will both be looking for a series win today, after the Beavers evened the weekend up with yesterday's 5-0 win over the Bruins, disappointing most of the small crowd of 1,001 that saw the un-videoed event.
"I'm proud of the way this team fought back after a tough loss on Friday," Oregon St. head coach Pat Casey said. "Andrew (Moore) gave us a great start and Max (Engelbrekt) and Scott (Schultz) did a great job in relief. The offense came through when we needed it."
The Beavers' freshman combination of Moore and Engelbrekt gave the Bruins fits for 8 innings Saturday.
If Oregon St. can claim the rubber match, it will be the third year in a row that the Beavers will have claimed the series after the Bruins had got things started with a strongly pitched opener.
Coupled with Arizona St.'s 14-9 win over conference leading Oregon in Tempe and Stanford's 10-3 win across town at USC, Oregon St.'s win really tightened up the Pac-12 race. The Ducks still lead, but the Beavers moved back into second place, just 1/2 game back. UCLA is in third, another 1/2 game behind.
The Cardinal, who are on a 3 game winning streak, are up to 4th, just 1 1/2 games out, and the Sun Devils, though in 5th place, are only 2 games behind entering today's action.
The Beavers will start with junior LHP Ben Wetzler (0-1, 2.41 ERA). Despite his limited number of decisions, Wetzler has made a number of starts in Oregon St. wins. The key for the Beavers is to get through the first 2 games of a series with strong and long performances from Matt Boyd and Moore so that there are enough arms and innings left in the bullpen to get 5-6 innings of backup for Wetzler.
The Bruins will counter with sophomore LHP Grant Watson (5-0, 2.30 ERA). Watson may be the toughest 3rd starter that Oregon St. has encountered yet, though he did get knocked out early in his last outing, last week at Arizona St., when he gave up 6 earned runs on 9 hits in only 2 1/3 innings. Only an extra inning rally by the Bruins that got him out of the decision, as well as pulling out the win, kept his goose-egg in the loss column.
The Beavers could well stand to have the middle of the batting order break out their bats today. Michael Conforto, Dylan Davis, and Danny Hayes went 0-13 with 5 strikeouts yesterday, and Conforto and Hayes enter today hitless for the series.
Coach Casey has shaken up the batting order again today, moving Andy Peterson up to the #2 spot. Jake Rodriguez will start at second base again, but Danny Hayes, who has dropped back into a slump as fast as he had snapped out of it, is sitting at the start today.