UCLA baseball falters against Long Beach State to continue poor start
Freshman pitcher Justin Hooper tried to steady the Bruins Tuesday, entering the game and striking out the first batter he faced. Poor judgment and missed opportunities from his teammates thwarted a UCLA comeback. (Mackenzie Possee/Daily Bruin)
|Long Beach State||10|
|No. 15 UCLA||1|
Feb. 24, 2016 12:49 a.m.
The early-season woes continued for the baseball team Tuesday night.
For the second straight game, No. 15 UCLA (1-3) was on the wrong end of a rout, falling 10-1 to Long Beach State (3-1) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Dirtbags jumped on the Bruins early, scoring in each of the first four innings to build a 6-1 lead.
Junior starter Hunter Virant lasted just 1.2 innings for UCLA, surrendering four runs on four hits and two walks. All the runs were earned, but the first one scored thanks to a sacrifice fly on which Bruin redshirt freshman catcher Daniel Rosica failed to snag a well-placed throw from junior left fielder Brett Stephens.
In the second inning, the Dirtbags strung together four hits, with a two-run wall-ball double by first baseman Lucas Tancas chasing Virant from the game.
Sophomore right-hander Scott Burke entered, allowing two runs in 1.2 innings before giving way to freshman left Justin Hooper.
Hooper entered and struck out the first batter he faced, but Rosica couldn’t handle the third strike and hesitated on the throw to first, allowing the runner to reach.
Rosica, a redshirt freshman recruited to be a bullpen catcher, also struggled to control the running game, allowing the Dirtbags to swipe five bases on five attempts.
Although they finally got a chance to face a pitching staff other than North Carolina’s electric group of arms, the Bruin bats continued to scuffle, pushing across just the lone run in the second inning.
Junior right fielder Kort Peterson continued to head the lackluster attack in the first week of play, notching three hits in four at-bats to raise his team-leading average to .400. Stephens, who has led off for UCLA since the season’s second game, has yet to record a hit, though he does lead the team with seven walks.
On the mound, redshirt freshman reliever Nathan Hadley impressed once again, handling the sixth inning and extending his season-opening scoreless streak to five frames. Redshirt junior Tucker Forbes, on the other hand, allowed three earned runs. After posting a 2.11 ERA last season, the righty has started 2016 with a mark of 11.57.
The Bruins will have a chance to turn things around this weekend at Cal Poly.
Compiled by Matt Cummings, Bruin Sports senior staff.