For UCLA, midweek games are anything but a break.
In some parts of the country, non-conference midweek match-ups might mean an easy chance to boost up the stats, but on the West coast, which is chock full of perennial powerhouses, Tuesdays come with just as much work as the weekends.
“The Tuesday games don’t give us a break,” said junior center fielder Brian Carroll. “On the West coast anywhere we go the team always gives us the best game possible.”
That was evident on Tuesday when UCLA battled Long Beach.
The Bruins prevailed, but it was a fight to the finish by the Dirtbags in a 3-2 win.
The game stood in stark opposition to last week’s midweek matchup in which the Bruins came away with a 12-3 win. But while the game was close, what mattered to Carroll was that in a tight game like Tuesday’s, the Bruins were able to pull ahead late.
“I mean when it comes down to it, good teams find a way to win,” Carroll said.
UCLA held onto the lead into the seventh, Long Beach managed to tie it up on a home run by sophomore right fielder Richard Prigatano.
The Bruins won the game even while posting fewer hits than Long Beach, with only six as opposed to seven. However, they made use of hits by pitches and base on balls, pushing across the game’s winning run when the Dirtbags walked junior pinch hitter Brenton Allen with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth.
“Baseball is a crazy sport, the team with the most hits isn’t always the one that wins,” Allen said. “We always establish we are patient … we try to find a way to win even if it’s not going our way.”
In three out of the team’s last four games, UCLA had fewer hits than its opponent, but they came away with the win each time.
While coach John Savage noted that this showed strength in some areas, he said the Bruins do have to work on making at-bats count.
“We need to have better at bats than we’re having, but good teams win in a lot of different ways and right now we’re winning even though we’re not clicking on all fronts,” Savage said. “It’s a long season and we escaped with a win.”
Email Coghlan at firstname.lastname@example.org.