With five games against unranked, non-conference opponents, this week appeared to be an opportunity for the UCLA baseball team to pad its record before heading into the final stretch of Pac-10 play.
Needless to say, an 0-2 start to the week wasn’t what No. 24 UCLA had in mind, but that’s where it finds itself after falling to UC Santa Barbara 5-4 at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Wednesday.
The Gauchos (21-21) used a three-run fourth inning to take the lead over the Bruins (27-18) and they wouldn’t look back. The UCLA pitching staff held its own, giving up just four hits on the evening. In fact, the Bruins outhit the Gauchos 9-5.
It was the porous defense that failed coach John Savage’s club Wednesday. The five errors committed by the Bruin defense ties its season high. UCLA also committed five errors in an 8-5 win over Arizona on April 17.
Sophomore starter Scott Griggs was handed the loss to fall to 1-1 on the season. Griggs started the first two Tuesday games of the season, but was replaced by freshman Zack Weiss as he recovered from an injury. Griggs got the nod because Wednesday’s matchup was a “make up” game of sorts as the tilt was scheduled in place of a game that got rained out at Cal Poly in late March.
Two walks coupled with a wild pitch and a stolen base ended Griggs’ night in the fourth inning. Savage would turn to four other pitchers before night’s end, something the club has been known to do during midweek games.
A two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning drew the Bruins within reach, but it wasn’t enough, and the heart of the Bruin batting order was sat down in short order in the bottom of the ninth.
UCLA now turns its attention to a weekend series against Cal State Bakersfield. The Roadrunners are 26-19 on the year.
Compiled by Sam Strong, Bruin Sports senior staff.