Usually a weekend series presents an opportunity for each team to learn about the other throughout the weekend and the victor is the one that can handle the other best. It’s the team that grabs ahold of its opposition’s quirks and mistakes and learns how to build off of them.
That won’t be the case at Jackie Robinson Stadium this weekend. UCLA will play three different teams – the team will face Notre Dame today, Oklahoma on Saturday and close the weekend with USC on Sunday.
While playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the norm, it’s unusual for the team to play three separate squads so close together. But the Bruins said that the change will not disrupt them this weekend.
“I mean it’s a little different, three different opponents who are all very good,” said coach John Savage. “But right now, we’re just looking to see what we can do in practice.”
While UCLA could overload itself with preparation for all three teams, it is taking it game by game.
“It’s a little different, one team each day, but right now, we’re playing Notre Dame on Friday and that’s where all our focus is,” said junior right fielder Brian Carroll.
Several members of the team said that they know that their own strengths are the ones that will carry them forward throughout the weekend, and the Bruins will take the opportunity to develop themselves as a team.
While they have won their last six games, they have been outhit in many of them, making good use of hit by pitches and base on balls to get players around the bases. Junior outfielder Brenton Allen said that he thinks the approach UCLA has taken, not relying on big hits to get them the big wins, plays a large part in getting them steadily to those wins.
“We take pride in executing and … there are going to be days where you don’t have as much success,” Allen said. “You can’t just keep trying to hit, you just end up with a loss. You want to work towards a win.”
While the fact that they can find a way to win is positive to the Bruins, Savage said that he would like to see his team improve at the plate.
“Well, it’s been the story of our season so far, we grind it out in at-bats and with base runners,” Savage said.
While the Bruins will not have three games to learn about one opponent, they will have three games to learn about themselves. As a young team that is still finding its identity, they welcome all opportunities to do so.
“We have a long ways to go,” Savage said. “We’re building who we are and that’s still yet to be formed. It’s early in the season, the guys are doing a good job.”