LONG BEACH “”mdash; It was like a bad dream.
But not just any bad dream. It was that one recurring nightmare that only makes its way to your REM cycle once in a blue moon.
A lack of offensive output ““ the UCLA baseball team’s Achilles’ heel for the first half of the season ““ came back to bite the Bruins Tuesday against Long Beach State.
The No. 24 Bruins matched their third-lowest hit total of the season against the Dirtbags, totaling just five hits and falling by a final score of 4-2.
The Bruin bats never could get going as two solitary runs in the sixth and eighth innings were all UCLA had to show for an otherwise lackluster evening at the plate.
Coach John Savage called it a “jet lag” game, suggesting that the Bruins (27-17, 14-7 Pac-10) never got off the plane after sweeping Oregon on the road last weekend. Long Beach State (24-22, 8-7 Big West) had just been swept by Arizona State.
“I told them that this was the fifth game of a five-game road trip,” Savage said after UCLA had its five-game win streak snapped Tuesday. “We needed to finish the road trip and we came out flat. We didn’t do enough to win and they played better baseball than we did.”
Junior catcher Steve Rodriguez didn’t necessarily agree.
“There wasn’t a lull,” he said. “We were ready to play. Things just got too fast and we tried to make things happen instead of playing our game.”
For a good portion of the season, when the hitting wasn’t on par, the pitching was. That wasn’t the case Tuesday, as freshman Zack Weiss was handed his second loss of the season after giving up four runs and five hits in four innings.
“He wasn’t very good,” Savage said of Weiss. “He never established the strike zone. They had him on the treadmill and going fast early in the first inning. He kind of showed that he was a freshman.”
No one else could see that more than Rodriguez. Weiss threw two wild pitches that eventually allowed three runs to score. The three total wild pitches thrown were UCLA’s second highest total of the year.
“Zack was a little more all over the place,” Rodriguez said. “He threw a couple of wild pitches. It got fast for him, too. He’s a young pitcher, but he’s been great for us all year and just had one rough outing.”
It’s a unique week for the Bruins as they now prepare to face UC Santa Barbara today at Jackie Robinson Stadium before hosting Cal State Bakersfield this weekend. Sophomore third baseman Cody Regis said he hopes to use the loss as motivation for the remainder of this week.
“Hopefully we can turn around from this and use it to our advantage,” Regis said.