June 16, 2013
Omaha, Neb. - UCLA took advantage of two LSU errors and rallied to beat the No. 4 national-seed, 2-1, in the teams' first game of the College World Series. UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko remained undefeated in postseason play in his career, picking up the victory after throwing seven innings and allowing just one run on four hits. The Bruins tagged LSU ace Aaron Nola with his first loss of the season, although both runs were unearned.
Sophomore David Berg earned his 22nd save of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Both pitchers did a good job of limiting base runners in the early going, with each pitcher allowing just two through the first three innings. The Bruins threatened in the top of the fourth, as sophomore Kevin Kramer led off the inning with a single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Eric Filia, but was left stranded as Pat Valaika grounded out to short and Kevin Williams struck out to end the inning.
LSU would grab the lead in the bottom half of the inning, as Mason Katz took a Plutko fastball over the fence in left for a solo home run, giving the Tigers a 1-0 advantage.
UCLA got something going in the top of the sixth though, beginning when junior Brian Carroll led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by LSU catcher Ty Ross. A groundout by Kramer moved Carroll to third, bringing Filia to the plate. On the first pitch, Filia hit a fly ball to left that was plenty deep enough to score Carroll, tying things up at 1-1.
Another LSU miscue led to the winning run for UCLA in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Ty Moore got the inning started with a leadoff single before being replaced on the bases by freshman Christoph Bono. A Carroll sacrifice bunt moved Bono into scoring position, and the tie was broken with two outs when Filia reached base on an error by LSU shortstop Alex Bregman.
Bruin relievers James Kaprielian and Berg took over from there. Kaprielian mowed down the LSU lineup in order in the eighth, and Berg battled to close it out in the ninth, getting a pop fly to right field with two men on base to earn the save.
"It was quite a game," said UCLA head coach John Savage. "You're talking about Nola and Plutko really pitching as advertised. I'm very proud of Adam and proud of our team. That was a grind. You're talking about a crowd that was certainly in the favor of LSU. We anticipated that, and at the end of the day, it was our type of game. Fortunately, we came out. It's game one of the World Series, so there's no celebration, but in the end it could have gone either way. We're a resilient bunch. We played a lot of tight games all season long. Tonight was somewhat of a typical game for us, and we came out on top. I'm proud of our team this evening."
UCLA (45-17) moves into the winner's bracket and will take on North Carolina State (50-14) on Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT. LSU (57-10) will face No. 1 national-seed North Carolina (57-11) on Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT/12 p.m. PT in an elimination game.
Game Notes: John Savage extended his school record with his 28th postseason win as UCLA head coach...Savage also improved his record to 5-5 at the College World Series...UCLA is now 6-0 in postseason this year and has allowed just 11 runs in its six games...UCLA's 45 wins are now tied for the third most in program history...Adam Plutko is now 6-0 in seven career postseason starts, posting a 0.87 ERA...Plutko pitched seven innings for the fourth consecutive start...Plutko also moved into sole possession of second place on UCLA's all-time career wins list, logging career win No. 28...his 51 career starts also rank second on UCLA's all-time list...David Berg extended his school-record with his 22nd save of the season...Berg also lowered his career postseason ERA to 0.81 with his scoreless ninth, making it the lowest postseason ERA in UCLA history...Eric Filia is batting .522 in six postseason games this year while slugging .565 and posting an on-base percentage of .520...Pat Gallagher extended his career-long hitting streak to seven games tonight and is hitting .450 in the postseason...UCLA is now 16-2 in one-run games and 35-1 when holding opponents to three runs or fewer.