June 7, 2013
Fullerton, Calif. - Led by a career-high four hits from sophomore Eric Filia, including the game-winning single in the top of the 10th, the UCLA Baseball team earned a dramatic 5-3 victory over Cal State Fullerton in game one of the NCAA Super Regionals.
Sophomore David Berg earned his seventh win of the season to remain undefeated on the year, going three innings in relief and allowing just one run while striking out four. Sophomore J.D. Davis took the loss for the Titans after giving up two runs on three hits in two innings of relief. Junior Adam Plutko was also terrific on the mound for the Bruins, pitching seven strong innings and allowing just one run (unearned).
UCLA grabbed the lead first in the top of the third, starting when sophomore Shane Zeile led off the frame with a double off Titan starter Justin Garza. After a sacrifice bunt by Cody Regis moved him over to third, junior Brenton Allen put the Bruins ahead with a grounder to first that got through Carlos Lopez and allowed Zeile to score.
The Bruins then added to their lead in the top of the fourth as Filia led off the inning with an infield single. After another sacrifice moved him to second, junior Pat Gallagher stepped in and continued his hot hitting, lacing a single to left to score Filia and make it 2-0 Bruins.
Cal State Fullerton got one back in the bottom half of the inning though, beginning when Matt Chapman led off with a walk. Chapman then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt at first by Zeile, and two batters later came home to score on a RBI single by Anthony Hutting, cutting UCLA's lead to one.
UCLA threatened in the top of the sixth, as Filia singled again with one out. Then with junior Pat Valaika at the plate, the Bruins caught a break as Jake Jefferies dropped the ball on what looked to be a 5-4-3 double play, allowing Valaika to reach and Filia to go to the third. However, Garza got junior Kevin Williams to foul out to first and Gallagher to fly out to right to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Titans went searching for the tying run, and with one out got a double to left-center from Chad Wallach. Head coach John Savage went out to the mound, but left Plutko in and was rewarded, as the junior right-hander got a foul out to third and a fly out to left to keep the Bruins ahead.
The Bruins then added an insurance run in the top of the eighth, as once again they got the leadoff man on with a bunt single from junior Brian Carroll. After a sacrifice moved him to second, Filia singled to center to move him to third. Valaika came to plate next and smacked a hard grounder to short. Titan shortstop Richy Pedroza got the man at second, but that would be all and Carroll came in to score to give UCLA a 3-1 lead.
Cal State Fullerton would find the tying runs in the bottom of the eighth, beginning when freshman James Kaprielian walked Pedroza to start the inning. Berg then came in and walked Lopez to put runners on first and second with nobody out. A sacrifice moved the runners up, and then with one out Pedroza came in to score on a RBI groundout by J.D. Davis. With a runner on third and two outs, Michael Lorenzen stepped in and hit a high chopper to third. The ball went over sophomore Kevin Kramer's head, allowing Lopez to come in and Lorenzen reach to tie the game at 3-3.
After a scoreless ninth inning, UCLA went ahead with two runs in the top of the 10th. After back-to-back singles by Carroll and Kramer with one out, Filia stepped in and hit a single through the right side, scoring Carroll and giving the Bruins the lead. Valaika then hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Kramer, making it 5-3 UCLA.
The Titans would not go quietly though, and in the bottom half threatened again by putting runners at first and second with one out against Berg. However, Berg struck out Davis looking and got Lorenzen swinging to end the ballgame and give UCLA a 5-3 victory.
Overall, Filia led the Bruins with a 4-5 day that included a RBI and a run. Valaika followed that up with two RBI himself while Carroll scored two runs and recorded two hits and a stolen base.
UCLA (43-17) and Cal State Fullerton (51-9) will continue their Super Regional series tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif. The game will again be televised live by ESPN2.
Game Notes: The Bruins are now just one win away from reaching their third College World Series in four years...John Savage tied Gary Adams for the most wins in UCLA postseason history (26)...Savage also improved his record in the Super Regional round to 5-3...the Bruins as a team improved to 3-3 against Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Super Regional round...Adam Plutko has now started the most games in UCLA postseason history (6) and lowered his postseason ERA to 0.81...in four postseason games this season, Eric Filia is hitting .588 with 10 hits, five runs and three RBI...Brian Carroll's 30 stolen bases are now tied for seventh on UCLA's single-season stolen bases list...UCLA improved to 28-6 when it scores first and 33-1 when holding its opponent to three runs or fewer...the Bruins are also now 6-1 in extra-inning games this season.