Baseball seeks redemption for recent losses in Long Beach State rematch

Sophomore second baseman Chase Strumpf is in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak in which he is batting .551. Strumpf also leads the Bruins with 10 home runs this season. (Isabelle Roy/Daily Bruin senior staff)

The Bruins went 16-3 in the month of April.

One of those losses came from the 49ers.

No. 11 UCLA baseball (30-13, 14-7 Pac-12) will have a chance to avenge its April 10 loss to unranked Long Beach State (21-26) on Tuesday night. UCLA saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end following a three-game sweep at the hands of Arizona over the weekend.

“You kind of get used to having that winning feeling,” said freshman pitcher Zach Pettway. “It is tougher when you do get that loss.”

UCLA scored 6 runs or more in eight-straight games leading up to the Arizona series, but averaged less than 2 runs per game during the weekend. When the Bruins met up with the 49ers a month ago, they only scored 2 runs.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Jack Ralston got the start for UCLA in that game, but he couldn’t make it out of the second inning. The righty allowed three earned runs and the Bruins fell 5-2. Ralston has started three of the last four Tuesday games for the Bruins.

Sophomore second baseman Chase Strumpf was the lone bright spot for the UCLA offense that night, driving in both of his team’s runs on a two-run homer in the third. Strumpf, who leads the team with 10 home runs, hit another one out Saturday in the series finale against Arizona.

Strumpf is in the middle of a 13-game hitting streak, hitting .551 over that stretch, but he said he was more focused on getting his team back on track.

“Next week’s a new week,” Strumpf said. “Hopefully we can take this weekend, throw in some fire and bring it into the next week.”

Coach John Savage also said the Bruins are far more prepared this time than they were when they previously faced off against the 49ers.

“We’ve been a hot team up until Thursday – we’d been playing as good as anybody in the country,” Savage said. “We’re a different team, we get to learn from this weekend. … It’s baseball, it happens, and you move on.”

UCLA was 4-4 in their last eight games heading into its earlier matchup with Long Beach State, and the Bruins are 5-3 in their last eight games this time around. However, Strumpf said he and his teammates are looking forward to getting a chance to fight back against the 49ers.

“We play Long Beach a lot. … We can definitely learn a lot from that game,” Strumpf said. “We can use our experience as an advantage and try to get the win.”

The Bruins’ pitching staff will continue to play shorthanded, as both redshirt sophomore right-hander Kyle Molnar and junior right-hander Jon Olsen will undergo season-ending elbow procedures this week.

UCLA and Long Beach State will get back at it Tuesday night, with first pitch at 6 p.m.

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