UCLA: Adam Plutko

Jenn Brown talks to Adam Plutko about his pitching performance in UCLA's win over Stony Brook in the College World Series.

Rapid Reaction: UCLA 9, Stony Brook 1

June, 15, 2012
6/15/12
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Tyler HeinemanMatt Ryerson/US PresswireUCLA's Tyler Heineman, left, and teammate Beau Amaral celebrate one of the team's five first-inning runs.

UCLA opened the College World Series with a 9-1 victory over Stony Brook on Friday in Omaha, Neb. Here's a quick look at the game:

OVERVIEW: The College World Series opener couldn't have gotten off to a better start for UCLA (48-14), which struck for five runs in the first inning against Stony Brook ace Tyler Johnson (12-2). UCLA would tag Johnson for two more in the third and chase him after 2 1/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season. The five runs in the first equaled the most Johnson had given up in a game this season.

UCLA used the same formula it has used all season in putting away the Seawolves (52-14). The Bruins got their nine runs with only two extra-base hits. They generated most of their offense with singles, walks, hit batters and sacrifices. A two-run double to center field by Kevin Williams in the third was the only "big" hit for the Bruins, who had seven players score their nine runs.

Adam Plutko (12-3) pitched seven solid innings, Jeff Gelalich and Williams each drove in two runs, and reliever David Berg pitched two hitless innings to close out the game.

TURNING POINT: In the top of the second, after UCLA had taken a 5-0 lead, Stony Brook made a push to get back in the game by loading the bases with one out. Plutko pitched out of the jam by getting a strikeout and a popout, and deflated the Seawolves.

Stony Brook had another threat going in the fifth with runners at second and third with nobody out, but again failed to score thanks to an unusual double play in which first baseman Trevor Brown fielded a grounder, stepped on first and then fired home to get Kevin Courtney attempting to score on the play.

But really the turning point came in the bottom of the first when Beau Amaral led off with a single, Tyler Heineman beat out a chopper to shortstop for an infield single and Cody Keefer walked to load the bases. Gelalich followed with a two-run single for all the runs UCLA pitchers would need.

UCLA STAR OF THE GAME: Plutko continued his postseason dominance by giving up only one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. He improved to 3-0 this postseason and 4-0 for his postseason career, tying Trevor Bauer for most postseason wins in UCLA history.

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Daily dose of Berg provides relief for UCLA

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
5:25
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David BergJayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireDavid Berg has more pitching appearances in one season than any other Bruin in any season before him. Last year at this time Berg had no scholarship offers.

LOS ANGELES -- A year ago at this time, David Berg had no idea if or when he would ever appear in a Division I college baseball game. Now he's in line to appear in more of them than any pitcher ever has in one season.

Berg, a freshman walk-on, has pitched in 47 games for the Bruins this season -- tied for the second most appearances by a pitcher in Division I history and four behind the all-time record set by Connor Falkenbach of Florida in 2005.

Just as the Minnesota Twins had "Everyday Eddie" with Eddie Guardado, the Bruins have Daily Dave. He has become a valuable cog in a bullpen that has played a significant role in getting UCLA to the College World Series for the second time in three seasons. UCLA (47-14) opens play against Stony Brook on Friday at 2 p.m. PT in Omaha.

And if recent history is any indication, it's almost a sure bet Berg will pitch in that game. The submarining right-hander has appeared in 21 of UCLA's last 22 games -- sitting out only Adam Plutko's two-hitter in the regional opener.

During that stretch, he has pitched 31 innings with a 1.45 ERA and given up only 21 hits and three walks while striking out 34. Named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Berg has been even better in the postseason having given up no runs and four hits with 10 strikeouts and a walk in eight innings.

For the season, opponents are batting .172 against him -- a figure that leads all qualifying Pac-12 pitchers by 41 points -- and his 1.58 ERA leads the conference by nearly half a run.

"He's been a savior," coach John Savage said. "It’s really a credit to him and his character and his ability. He has no fear. He’ll go up against anybody anywhere and I can’t say enough about him. We would not be in the position we are without David Berg."

