CHAVEZ RAVINE—Less than two years removed from a national championship, sixth-ranked UCLA came into this weekend’s Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic looking to assert themselves as contenders on a national stage.
Three games and three days later, the Bruins secured a free-fall in their national ranking thanks to three disheartening losses to three contending teams.
The first loss came in an error-filled matchup with top-ranked Vanderbilt, as UCLA was shut out in their opening loss to the Commodores.
The Bruins didn’t struggle to get runners on base for much of the weekend, loading the bases on several occasions only to see those opportunities squandered with untimely hitting.
UCLA scored just five times in Chavez Ravine and continually suffered from poor base-running, failing to connect in crucial hit-and-run situations.
A 3-1 loss to seventh-ranked TCU proceeded the tournament’s most difficult setback, an 8-4 loss to crosstown rival USC, who managed to wedge themselves firmly into the national conversation with a perfect 3-0 record on the weekend.
The Trojans enjoyed dramatic, walk-off finishes against both Vandy and TCU before taking care of business against their hated rivals, outscoring UCLA 4-1 in the final four innings to ensure a victory that has launched the Trojans all the way from 25th to 6th in the NCAA’s Collegiate Baseball Rankings.
The Bruins, for their part, have fallen from 6th to 13th, and will look to recover from this weekend’s disappointment in Tuesday’s match-up with Pepperdine in Malibu.