While non-conference play is technically not over, the Arizona Wildcats will begin Pac-12 play Friday night when they take on the UCLA Bruins in Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Here’s a look at the game times and likely pitching matchups:
Friday (7 PM PT): LHP JC Cloney vs. RHP Griffin Canning
Saturday (2 PM PT): RHP Michael Flynn vs. TBA
Sunday (2 PM PT): TBA vs. RHP Jon Olsen
UPDATE: Friday’s game has been postponed until 1 PM Saturday due to fog.
Arizona comes into this game with a 13-3 overall record, while the Bruins are a not-so-nice 6-9, the worst record in the conference.
UCLA games have been defined by little-to-no offensive output. As a team, the Bruins are hitting just .222 this season, which is a far cry from Arizona’s .357 team batting average. UCLA has only scored more than six runs in a game twice, and are averaging just under four runs per contest. U of A is averaging more than ten runs per game.
The funny thing is that the Bruins have four more home runs than the Cats (11 to 7). Sean Bouchard has four of those 11 bombs, and is the only regular hitting above .300.
On the pitching side, Griffin Canning has a stunning 0.96 ERA in four starts, yet hasn’t recorded a decision despite 28 innings of work. This probably has to do with the fact that closer Brian Gadsby has surrendered seven runs in 13 1⁄3 innings spread out over ten appearances. UCLA does not use many pitchers out of the bullpen -- six pitchers have already made seven or more appearances in just 15 team games.
To have success this weekend, Arizona just needs to play its game. As long as the pitchers keep the ball down, they should be able to limit the Bruins’ offensive output. And if the bats are able to get into the bullpen, that should give the Wildcats a huge advantage, especially in Friday night’s contest against Canning.
Friday and Sunday’s contests will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network. Saturday’s game will not be on anywhere.