A year ago, it was unfathomable that the coach of a major Division I program would say those words about Berg. During his senior year at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Berg received a grand total of zero scholarship offers. A couple of Division III schools had expressed interest, but offered no guarantees of making the team.

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UCLA headed back to College World Series

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
11:21
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LOS ANGELES -- Reservations for 27 in Omaha, please.

Put it under the name Bruins.

UCLA clinched a spot in the College World Series by defeating Texas Christian, 4-1, Saturday night to complete a sweep in the best-of-three Super Regional.

The Bruins (47-14) are headed to the biggest stage in college baseball for the second time in three seasons thanks to an opportunistic, selfless approach on offense and clutch pitching in key situations--a formula that could serve the Bruins well as they try to make a run deep into the College World Series.

In typical UCLA style Saturday, the Bruins scored twice on sacrifice flies, once on a passed ball and once on a safety squeeze. Starter Nick Vander Tuig and reliever David Berg handled the rest, with the only TCU damage coming via a Brance Rivera solo home run in the third inning. The Horned Frogs (40-22) scored three runs in the two games--all on solo homers.

"We just chipped away," coach John Savage said. "This was a typical game for us. We don’t blow anybody out. We hang around. We made everything count."

It's an approach that UCLA has used to great success this season. The Bruins are seeded No. 2 nationally because they find ways to win games. They have won nine consecutive games and 19 of the last 21. Not many of those games go to double digits, either. UCLA has held 16 of those last 21 opponents to three runs or fewer.

"We’re not a power hitting team," said shortstop Pat Valaika. "Our game plan is just to grind pitchers down. Grind for nine. That’s our approach at the plate. We try to see a lot of pitches. We work hard to pass the baton and get the next guy to the plate."

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Regis delivers for UCLA after difficult week

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
11:27
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UCLA baseball celebrationJayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireBrenton Allen (23) scores as teammates Trevor Brown, left, and Jeff Gelalich welcome him home.

LOS ANGELES -- The primal scream Cody Regis let out when he reached second base told you all you need to know about the kind of week he has had.

Regis brought his roller-coaster week to a high when he cleared the bases with a three-run double in the sixth inning of UCLA's 6-2 super regional victory over Texas Christian on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium. His clutch hit helped get the Bruins to within one victory of a return trip to the College World Series, so yeah, Regis was excited.

But the raw emotion he let out came from much deeper than giving his team a comfortable lead that starting pitcher Adam Plutko and reliever David Berg easily made stand up. Regis had a week's worth of pent up frustration because the Major League Baseball draft came and went without his name being called.

[CLICK HERE TO SEE GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS]

Regis, a junior first baseman with a .284 career batting average, 16 home runs and now 117 RBIs, took that as a personal slight and then took it out on TCU.

"It was a bitter pill to swallow," Regis said. "It was really hard. It was disappointing for me, but it kind of motivated me a little bit. It put a chip on my shoulder."

Things looked grim for UCLA (46-14) as Texas Christian (40-21) took a 2-1 lead on solo home runs by Josh Elander in the first and Kyle Van Tungeln in the third, and TCU pitcher Brandon Finnegan had retired 10 consecutive Bruins after Kevin Kramer's two-out RBI single in the second inning.

But Tyler Heineman drew a walk to start the sixth, and two TCU pitchers loaded the bases by hitting Cody Keefer and Jeff Gelalich with pitches. Trevor Brown tied the score at 2 with a single, and Pat Valaika gave UCLA a 3-2 lead with a run-scoring groundout.

An intentional walk to Brenton Allen loaded the bases again and set the stage for Regis. On his 21st birthday, he delivered a three-run present to the Bruins by blasting a liner that skipped through the gap in left-center field, hit off the wall and propelled UCLA to a Game 1 victory in the best-of-three super regional.

"When I made contact, I knew I got it well," Regis said. "And when the play was finally over, the adrenaline really hit. I got to second and the emotion of everything just overcame me and I just let it go."

