The Bruins have lost another starting pitcher to injury.
No. 2 UCLA baseball (11-3) will play at Long Beach State (2-12) on Tuesday, a day after freshman right-hander Nick Nastrini was ruled out for the season with thoracic outlet syndrome. Nastrini joined the rotation after No. 1 starter junior right-hander Ryan Garcia missed the start of the season with flexor inflammation.
In two starts and one relief appearance this season, Nastrini struck out 17 batters without allowing a run, but his shutout streak will be cut short after 10 2/3 innings. After Nastrini’s scheduled start against Pepperdine on March 5 was rained out, he was slated to start against the Dirtbags.
Coach John Savage announced Garcia will be the replacement starter Tuesday, making his first start of the season.
Garcia made 22 appearances last season, including 12 starts. He posted a 2.23 ERA and an 8-1 record in 76 2/3 innings.
Bruins surging, Dirtbags struggling
UCLA and Long Beach State will enter the game with opposite trajectories.
While the Bruins have the chance to match their best start through 15 games since 2013, the Dirtbags lost their first 10 games of the season to match their longest losing streak since 1980.
Offensively, Long Beach State has one hitter batting above .250 and a team slugging percentage of .280, just five points higher than UCLA’s .275 batting average.
Junior third baseman Ryan Kreidler has led the way offensively for UCLA, posting a slash line of .404/.475/.654. Kreidler also leads the Bruins in home runs with three, matching his total from last season.
“Kreidler has been one of our better offensive players,” Savage said. “He’s been much stronger. … He’s come back different, more confident. … He’s been a major difference this season.”
On the mound, the UCLA pitching staff gave up 15 runs this weekend across the three games of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, matching its total allowed through the first 11 games. The Bruins still lead the Pac-12 with a 1.91 ERA, more than two runs lower than the Dirtbags’ 4.41 mark.
Despite their disparities this season, UCLA and Long Beach State have split their 38 matchups since 2000. Last season, the Bruins lost both games by scores of 5-2 and 5-1, respectively.
First pitch will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.