March 2, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Adam Plutko recorded nine strikeouts in six innings to pick up the victory and lead the No. 17 UCLA baseball team past Sacramento State, 5-2, in a non-conference game at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night.
Plutko (1-1) limited Sacramento State (4-5) to two runs (one earned) and two hits in six innings and walked four batters. Four UCLA relief pitchers combined for three hitless innings, logging three strikeouts and three walks.
UCLA (6-3) won its fourth straight game and limited the opposition to two hits for the second straight contest. The Bruins surrendered two hits in their 9-1 win over Long Beach State last Tuesday evening.
Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer each went 2-for-4 with one run for UCLA, and Jeff Gelalich went 2-for-3 with one double and one RBI. That trio of juniors has hit safely in each of the Bruins' nine games this season.
Hunter Greenwood (1-2) absorbed the loss for the visiting Hornets, allowing four runs (three earned) and seven hits in six innings. Greenwood recorded one strikeouts and walked two batters.
Scott Griggs pitched a scoreless ninth inning for UCLA, notching his third save of the season.
With the game tied, 2-2, UCLA scored twice in the sixth inning and added one run in the seventh. Pat Valaika provided the game winning hit in the sixth, lining a one-out single through the left side of the infield with runners at first and second base. Trevor Brown scored on Valaika's hit, before an infield single by Kevin Williams plated Cody Regis from third.
UCLA got on the board first, scoring once in the first inning and again in the third. A two-out RBI double to right field by Gelalich in the bottom of the first sent home Heineman from second base.
The Bruins led, 2-0, after Beau Amaral advanced home on a two-out passed ball in the third inning.
Sacramento State tied the game, 2-2, with a pair of runs in the fifth. After drawing consecutive walks to open the inning, the Hornets scored on a throwing error by Plutko on a sacrifice bunt, allowing Kyle Moses to score from second base. Derrick Chung grounded into a double play, allowing Justin Higley to score from third.
Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4, collecting the Hornets' only hits.
UCLA returns to action against Sacramento State on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game time is 2 p.m. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 16 and under).
Game Notes: Jeff Gelalich, Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer have hit safely in all nine games ... Gelalich lifted his batting average to a team-leading .441 mark (15-for-34) ... Adam Plutko has registered 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 16.1 innings in three starts this season ... Gelalich and Keefer each recorded their team-leading sixth multi-hit games ... Ryan Deeter made his eight relief appearance on the mound in nine games ... David Berg recorded three outs in the seventh inning on just eight pitches ... UCLA's pitching staff totaled 12 strikeouts.