June 8, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Cody Regis' bases-clearing double highlighted a five-run sixth inning as the UCLA baseball team defeated TCU, 6-2, in Game 1 of the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional before 2,042 at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night.
Adam Plutko (11-3) earned the win, limiting TCU (40-21) to two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, as UCLA (46-14) registered its 15th win in 16 games. Plutko logged seven strikeouts and two walks.
The Bruins' victory in the best-of-three Super Regional puts UCLA one win away from clinching its fourth berth to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
"It's game one of a three-game series, and you can't take anything for granted," UCLA head coach John Savage said. "There was no celebration. It's one game. We have a lot of work to do. TCU is very good. They've been in this position before. Let's not forget they lost the first game of their regional and came back and won that."
Trevor Brown went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI, and Regis went 1-for-4 with one double and three RBI.
TCU got on the board in the second at-bat of the game, as Josh Elander launched a solo home run to left field. The Bruins tied the contest, 1-1, in the bottom of the second. TCU's Kyle Von Tungeln drilled a solo home run to right field in the top of the third to put the Horned Frogs ahead, 2-1.
TCU starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan (4-5) absorbed the loss, allowing three runs and three hits in five-plus innings.
Finnegan retired 10 consecutive hitters from the second through fifth innings. He walked Tyler Heineman on four pitches and plunked Cody Keefer on the first pitch of his at-bat to open the Bruins' sixth inning. After Jeff Gelalich was hit by a pitch, Trevor Brown singled up the middle off reliever Justin Scharf to score Heineman. Pat Valaika followed with a run-scoring groundout, before pinch-hitter Brenton Allen drew an intentional walk, loading the bases.
Regis delivered with a three-run, one-out double to the gap in left-center field, extending UCLA's advantage to 6-2.
"I talked to coach [Rex] Peters before that at-bat, and he basically said he likes to work away down in the count and to look for something out over the plate," Regis said. "I got it with two strikes and put a good swing on it."
Plutko recorded three consecutive outs on six pitches in the seventh inning and allowed an infield single to the leadoff hitter in the eighth inning before right-hander David Berg entered for the Bruins. Berg helped UCLA close the game, recording four strikeouts in two hitless innings of relief.
"Adam got stronger as the game went on," Savage said. "That's what he's done most of his career. Started off giving up two solo home runs. Most of the time, that's not going to beat you. He hung in there and gave the ball to Berg in the eighth, and Berg did a nice job."
UCLA and TCU return to action at the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional on Saturday evening. Game time at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m. (PT).
Single-game tickets for Saturday's contest are still available online, through UCLA's Central Ticket Office (link here). Single-game tickets cost $20 for adults and $16 for youth (ages 3-16) and students.
Game Notes: David Berg pitched in his conference-leading 46th game, a total that is tied for fourth place on the NCAA's all-time single-season appearances record list ... Berg has pitched in 20 of the Bruins' last 21 games ... UCLA's 46 wins this season rank second in school history to the Bruins' 51 wins from 2010 (the 1997 ballclub finished with 45 wins) ... Cody Regis pushed his career postseason RBI total to 19, one shy of Eric Valent's school record of 20 postseason RBI ... UCLA has outscored its opposition by a 29-8 margin in four NCAA postseason games ... Beau Amaral and Cody Regis have played in 20 postseason games, tied for the school record (Jeff Gelalich and former UCLA ballplayer Blair Dunlap have each played in 19 postseason games).