June 15, 2012
Winning pitcher Adam Plutko.
|W - Adam Plutko (W,12-3)||7.0||5||1||1||7||2|
|L - Johnson (12-2)||2.1||5||7||7||4||1|
|UCLA - Gelalich||4||1||1||2||0||0|
|UCLA - Kramer||2||2||2||1||2||0|
|SB - Cantwell||4||1||1||1||0||0|
OMAHA, Neb. - Led by a five-run first inning, the UCLA baseball team won its opening game of the College World Series, 9-1, over Stony Brook at TD Ameritrade Park late Friday afternoon.
Adam Plutko (12-3) pitched seven strong innings for the Bruins, who won their 10th consecutive game. Kevin Kramer went 2-for-2 with two runs, two walks and one RBI. Jeff Gelalich, Pat Valaika and Kevin Williams each went 1-for-4 with two RBI for UCLA (48-14).
Plutko limited Stony Brook (52-14) to just five hits over seven innings, striking out seven and issuing two walks, as the Bruins secured their 20th win in their last 22 ballgames.
UCLA's win vaulted the Bruins into a winner's bracket matchup against Arizona (44-17) on Sunday at 6 p.m. (PT). UCLA and Arizona finished the regular season as Pac-12 co-champions.
Stony Brook right-hander Tyler Johnson (12-2) took the loss as the Seawolves' starting pitcher, allowing seven runs off five hits and four walks in 2.1 innings.
The Bruins jumped on the Seawolves early with a big five-run first inning led by a two-run single from Gelalich. Trevor Brown followed with an RBI single on the next at-bat and Valaika knocked in the fourth run of the inning with a safety squeeze that plated Cody Keefer. Two outs later, Kevin Kramer hit a ball down the third-base line that hit the base and skipped away from Stony Brook's third baseman, scoring Brown to give UCLA a 5-0 lead.
"The game could not have started any better for us," head coach John Savage said. "We were fortunate. We had some plate discipline, had some quality at bats, and we were fortunate we got some runs."
Stony Brook scored its only run in the third inning on Pat Cantwell's solo home run down the left field line.
The Bruins responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs. Cody Regis started off by getting hit by a pitch before Kevin Kramer walked on four pitches, chasing Johnson from the game. UCLA's Kevin Williams hit a two-run double to center field off of Stony Brook reliever Jasvir Rakkar to put the Bruins ahead, 7-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, Stony Brook put runners on second and third with nobody out. But Plutko induced a huge double play, getting center fielder Travis Jankowski to ground out to Trevor Brown at first base, who promptly touched the bag and threw home to Tyler Heineman to cut down the runner at home. Plutko induced a foul pop up to end the inning.
"I thought Adam [Plutko] was himself throughout the game," Savage said. "He pitched out of some problems with second and third. We had first, second, and third and another situation he pitched out of."
UCLA tacked on another run in the bottom half of the fifth when Beau Amaral singled home Kramer to make it 8-1 Bruins. The Bruins scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning after Valaika notched his second RBI of the game with a groundball single to left that scored Keefer.
Freshman David Berg, making his 48th appearance of the season, took over for Plutko in the eighth inning and recorded the final six outs of the game to seal the victory for UCLA.
"It's the first game of our bracket, so there is nothing to celebrate," Savage said."Nothing to get too overly excited about other than we know that we're playing the night game on Sunday. I'm proud of our guys."
UCLA will send sophomore right-hander Nick Vander Tuig to the mound against Arizona on Sunday evening. Earlier this season, the Bruins won two of three games against Arizona at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Ariz.
Stony Brook will face Florida State in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. (PT).
Game Notes: The Bruins improved their nation-leading road/neutral site record to 21-4 (19-4 on the road, 2-0 at neutral sites) ... UCLA head coach John Savage improved to 4-3 as head coach for the Bruins in College World Series games ... David Berg moved into sole possession of third place on the NCAA Division I all-time single-season appearances list (48) ... Berg has pitched in 23 of UCLA's last 24 games ... the Bruins have outscored their opposition by a 42-10 margin in six NCAA postseason games this month ... UCLA has allowed four runs through its last three games, each run coming via the solo home run ... Jeff Gelalich has logged a team-leading 86 hits, the highest single-season total at UCLA since 2001 (Brian Baron, 105) ... Beau Amaral's team-best 63 runs marks UCLA's highest total since 2000 (Chase Utley, 81) ... through UCLA's last 10 games, David Berg has made nine appearances, totaling 14.1 scoreless innings (six hits, three walks, 18 strikeouts).