Weekend in Preview: March 6
(Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)
Will Foote, Daily Bruin reporter
The Bruins will have one final tune-up before league play begins.
Coming off their first loss of the season, No. 6 UCLA baseball (11-1) will play three games in the Southern California College Baseball Classic, which will be their last non-conference matches before Pac-12 play starts next weekend.
The Bruins will begin by hosting two ranked opponents – No. 2 Vanderbilt (11-3) and No. 22 TCU (10-2) – at Jackie Robinson Stadium, before taking to the road to face rival USC (7-4) at Dedeaux Field, downtown.
The tournament, previously known as the Dodger Stadium Baseball Classic, has a new name in its 10th year, as Dodger Stadium is undergoing renovations and unable to host the classic in 2020.
UCLA’s first test will come Friday against the reigning NCAA national champion, Vanderbilt. Following a 59-win season in 2019, the Commodores opened 2020 by losing two of their first three games but have since gone 10-1 over their last 11 games.
UCLA is 1-2 all-time against Vanderbilt, with their last matchup being a 6-3 Commodore victory in this same tournament two years ago.
UCLA will then face TCU on Saturday, whose offense leads the four teams competing in the classic with 95 runs. TCU will be UCLA’s only matchup where the Bruins own a winning all-time record, as they are 4-2 against the Horned Frogs.
The Bruins will travel to USC to play their final game of the tournament Sunday. The Trojans’ 77 runs scored and 2.39 ERA are the worst marks in those categories by any of the classic’s competitors.
Throughout the weekend, the Bruins’ pitching staff – whose .79 WHIP and 1.43 ERA are good for first- and second-best in the country – will look to get back on track after surrendering a season-high eight total runs to UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.
Junior right-hander Zach Pettway, sophomore right-hander Nick Nastrini and sophomore right-hander Jesse Bergin will start the three games for the Bruins this weekend.
The game against Vanderbilt will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by TCU at 2 p.m. on Saturday and USC at 3 p.m on Sunday.
Nick Darrow, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will begin Pac-12 play this weekend against two familiar opponents.
No. 3 UCLA women’s tennis (10-1) will make the trip up to Northern California this weekend to face off against Pac-12 rivals California and Stanford. Off a nonconference schedule, where the Bruins posted 8 sweeps, coach Stella Sampras Webster said the Bruins will need to rely on their past success but be ready to make adjustments on the road.
“The players are pretty experienced to know that there’s going to have to be adjustments” Sampras Webster said. “It’s not going to be a perfect day with everything going our way. We are going to have to make adjustments and understand that we can’t let any distractions get in the way.”
The Bruins previously swept both the Bears and the Cardinal, with Cal falling to UCLA on Feb. 21 in nonconference action, and Stanford losing 4-0 in the semifinals of the ITA national indoor championship in Chicago on Feb. 9.
“We are their chance of getting into the tournament, so we understand that everyone’s got our name circled because it’s a great opportunity for them” Sampras Webster said. “They are going to play very loose and so, we’re going to have to expect that and hopefully get off to a good start.”
Then on Saturday in Stanford, the Bruins will face off against the Cardinal, who hasn’t lost a match since the ITA national indoor championship. Since then, Stanford has defeated UC Davis, TCU, then-No. 3 Texas and Saint Mary’s.
With Stanford’s 5-0 record at home so far this season, Sampras Webster said the Bruins must be ready to deal with distractions as they head to the Taube Tennis Center at Stanford.
“It could be the crowd, could be bad calls – we’re going to have to be mature and be professional out there to be able to maintain our level of play,” Sampras Webster said. “And we hopefully can play our aggressive style and not get caught in the what ifs or with any doubts so we can go play our game.”
Daniel Lieber, Daily Bruin contributor
Freshman Emma Spitz will have a chance to tally her fifth straight top-10 finish this weekend as she comes off her first collegiate win at the Bruin Wave Invitational.
No. 11 UCLA women’s golf will compete at the 54-holeDarius Rucker Intercollegiate from Friday through Sunday in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The Bruins will be a part of a 17-team pool that includes nine other top-25 ranked teams.
Coach Carrie Forsyth said the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate will probably be one of the most competitive events the Bruins will participate in all year, but that she does not anticipate the high level of play will have an impact on the team’s performance or on Spitz, in particular.
“(Spitz) has played in a lot of really big tournaments,” Forsyth said. “So that’s not really a factor for her.”
Along with Spitz, seniors Mariel Galdiano and Clare Legaspi have been selected for the Bruins’ starting lineup. Joining them will be freshmen Annabel Wilson and Emilie Paltrinieri – the latter of which is coming off two top-5 finishes in first at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and the Bruin Wave Invitational.
UCLA will begin competing in the invitational Friday at 5:30 a.m. PST.
Jacqueline Dzwonczyk, assistant Sports editor
The Bruins will be on an unfamiliar course with unfamiliar opponents.
No. 21 UCLA men’s golf will compete in the Bandon Dunes Championship in Bandon, Oregon, beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday. The Bruins will make their first appearance at the tournament this weekend, and they are set to face a field of teams they have yet to see this year.
UCLA is just four days from the Southern Highlands Collegiate, in which the Bruins tied for fifth.
“It’s a completely different golf course and a completely different test of golf,” said junior Devon Bling. “We need to add a few shots to each of our bags for next week.”
Bling was UCLA’s top finisher Tuesday, placing third with a 7-under 209. As a team, the Bruins finished behind four top-25 teams and tied with No. 1 Pepperdine.
There are currently seven teams listed as participants in the upcoming field at the Brandon Dunes Championship, not including UCLA. Of those seven opponents, just one is ranked – No. 12 Washington.
Bling said the Bruins are capable of finishing at the top of any tournament, regardless of the competition.
“When all of us on our team are playing well, we can beat any team in the country for sure,” Bling said.
UCLA will tee off Sunday morning in its last tournament before it takes a one-month hiatus.