March 8, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The 12th-ranked UCLA Baseball team extended their winning streak to seven games in dramatic fashion on Friday night, getting a two-out walk-off single from Eric Filia to defeat 22nd-ranked Notre Dame, 2-1, in 10 innings.
Junior right-hander Adam Plutko was masterful on the mound, pitching seven strong innings and allowing just one earned run on four hits. Junior Zack Weiss pitched a scoreless eighth inning before sophomore David Berg picked up his second win of the year with scoreless ninth and 10th innings. Nick McCarty took the loss for the Fighting Irish to fall to 2-2 on the year.
For the second straight game, the Bruins got on the board in the bottom of the first, when Pat Valaika ripped a double to right-center, scoring Kevin Kramer and giving UCLA the early 1-0 lead. Plutko kept the Fighting Irish at bay in the early going, setting down 12 hitters of the first 13 hitters through the first four frames. In the bottom of the fourth, the Bruins threatened to add to the lead when they put a runner on second with two outs to bring Chris Keck to the plate. Keck hit a looping fly ball to the left field alley that looked to get down for a hit, but Notre Dame left fielder Mac Hudgins made a terrific diving catch to rob Keck.
The Fighting Irish found the tying run in the top of the fifth inning, when Forrest Johnson singled home Charlie Markson with two outs to make the game even at 1-1. Plutko found himself in a jam again in the sixth inning, as Notre Dame put runners at first and second with one out. But he was able to work himself out of it, inducing a groundout to first and a fly out to center to keep the game deadlocked at 1-1.
Both pitching staffs kept the other side's offense from getting anything going until the bottom of the 10th, when Kramer led off the inning with a single up the middle. After Valaika sacrificed Kramer over to second, Pat Gallagher struck out swinging to bring up Filia. On the first pitch, Filia smacked a grounder through the left side of the infield. Notre Dame shortstop Lane Richards dove to prevent the ball from going through, but the ball bounced off his glove and into left field, bringing in Kramer for the winning run.
Valaika led the Bruins at the plate, going 2-4 with a RBI to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 12 games. Kramer followed that up by going 1-4 with a RBI, scoring both of UCLA's runs and also extending his streak of reaching base safely to 12 games. Plutko, Weiss and Berg combined to go 10 innings, giving up just six hits, two walks and striking out 10 batters.
UCLA (10-2) will now take on No. 17 Oklahoma (11-3) tomorrow at 2 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Nick Vander Tuig (2-1, 1.86) will take the mound for the Bruins.
Game Notes: Adam Plutko now has a 1.42 ERA in his last 11 starts...Plutko threw a total of 93 pitches in his seven innings of work, 60 of which were strikes...UCLA has now scored at least one run in the first inning in six of their 12 games...Tonight's walk-off win was the first walk-off victory for the Bruins since May 26, 2012, when they defeated USC, 6-5, on a Cody Regis walk-off walk...this is the first time since the 2011 season that the Bruins have played multiple extra inning games...with Eric Filia's hit by pitch in the eighth inning, UCLA extended their streak of consecutive games with a hit batter to 13...David Berg has now struck out 19 batters in just 13 innings pitched this year, all coming in relief.