Not many hits, not enough walks and a lot of strikeouts. Unfortunately for UCLA, that has been the case far too often this season and it was the case again on Tuesday night at Anteater Ballpark. Just like so many of the other times this season that the Bruins didn't get it done at the plate, they picked up the loss as UC Irvine took them down, 2-1. Now UCLA will have to go into their final three games of the season this weekend at Arizona St. coming off of a loss and sitting at 31-21 overall.
It's rare that the reason for a Bruin loss is inadequate pitching and Tuesday's loss certainly wasn't because of inadequate pitching. Zack Weiss was the hard luck loser and dropped to 5-3 despite seven strong innings in which he allowed two runs on four hits and struck out four. He started strong, retiring the first 12 batters of the ballgame, but he just didn't get the run support. Nick Vander Tuig pitched one inning of scoreless relief and struck out one.
The problem for UCLA was back at the plate, again. The Bruins struck out 13 times and drew just two walks, both by Cody Keefer. They totaled just six hits with two players, Dean Espy and Cody Regis each picking up two. Regis accounted for the Bruins' only run, belting his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
A first inning single by Espy and walk by Keefer gave UCLA the chance to get an early run, but a strikeout left them stranded. It didn't look like it would matter much the way Weiss opened up the game on fire, but it did in the end.
With two outs in the fourth, Regis got ahead in the count 3-1. He took advantage of the hitter's count, launching the next pitch out to right field to put UCLA ahead 1-0.
The following inning, Weiss finally allowed a base runner with a single to start the fifth. That Anteater was thrown out stealing, but the next batter was hit by a pitch and a single put runners on the corners. From there a ground out was good enough to score the man from third and the game was knotted at ones.
Just like the first inning, Espy singled and Keefer walked with two outs. Also like the first, a strikeout ended the inning. The eighth didn't get much better as Beau Amaral doubled and Espy was hit by a pitch with two outs, but a ground out ended that frame.
UCLA paid for that in the bottom half of the eighth when the Anteaters got the winning run. A lead off single was followed by a walk to put two on with none out. Vander Tuig entered for Weiss and started well with a strikeout, but the next batter singled to load the bases. With two outs, the Bruins were caught off guard by a slow roller 10-foot single that scored a run from third and Irvine were up 2-1.
A lead off single gave UCLA a chance in the ninth, but that was it as the next three men were retired and the Anteaters came away winners.