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UCLA Baseball Looks to End Offensive Woes Against CSUN

The Bruins host CSUN in the back-end of a Tuesday home-and-home series tonight after losing to Southern Cal 4-3 in 10 innings on Sunday.

Bruin SS Nick Valaika makes a throw to first.
Joe Piechowski

The Bruin baseball team has lost three of their last four games dating back to last Tuesday when they visited Cal State Northridge. Tonight, they have the chance to get back on the right track before their Texas roadtrip this weekends when they host CSUN at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Over the past week, it seems like the Bruins just haven’t managed to muster enough offense. During that time, they’ve been outscored 13-9. Their last two games went into extra innings including Sunday’s game against Southern Cal at the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic where they lost 4-3 in 10 innings.

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the second when freshman second baseman Chase Strumpf homered to left. Strumpf came through again in the third when he drove in Daniel Amaral on a error by Southern Cal second basemen Brandon Perez. And, the Bruins scored again in the fourth when DH Kyle Cueller drove in Brett Stephens on a sacrifice fly.

After that, the Bruin bats went dead again as UCLA was only able to get one hit the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, it allowed Southern Cal to rally. In the top of the sixth inning, Trojan first baseman Lance Nootbaar tripled to right to drive in two runs and he later scored to tie the game at 3-3.

In the top of the 10th, John Thomas pinch hit for DH Stephen Dubb and Thomas reach first on an error. Nootbaar came to the plate with two outs and he doubled to right to break the tie and give Southern Cal a 4-3 lead, which ended up being the final score.

So far, this season, the Bruins are getting killed by the late inning heroics of their opponents. One could argue that they need stronger efforts from their bullpen and you wouldn’t be wrong, but, at the same time, UCLA needs to start hitting the ball better.

John Savage can’t expect to win games when his team cannot get guys on base in the late innings. In UCLA’s last three losses, they’ve had only four hits after the 5th inning. Meanwhile, they had three hits after the 5th against Michigan. That’s the only game they’ve won in the past week and it took a walk-off fielder’s choice to do it after Strumpf had doubled.

So, the Bruins look to wake up their bats tonight at home against the Matadors when sophomore lefty Justin Hooper (0-0, 4.09 ERA) takes the mound for UCLA against Ray Diaz (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who is making his season debut for CSUN.

Tonight’s game won’t be televised, but you can listen to it live with John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm. You can also follow along with the live UCLA Stat Broadcast. First pitch is at 6pm PT.

This is your UCLA Bruin Baseball vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors open thread.

Go Bruins!