After giving up another late lead on Friday night in Austin and falling 5-4 to the Texas Longhorns, the UCLA Bruin baseball team didn’t have a chance to blow a lead yesterday afternoon in game two, as Texas exploded for four runs in the first inning, putting UCLA in the hole, 4-0. The Bruins would only collect two hits on the day, falling 5-2, and losing the series.
It was the only game so far this season where the Bruins have not led at any point during the game. UT improves to 11-6, while UCLA falls to 6-7. Today, at 11 a.m. PT, the Bruins will attempt to avoid the series sweep.
Jake Bird missed his second Saturday start in a row, and obviously has incurred an injury that the team has not disclosed. In his place, UCLA started left handed freshman, Nick Sheidler. Before yesterday, Sheidler had done a great job for the Bruins, making six appearances and throwing 6.8 innings of scoreless relief.
But spot relief in the friendly confines of Jackie Robinson Stadium is a far cry from starting a game against the vaunted Longhorns in Austin. With one out in the first inning, five straight ‘Horns reached base, going single, double, double, walk, double, resulting in three runs scored. The fourth scored on a sac fly.
After loading the bases on walks in the rain-soaked third inning, UCLA could only scratch out a single run on a wild pitch. At that point, it was apparent that the light hitting Bruins had little chance of coming back. Ultimately, UCLA only collected two hits on the day.
To his credit, Moises Ceja did well in mop up relief, allowing only two hits and no runs in five innings of work. That was UCLA’s only bring spot.
UT Head Coach threw his typical Friday starter, Morgan Cooper, against the Bruins on Saturday, and Cooper notched his second win of the season, striking out ten Bruins, including five in the first two innings. Texas’ typical Saturday starter, Kyle Johnson, appears to have been moved to the bullpen, pitching the ninth inning of both UCLA games, and recording saves in both.
Who will Texas Head Coach David Pierce send to the mound today? Expect either junior right, Connor Mayes (2-1, 3.95 ERA), the usual Sunday starter, or Blair Henley (1-1, 2.93 ERA), who has started midweek games.
UCLA’s John Olson (0-0, 4.26 ERA) will take the mound for the Bruins. Olson looked great through five innings against Southern Cal last week (it was the sixth that did him in).
Look, through 13 games (close to ¼ of the season) this team is shaping up a lot like last year’s team. The defense appears to be better (only eight errors), the starting pitching is solid although, like last year, an injury to one of the top starters has forced Head Coach John Savage to shuffle his rotation.
The bullpen has been poor in late innings situations with the lead (only one save?!?) and the hitting has been even worse than last year, with UCLA batting a putrid .214. In its defense, UCLA started five (five!) true freshman yesterday, a challenge for any college baseball team.
Can UCLA Head Coach John Savage mold this young team into one that has a shot at making the postseason? He couldn’t do it with last year’s squad that was laden with upperclassmen. Can he do it in 2017 with a bunch of freshman?
Will UCLA avoid the sweep? Tune in and find out.
This is your UCLA Baseball vs. Texas open thread.