Oregon St. (22-8, 5-3) had the better pitching Thursday night, and got the 3-2 win over 7th (or 6th, or 9th, depending on which poll you want to read) ranked UCLA (22-6, 9-2) as a result. The Bruins turned the tables last night, and evened the series with a 4-1 win over the Beavers. This afternoon at 4 PM PDT, the teams that have combined to claim the last 4 Pac-12 titles square off at Jackie Robinson Stadium with this season's series up for grabs.
UCLA would love to take a second straight, and win a series against Oregon St. for the first time since 2010. Last night's Bruin pitching strike out festival (13 of 27 Beaver outs were strikeouts, including the side striking out in the last 2 at bats, and 3 of the last 4) snapped a 6 game losing streak in the series, including the last 3 meetings at Jackie Robinson.
Bruin pitching set the Beavers down in order 5 times, and cleaned up 2 other innings with double plays.
Oregon St., on the other hand, not only wants to extend their run of series wins to 5, the Beavers also don't want to drop to 3 1/2 games behind the Bruins, instead of pulling back within a game and a half with 3 games in hand, and the tie-breaker, in the Pac-12 race. Lots at stake.
To do so, the Beavers will need more than the 5 hits they managed against the Bruins last night, which means someone helping Gabe Clark, who had 3 of those hits.
Missed opportunities by both teams have been a major factor in both losses, and the magnitude of each one has been magnified by the scarcity of scoring opportunities in a series that has seen plenty of solid pitching. Its unlikely to change today.
The game, as the entire series has been, will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Oregon St. will go with junior RHP Travis Eckert (3-0, 2.80 ERA) today. Eckert, with ample help from Luke Heimlich, got the only win for the Beavers last weekend, combining for a 4-2 win over Cal-Poly.
UCLA will counter with freshman RHP Griffin Canning (5-1, 2.20 ERA), the latest Bruin pitching phenom to come along in the seemingly endless line of mound talent in Westwood.