For the sixth week in a row, the Bruins are No. 1 in the country.
No. 1 UCLA baseball (30-7, 11-4 Pac-12) will play its only game this season against Cal State Fullerton (16-19, 4-5 Big West) on Tuesday. Heading into the matchup, the Bruins have won 12 of their last 14 games and have held the top spot of the rankings longer than any other team this season.
The game against the Titans marks the beginning of many road games to come for the Bruins. With 19 games left in the regular season, UCLA will play 12 away from Jackie Robinson Stadium, the most of any other one-month span during the season.
The 2019 season has seen the Bruins post a 7-0 record in midweek games. The last time UCLA finished the regular season with a perfect record on Tuesdays was in 2012, when the team appeared in the College World Series.
“I think the West Coast (Conference) and Big West teams this year have been really good,” said redshirt junior right-hander Jack Ralston. “So I think being supportive of the team and wanting the best for them is the best way to stay in the moment on Tuesdays.”
Although the team has not lost a midweek game this year, coach John Savage said he is more concerned about what is going on in the Pac-12 than who the Bruins are playing each Tuesday. The newest rankings posted by D1Baseball.com puts Oregon State and Stanford as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, making the top three teams in the country all Pac-12 schools.
“Right now you’re being judged by conference play,” said Savage. “Weekdays are very important – and we value them – but at the end of the day, Oregon State and Stanford aren’t losing much. I don’t wanna downplay Tuesday, but right now, we’ll take care of that when we get to practice on Monday.”
Toward the end of April last season, the Bruins put together a season-high eight-game winning streak, improving their overall record to 30-10. However, the wins were immediately followed by a stretch in which the team dropped six of seven games, including a season-worst four-game losing streak.
“Last year, when we had a win streak, we kind of got in cruise control and just assumed, ‘You’re going to win the game,’ and didn’t bring out that same edge that we do every day,” said junior second baseman Chase Strumpf. “So I think that’s a lesson we all can learn, to try and win and not coast through it expecting the other team to lay down.”
First pitch will be at 6 p.m. at Goodwin Field.