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UCLA baseball to face off against Pac-12 leader Oregon in home series

Coach John Savage sports glasses and holds paper and a pen while looking out of the dugout toward the field. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

Baseball


Oregon
Friday, 7:05 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
Pac-12 Networks
Oregon
Saturday, 6:05 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
Pac-12 Networks
Oregon
Sunday, 12:05 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Stadium
Pac-12 Networks

By Kai Dizon

April 5, 2024 8:53 a.m.

If the Bruins are going to climb the Pac-12 standings this weekend, they’ll have to beat the team sitting at the top.

UCLA baseball (11-15, 4-8 Pac-12) – which sits second to last in the conference – is set to face off against Pac-12 leader Oregon (20-7, 6-3) Friday through Sunday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

“We had three walk-off losses (against Arizona) that were very difficult,” said coach John Savage during the ESPN+ broadcast of Tuesday’s win over Loyola Marymount. “It’s baseball – you better be able to respond, and that’s what this is all about.”

Oregon is on a five-game winning streak and has won 14 of its last 18 games – including series wins against California and Arizona, which both swept UCLA this season.

Meanwhile, the Bruins rebounded from their weekend bludgeoning as a trio of freshman right-handers helped the Bruins to a 4-1 victory over the Lions. Luke Rodriguez, Justin Lee and Cal Randall combined for 12 strikeouts and one run over 7.1 innings pitched.

“It’s a really good opportunity for all of us – all the freshmen that are healthy,” Lee said. “They’ve been going down (UCLA’s veteran pitchers) and coach Savage said we need to step up.”

After Tuesday’s game, Savage said junior right-handed reliever Nate Leibold – who hasn’t appeared since March 10 – will undergo season-ending surgery. He added that sophomore right-hander Finn McIlroy – who began the season as the Bruins’ Saturday starter – will hopefully return in the next two weeks.

As for right-handed relievers sophomore Cody Delvecchio and redshirt junior Chris Aldrich, Savage said the team is still waiting to get medical results back.

Injuries haven’t been limited to the pitching staff, though. Cody Schrier was removed before the bottom of the eighth in Westchester after a ball hit the junior’s finger on a bunt attempt in the top of the inning. Savage said the move was precautionary and he expects the Bruins’ everyday shortstop to be fine.

Even before the injury, however, Schrier – who earned preseason all-conference honors – has been mired by a nearly season-long slump. The shortstop is slashing just .138/.233/.163 over his last 19 games and 90 plate appearances while also tying for the team lead in errors.

On the mound, another Bruin is amid a slump.

Freshman Landon Stump has struggled in his transition to the weekend rotation.

Since becoming the Sunday starter March 17, the right-hander has a 6.75 ERA over 12 innings and has failed to make it out of the fifth inning once. Following his start a week later, Savage said Stump dealt with back discomfort throughout the game.

Nevertheless, Stump did take the mound in Tuscon – allowing seven runs in 4.1 innings – and he’s set to get another shot on Sunday as a probable starter against the Ducks.

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