June 1, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Adam Plutko pitched a two-hit complete game as No. 1-seed UCLA defeated Creighton, 3-0, in both teams' opening game of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional before 1,570 at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night.
Plutko (10-3) earned his team-leading 10th victory and hurled his third career complete game, striking out seven and walking three batters as UCLA (43-14) advanced in the winner's bracket.
Winners in 12 of their last 13 games, the host Bruins scored one run in the first inning and added two more in the second to secure a 3-0 lead against Creighton (26-29).
Beau Amaral led the Bruins at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one RBI, as UCLA recorded its first postseason shutout since blanking Yale, 8-0, on May 23, 1992, in the NCAA Mideast Regional at Mississippi State.
Bluejays' starting pitcher Ty Blach (6-6) absorbed the loss, allowing three runs and seven hits in eight innings. The junior left-hander struck out six batters and had no walks in the complete-game effort.
UCLA will face New Mexico (37-22) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in a winner's bracket contest.
"Both pitchers were as good as advertised," UCLA head coach John Savage said. "Adam Plutko had his best outing of the year and we needed it. He did it as well as you could. Both guys were really sharp."
Plutko faced four batters over the minimum and did not allow any baserunners until Brad McKewon led off the fourth inning with a single up the middle. Two Creighton hitters reached base over the game's first six innings.
UCLA jumped ahead early, scoring all three runs with two outs. Cody Keefer reached base with a two-out single in the first inning and scored as Jeff Gelalich followed with a double to the gap in left-center field.
In the bottom of the second, Cody Regis bounced a two-out single up the middle before scoring on Kevin Kramer's ensuing double to the gap in left-center field. Amaral continued the inning with a double to right-center field, allowing Kramer to cross the plate and give UCLA a 3-0 cushion.
The Bruins are playing in the postseason for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Friday night's victory pushed UCLA's record in NCAA Regional-opening games to 5-1 during that seven-year span.
San Diego (40-16) will face Creighton in an elimination game at 3 p.m. on Saturday. San Diego will serve as the designated visiting team and Creighton as the designated home team.
UCLA will serve as the designated visting team in the nightcap against New Mexico.
Game Notes: UCLA has won 15 of its last 17 ballgames ... Adam Plutko has allowed three hits in 16.2 scoreless innings through his two postseason starts - he allowed one hit in 7.2 scoreless frames in a start against San Francisco in the 2011 NCAA Los Angeles Regional ... Beau Amaral established UCLA's all-time postseason hits record (25), moving past Nick Theodorou (23) on the Bruins' list ... Amaral also recorded his school record-leading seventh career postseason double ... UCLA has recorded six shutouts this season and improved its record to 18-3 when scoring in the first inning.