It must have been the early start.
Playing a game that began three hours before its usual Tuesday start time, the UCLA baseball team took a while to get its offensive act together. In the end, though, the Bruins scored all of their runs in the final four innings to crush Pepperdine 10-0.
Things finally broke open for visiting UCLA (24-16) in the sixth inning, when sophomore outfielder Jeff Gelalich drove in a pair of runs with a two-out double to jump-start the scoring.
It snowballed from there ““ as much as a game can snowball when it’s being played in 80-degree heat. The Bruins got RBI doubles from sophomore left fielder Cody Keefer and redshirt junior outfielder Marc Navarro as part of a four-run seventh.
Sophomore third baseman Cody Regis continued the fun in the eighth inning with a two-run, inside-the-park home run to extend the lead to 8-0.
“I can’t remember the last time I got one like that,” Regis said. “With these new bats and everything, I’ll take it any way I can.”
The sophomore drove a ball to right field that Pepperdine’s senior right fielder Harrison Kain tried to make a play on at the wall. But Kain was unable to catch it and instead crashed into the wall as the ball rolled away from the Pepperdine outfielders, allowing Regis to score. Kain left the game with an apparent shoulder injury.
UCLA tacked on another deuce in the ninth to reach double digits and round out the scoring.
“We started pretty slow, but by the end of the game we were putting together better at bats and things turned around for us,” Regis said.
“We chipped away,” coach John Savage added. “(Pepperdine freshman starter Matt) Maurer threw the ball pretty well today. Took us a while to get going, but guys stepped up.”
Pepperdine (18-21) had its fair share of chances but couldn’t break through against the crop of UCLA pitchers led by freshman Zack Weiss. The rookie right-hander went six shutout innings, striking out seven.
The Waves got 13 baserunners against Weiss and relievers Brandon Lodge and Scott Griggs, but the number proved unlucky ““ they stranded all of them on base.
It was the second consecutive impressive Tuesday performance for Weiss, who went seven strong innings in a 6-1 UCLA victory last week against UC Irvine, giving up just one unearned run.
It appears that, after some early-season maneuverings, the Bruins have finally settled on a consistent midweek starter ““ Weiss improved his record on the year to 5-1.
“I started off pretty slow,” Weiss said. “But the defense made some plays behind me, I started attacking the zone better and things started to work out for the better.
The win ensured a dominant sweep of the season series by UCLA, which beat Pepperdine at home 9-0 back on Feb. 22.