With a three-game weekend sweep of the Washington Huskies in the books, the No. 7/11 UCLA baseball team improved to 15-3 on the year and is tied for first in the Pac-12 standings.
Aside from the series opener, which the Bruins took by a final of 3-2 in 15 innings (over the course of two days), UW couldn’t get anything going in LA. The Huskies failed to push a run across in either of the last two games, and UCLA won by a combined score of 8-0. Led by another impressive showing from its pitching staff, UCLA stretched its winning streak to 17 straight over Washington.
In all, it was a very successful start of conference play for the Bruins, one of only three teams to make it out of the first weekend unscathed. The other squads to sweep their opening sets were No. 4 Oregon State (19-1, 3-0 Pac-12) and the next opponent on the slate for UCLA, the California Golden Bears (13-7, 3-0).
Cal kicked off its Pac-12 schedule with a high-scoring sweep of Utah in Salt Lake City, a series that saw a combined 38 runs between the teams. The Bears pushed their record to 13-7, including eight straight wins after a shaky 5-7 start to the season.
The winning streak has lifted Cal into the “Others Receiving Votes” category of the NCBWA poll, which is pretty significant for a team that was almost cut from the budget at UC-Berkeley three years ago. The Golden Bears are slowly building their once prominent program back to national stature, and the next step down that road is to get a win over the new-age powerhouse Bruins.
After a midweek trip to San Jose to face the SJSU Spartans, Cal will make its way down to Jackie Robinson Stadium to face UCLA this weekend. The Bears are looking for their first series win over the Bruins since the 2008-2009 season, which would be a major accomplishment for head coach David Esquer and his program. If Cal can take two (or heaven forbid all three) games from UCLA, the Bears would be in excellent position in the Pac-12 after two road series.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Bruins will be ready for their best. UCLA has its sights set on another conference title this season, as well as consecutive trips to the College World Series. With elite contenders like Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State and Arizona all residing in the Top 25, the Bruins can ill afford to get complacent versus one of the league’s lesser squads. Head coach John Savage will have his team dialed in this weekend, and it should provide for another exciting weekend of UCLA baseball.