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Partly Cloudy and Cool The Beavers' Advantage?

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It may be the biggest series to come to Goss Stadium this year, as the #3 UCLA Bruins come to town for three games against #17 Oregon St. tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and on Sunday.

Could the most important web site for the series be Accuweather.com instead of Osubeavers.com, or Buildingthedam.com?

The Bruins (24-2, 2-1) are making their first true road trip of the season (a pre-season trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, where the only non neutral-site game was against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi isn't quite like facing a Pac-10 opponent).

For several years, no one sweeps the UCLA-OSU series, so the Beavers (19-6, 2-1) are realistically looking for another series win, something they have managed every series this season except for one. When the weather was also a key element.

The forecast calls for dry weather, as the 40% chance of rain for Sunday isn't in the afternoon, but the temperatures will reach 60 possibly only Saturday afternoon, and will be in the 40's much of the time tonight. The Bruins haven't played in the cold, and unless they practice in a walk-in meat locker, they can't simulate that.

We saw two different Long Beach St. teams between a cold, wet night, when they played as miserably as they were, and the next day when we actually had baseball weather, and they played very well. Further, Arizona St. was upset by the U of O, and it was on a cold, wet night, complete with a lightning delay and a separate rain delay. So conditions do matter, at least when playing summer-belt squads.

The Bruins open the series with soph. righty Gerrit Cole, (6-0, 2.49), but he will face the Beavers'  Greg Peavey, who has just two wins (in two decisions), but an ERA of. 2.13.

UCLA has announced they will send out Trevor Bauer, a right handed Soph. (5-1, 2.28) Saturday afternoon at 2 for the second game, when it should be sunny and around 60, and will finish the series at noon Sunday with Rob Rasmussen, a junior lefty (4-0, 2.95).

UCLA has the best staff ERA in the country, so it isn't just their starters OSU has to worry about. As Ryan Rosenblatt of Bruinsnation.com points out, the Bruins have Dan Klein, Erik Goeddel, Matt Grace and Mitchell Beacom in the bullpen, all of  whom have thrown a lot this year. Additionally, there's Garett Claypool, who's been strong on Tuesdays, and Matt Drummond, who was leaned upon heavily in past years, still on the staff.

So it is both incumbent on the Beaver offense to generate offense, but also do it with some regularity, making the Bruins consider going deeper in there bullpen because setting thru long half innings.

That's going to be a challenge, given that OSU has the Pac-10's worst team batting average, .271. Their ability to continue to out-perform that average with walks and good base running will be taxed, but also vital for Beaver success.

The good news might be the Bruins are on something of a skid. UCLA comes in off a 6-1 loss to Fullerton St. Tuesday, when the Beavers were bashing Portland 9-2 (by getting eight pitchers deep into the Pilots' staff). The Bruins are also 1-2 since last Saturday's 8-4 loss to Stanford.

It could come down to winning Sunday to claim the series after wearing out the UCLA staff in earlier games, even if the Bruins win one of the first two games.

The Beavers' pitching plans are still listed as "tentative" after Peavey tonight, and that could signal a willingness by Pat Casey to change things around if need be based on how things go. This isn't a series of three games, its a three game series, and what happens in one game could well carry over.

So the more Beaver fans get to know the Bruin pitching staff, the better. And a little Beaver weather won't hurt either.