LONG BEACH, Calif.--This wasn't exactly the way the UCLA baseball team wanted to start it's longest week of the season.
The No. 19 Bruins lost to Long Beach State, 4-2, Tuesday night at Blair Field, starting off a five-game week on the wrong foot.
UCLA will face UC Santa Barbara in a rare Wednesday night game and then hosts Cal State Bakersfield for a three-game weekend series. It is the only week this season in which UCLA has five games.
"I think we can use tonight to our advantage," coach John Savage said. "Just to show you have to respect the game and it’s a humbling game and if you’re not ready to play, you’re going to get beat. That's what happened to us tonight."
The Bruins (27-17) came streaking into Long Beach, fresh off a three-game sweep of Oregon and winners of five in a row overall, but couldn't do much against five Long Beach State pitchers. UCLA had only five hits and trailed, 4-0, before scoring on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.
Cody Regis tripled to lead off the eighth and scored on a well-hit fly ball to center by Cody Keefer, but otherwise the Bruins were a bit lifeless on offense. Part of that was stellar defense by Long Beach State (24-22) and part was because UCLA has some stinging hits go right at defenders, but another part was UCLA seemingly looking past an opponent that had been swept by Arizona State last weekend.
"We came out kind of slow," Regis said. "We didn’t really have our minds right and we weren’t really focused to start off the game."
Freshman pitcher Zack Weiss, solid up until this point in the season, had his worst outing of the season as the 49ers tagged him for four runs on five hits in four innings. He also hit two batters, uncorked two wild pitches and issued a walk.
"He never established the strike zone," Savage said. "They kind of had their way with them really."
Savage said he hopes the loss will serve as a wake-up call for UCLA, which faces another middle-of-the-pack Big West team in UC Santa Barbara before taking on Bakersfield, which was swept last week by Loyola Marymount and has lost 11 of its last 13 games.
"Sometimes losses can be used to kick start you again," he said. "We feel this is a bump in the road and we have to use it in the right way."