UCLA Pitching Shuts Down Mississippi State Hitters in Game 1
UCLA's Adam Plutko was in control from the start Monday night as the UCLA Bruins took a 1-0 lead over Mississippi State in the best-of-three College World Series final.
The right-handed junior was ice cold in front of a pro-Mississippi State crowd the likes of which the College World Series hasn't seen since Nebraska qualified for the CWS in 2005. Plutko pitched six innings, allowing only one run en route to a 3-1 Bruins win.
Plutko got some early run support when Pat Valaika knocked in Kevin Kramer in the first inning. UCLA scored again in the top of the fourth when Eric Filia knocked in two runs before getting caught in a rundown between first and second base.
Mississippi State broke through in the bottom of the fourth when it loaded the bases and Plutko walked a run in.
After that hiccup, it was back to business for Plutko and the Bruins, riding their stingy defense and small ball style to another low-scoring win that has become a staple of the 2013 College World Series.
The game was all but over after the fourth, with the only tension coming in the bottom of the ninth when Mississippi State managed to get two runners on base. UCLA reliever David Berg was able to shut down that last-ditch effort from the Bulldogs to preserve the save.
UCLA coach John Savage acknowledged Plutko's effort while also keeping the focus on the task at hand: "Hard-fought game, tight game, lot of situations that could have gone either way. We pitched out of some problems. I thought Adam was fairly sharp. He competed. I thought he was sharp early, ran into trouble in the fourth inning. I thought that was a good one. That could have been more. Mississippi State is dangerous, and I think they proved that to us tonight. One game, I told the team that there's not much to get excited about."
Game 2 of the College World Series final will take place tonight at 8 pm EDT at TD Ameritrade Park, where UCLA can secure its first-ever baseball national championship with a win.
J.P. Scott is a Senior Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand via the postgame press conference.
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