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#14 UCLA Baseball: Bruins Clobbered in Game Two; Series with UCI on the Line Today
Irvine jumped to 7-0 lead through three innings over the Bruins yesterday, winning 7-3 and evening the series.
The #14 UCLA Bruin baseball team (3-3) faces the UCI Anteaters (4-1) this afternoon at 2 pm PT at Jackie Robinson Stadium, with the weekend series on the line. After the Bruins eeked out a Friday night win, 4-3, on a walk-off walk, the Anteaters absolutely clubbed the Bruins yesterday by the score of 7-3. The Bruins need to secure a series win today to avoid another drop in the polls.
Last Time Out
It was bad from the beginning yesterday. UCLA starter Jessie Bergin (1-1), who was so hot last weekend, was hammered for four runs in the first inning. With runners on base due to a base on balls and a UCLA error, UCI got a two-out, two-RBI double, followed by a two-out, two-RBI single. Suddenly, it was 4-0 and the game was barely underway.
The Anteaters tacked on three more runs in the third inning, all charged to Bergin, care of four singles, to make it 7-0. Irvine would score no more, but single runs by UCLA in the fourth, fifth, and ninth innings fell far short of making a game of it. The Bruins only had a paltry five hits on the day, but could not take advantage of getting runners on base due to Anteater miscues, as the Bruins stranded ten base runners. UCLA is not hitting well (.223 team average) and, more importantly, not getting the timely, clutch hits.
If you want a silver lining, the bullpen, which has been less-than-stellar so far this season, kept UCI scoreless in six innings, allowing only three hits.
UCLA has under-performed so far this season. There are no two ways about it. They’ve already lost more games than in the pandemic-shortened 15-game season last year and have already lost a series, something the Bruins did not do in the entirety of the full 2019 campaign.
For this game, the bottom line is that a UCLA win will give it a 3-1 week and a series win and the Bruins will likely stand firm in the rankings after their precipitous fall last week. A loss today and UCLA will see a similar drop in the rankings. Period.
The season is still early. So, it is too hard to tell if this team is worse than advertised or just going through a bad stretch without some expected starters, JT Schwartz and Jake Moberg, apparently injured as neither has appeared in any games. Mostly, UCLA needs to do better at the plate. Hitting .223 as a team is not going to get it done.
Nick Nastrini will take the hill for the Bruins today (0-0, 4.26 ERA). Can UCLA get to Anteater starting freshman pitcher Nick Pinto (0-0, 0.00 ERA)? That will be the story today.
#14 UCLA Baseball (3-3)
Opponent: UC Irvine Anteaters (4-1)
Game Time: 2:00 pm PT, Sunday, February 28, 2021
Where: Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Projected Pitching Matchup:
UCLA - Nick Nastrini, RHP, Jr. (0-0, 4.26 ERA)
UCI - Nick Pinto, LHP, Fr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
This is your UCLA vs. UCI game three, rubber match, series-on-the-line open thread.