The UCLA baseball team finally remembered what it felt like to go home victorious on a Tuesday night.
After losing each of its last two midweek contests, UCLA held off visiting Long Beach State in a 6-4 win Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Senior right fielder Chris Giovinazzo led what might as well be called an offensive outburst for this UCLA team, which has had trouble consistently scoring runs all season.
Giovinazzo had three hits in five at-bats, including a home run and a double.
Junior first baseman Dean Espy also collected three hits and scored two runs, and sophomore left fielder Cody Keefer drove in a game-high three runs with a pair of hits for the Bruins (17-11).
On the mound, meanwhile, UCLA got five innings of shutout ball from freshman right-handed pitcher Zack Weiss, who was making his third start of the season. Weiss didn’t give up a run in his previous Tuesday start, but only pitched three innings in that game.
This time around, Weiss struck out five batters while walking none and yielding just two hits.
The Bruins bookended the game with another freshman, closer Nick Vander Tuig, notching his fourth save of the year by pitching an inning and a third of shutout baseball.
Long Beach State, meanwhile, jumped at the opportunity when Weiss was removed from the game.
The Dirtbags (16-15) scored all four of their runs in the sixth, capitalizing on a sequence in which seven consecutive hitters reached base against the UCLA bullpen.
At that point, the UCLA lead was trimmed to 5-4, and shades of recent letdowns had to be creeping into the Bruins’ minds. UCLA had already blown ninth-inning leads in losses to UC Riverside and Washington State and a win against Washington State this season.
This time, however, the Bruins responded with an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI double by Keefer, and Vander Tuig was able to shut the door and regain some momentum after a few consecutive shaky outings.
Furthermore, the Bruins didn’t give away any runs late because of porous defense, as had been the case in some of their recent contests.
Giovinazzo was back in the leadoff spot in the lineup, the same as where he hit in Friday night’s win over Washington State.
In the subsequent two games in that series, the senior ““ one of just two on the roster, and the only position player ““ hit fifth.
Tuesday’s game was the first of a five-game homestand that will see UCLA play a weekend series against Pac-10 foe Arizona, followed by a Tuesday tilt with San Diego State.
Compiled by Ryan Eshoff, Bruin Sports senior staff.