The offensive woes of a year ago were supposed to be gone for UCLA after they pounded out 10 hits for six runs on Saturday, but they were back again on Sunday. The Bruins never looked like they could even hit the ball hard, let alone score a few runs. Toss in some horrendous defense and that the game was called after eight innings because of a travel curfew was probably a blessing for the Bruins as they fell to Maryland, 5-1. UCLA now stands at 1-2 after their opening weekend and back to searching for an offense.
Pat Valaika led the way offensively for the Bruins with two of their five hits. Tyler Heineman added a hit, run scored and walk of his own and he unlike many of the others on his team he excelled defensively, throwing out all three Terrapins that tried to steal on him. As was the case for much of last season, the Bruins were victimized by strikeouts. They tallied 11 on the afternoon, including three by Cody Regis and two by Beau Amaral and Cody Keefer as the juniors waved away at pitch after pitch.
Three errors made it tough on Zack Weiss from the very start and made the loss he absorbed somewhat unfair. He did struggle to locate his breaking pitches, but he would have done enough to get the Bruins a win had he been backed up by his defense. In the end, he allowed three runs on five hits in five-plus innings, but none of the runs were earned. David Berg made his collegiate debut with 1.2 innings of two-run ball and Eric Jaffe failed to retire any of the three batters he faced as he also made his collegiate debut. Chase Brewer worked a scoreless inning and Ryan Deeter came in to get one out.
The problems started right away for UCLA as Weiss hit the first batter of the ballgame. That batter eventually made his way to third, but it looked like the Bruins would get out of it when Weiss induced a pop up to short right field with two outs. Kevin Kramer went back on the ball and got it in his glove, but it popped out and fell to the ground for an error that allowed the Terps to score the opening run.
Another error handed Maryland a run in the second inning. A two-out double for the visitors in business, but again a fly ball looked like it would get Weiss out of the frame unscathed. Amaral misplayed the fly ball to center field, though, running in on it before turning around and chasing it down, only he couldn't get there in time. The ball bounced off of the tip of his glove and fell as another Maryland run came across to make it 2-0.
As was the case in the first two innings, poor fielding netted the Terps a run in the third. The visitors picked up a one-out double this time and while Kramer was able to snag the next batter's grounder, he threw high and the man was safe. The next batter just lifted one to right and the man at third tagged and scored for the Terps' third unearned run in as many innings.
It took UCLA until the fourth inning to pick up their first hit of the game, but they didn't do anything with it. They put two men on in the fifth with a hit by pitch and single, but that was with two outs and both men were left on base.
The Bruins finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth, but considering the men they left on base, they couldn't have been happy about the inning. Heineman started the inning by getting hit by a pitch and Keefer followed with a walk. After a ground out moved each up 90 feet, Gelalich hit a dribbler to first for a run-scoring ground out and UCLA was on the board. The Bruins were given a lifeline when an error at first base kept their inning alive and a walk followed, loading the bases with two outs. Kramer couldn't make up for his two earlier errors, though, as the freshman's tough day continued with a ground out that left the bases loaded.
Berg came in to get all three outs in the sixth and the seventh started well for him too when he got the first two men out, but then he surrendered a towering solo home run to right and Maryland's lead was 4-1. A walk followed and Berg's day was done, but Jaffe couldn't help him out as he hit one and and walked one to load the bases before walking a run in.
UCLA put up a bit of a two-out threat in the eighth inning, but it wasn't enough. The game had to be called at 1 pm so Maryland could catch their flight home so the Bruins knew the eighth would be their last chance at bat and despite getting two on in the final frame, they couldn't bring anyone home and had to take the game and series loss.
The Bruins will now look to see if they can hit and catch the ball on Tuesday when they take on Cal St. Northridge at 2 pm out in the valley.