From then on, some less-than-marquee members of one of the best pitching staffs in the nation relegated the Anteaters' hitters to nothing more than spare change in a 6-1 Bruins victory.
After an infield error allowed UCI leadoff man D.J. Crumlich to reach in the first inning, he went to second on a hit-and-run single by senior Sean Madigan.
Crumlich then scored when senior Brian Hernandez hit into a double play.
A Drew Hillman hit and a walk extended the inning but freshman starter Zack Weiss wriggled out of the jam, then proceeded to take command.
Weiss, a product of Irvine's Northwood High, faced only one more than the minimum the next six innings on his way to his fourth victory in five decisions.
He allowed three hits, struck out four and walked one.
"He's a talented freshman who has had some good starts, but that was his best start of the year," UCLA Coach John Savage, the head man at UCI from 2002-04, said of the right-hander.
Weiss, who had help from two relievers to finish off the seventh game this season in which UCI has scored one or fewer runs (all losses), lowered his earned-run average from 2.78 to 2.29.
The staff ERA for No. 24-ranked UCLA (22-14) is now 2.85 and Bruins hurlers have now struck out 364 in 325 innings.
UCI (26-11), which lost for the first time in seven Tuesday games, finished with four hits, all singles. And Crumlich was the lone visitor to get past second base.
Madigan paced the UCI offense, going two for four.
"We're capable offensively, but we are really a hit-and-run team," UCI Coach Mike Gillespie said. "We got so far behind and we had so few base runners, we didn't get a chance to do much. We were out of the game in about 10 minutes."
But while UCI hitters were struggling to find chances to shine, Anteaters pitchers were providing those opportunities for the hosts.
UCLA's two-run first inning began with a leadoff walk by starter Andy Lines.
And, a three-run rally in the UCLA second inning was sparked when Andrew Thurman hit a batter with one out.
"The primary concern in our losses has been giving up extra outs and opportunities," said Gillespie, whose team is ranked No. 17 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn. "It has been some errors, though by and large we've played pretty good defense. But it has been walks and hit batters and a wild pitch or a passed ball, then all of a sudden [opponents] are putting an inning together. That was it tonight in every scoring inning."
The score was finalized after three innings, before freshmen Kyle Hooper and Phil Ferragamo, as well as junior Nick Hoover, combined to blank the Bruins on two hits over the final five innings.
Ferragamo struck out three, allowed one hit and walked one in two innings.
Cody Regis was two for three with three runs batted in for the winners, for whom Dean Espy was two for four with two RBIs.
UCI visits Cal State Bakersfield for a three-game nonconference series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.
UCLA 6, UC Irvine 1
SCORE BY INNINGS
UCI 100 000 000 – 1 4 0
UCLA 231 000 00x – 6 9 1
Lines, Thurman (2), Hooper (4), Ferragamo (6), Hoover (8) and Shaeffer; Weiss, Beacom (8), Vander Tuig (9) and Rodriguez. W – Weiss, 4-1. L – Lines, 3-2. 2B – Regis (UCLA).