While the 51 runs UCLA has scored this season might be the flashiest number in the stats box, the 22 that have been scored against it may be just as notable.
The starting rotation and packed bullpen to back it up has been key to the Bruins’ game so far this season – an aspect of their game they will try to keep up this weekend.
“It’s nice to be on track with our offense … but we just don’t need to score a lot of runs with our pitching,” said sophomore third baseman Kevin Kramer.
UCLA will play a three-game series against Wright State this weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The team is coming into the series fresh off a 12-3 win over UC Santa Barbara, and while the game was a nonconference matchup, it is the midweek games that keep UCLA ready for the tough weekends.
“It’s nice to get a win on Tuesday because it’s good preparation for the weekend. … It was important for us to come out and play good ball because it carries the momentum forward,” Kramer said.
While the 12 runs they scored on Tuesday signified an offensive explosion, the Bruins are in no way relying solely on bats to bring home the wins. Kramer said that their philosophy is to make sure they do what they can to stop other teams through strong pitching and defense – runs just help tip the equation in their favor.
UCLA hasn’t lost a series this year and comes into this weekend with a 5-2 record under its belt. But its opponents, however, are coming off a three-game sweep by Clemson in which Wright State was shut out twice.
Even though the Raiders might arrive at Jackie Robinson with the need to redeem themselves, coach John Savage said that they are focusing on all the same things in preparation.
“We don’t prepare for any one team differently than another,” Savage said. “We just need to go out and play our game.”
While seven different UCLA players had at least one hit on Tuesday, the Bruins don’t focus on big numbers but rather on just getting to the plate and playing small ball, each player trying to push the previous one ahead.
“We preach quality at bats. … We’re not all trying to force hits, we’re just trying to go out and do a good job,” said sophomore catcher Shane Zeile.