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Plutko pitches a gem in regional opener

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
11:29
PM PT
Adam PlutkoAP Photo/Gus RuelasAdam Plutko pitched his second complete game of the season as the UCLA beat Creighton.

LOS ANGELES -- Adam Plutko was pitching with a heavy heart, but luckily for him the baseball felt light.

A day after attending the funeral of his great grandmother, Plutko turned in the finest pitching performance of the season for UCLA as he spun a two-hitter to lead the Bruins to a 3-0 victory over Creighton in a first-round game of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

It was the first postseason shutout for UCLA since an 8-0 victory over Yale in 1992, putting the Bruins, seeded no. 1 in the regional, in a winner's bracket game against New Mexico on Saturday at 7 p.m.

After driving back from the funeral in San Diego on Friday morning, Plutko met his team at the ballpark and proceeded to dominate the Creighton bats from the outset. The sophomore right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced and 15 of the first 16. He struck out seven and walked three and allowed only one base runner to advance past first base.

"It’s been kind of a rough week," Plutko said. "It’s been a whirlwind of a week, but it was a lot of fun to pitch this game."

The complete game was a boon for the Bruins (43-14), who have not gotten many of them this year. Plutko had the only other one -- a 2-0 victory at Georgia on March 9. Obviously the Bruins have been relying heavily on their bullpen, but to get complete game in the first game of a regional could prove invaluable down the road.

"Adam gave his best outing of the year, quite honestly, and we needed it," coach John Savage said. "In a series when you are talking about multiple games in a few days, you’re talking about saving your bullpen and Adam just did it as well as he could."

The Bruins got all the offense they would need in the first inning when Cody Keefer beat out a chopper to shortstop for a two-out infield single and Jeff Gelalich followed by ripping a run-scoring double into the left-center gap.

Another two-out rally in the second produced two more runs as Cody Regis singled and Kevin Kramer and Beau Amaral followed with back-to-back doubles to give UCLA a 3-0 lead.

After that it was all Plutko (10-3) who effectively moved his fastball around the strike zone to keep the Bluejays (26-29) off balance. He got some help from Amaral, who made two nice running catches in center field with a man on first to thwart a potential Creighton threat.

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UCLA outfielder Jeff Gelalich was named Pac-12 player of the week and teammate Adam Plutko was named the conference pitcher of the week after leading the Bruins to a 4-0 record last week.

Gelalich, a junior, batted .563 for the week, including going 9-for-13 (.692) during UCLA's three-game sweep at Georgia. It is the second player of the week honor this season for Gelalich, who was batting .491 with three home runs and 12 RBIS through 15 games.

Plutko, a sophomore, pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts and no walks in a 2-0 victory over Georgia last Friday. He is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33.1 innings this season.

The Bruins (12-3) were on a 10-game win streak heading into Tuesday's Dodgertown Classic game against USC at Dodger Stadium. They are ranked No. 9 in the nation by Baseball America.

UCLA baseball enters new era

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
7:36
AM PT
UCLA Baseball Blair AnguloWhat does the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft get? Yep, a banner next to Eric Karros.


LOS ANGELES -- A new banner greets UCLA baseball fans when they reach the concourse at Jackie Robinson Stadium. It hangs by the main entrance on the first-base side, next to an old one of former Bruins infielder and Los Angeles Dodgers career home run record holder Eric Karros. A bronze statue of the man for whom the ballpark is named sits a few yards away.

It’s precise product placement, and there’s no shame in promoting former UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, the top overall selection in last year’s MLB amateur draft. Cole arrived on campus in 2009 and, along with third overall draft pick and Golden Spikes Award winner Trevor Bauer, would go on to lead the Bruins to their first College World Series appearance since 1997 and their first Pac-10 championship since 1986. Bauer, too, is recognized on a banner which hangs next to one of Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley on the third-base side, behind the UCLA dugout.

“You have to recognize them, they warranted it,” eighth-year head coach John Savage says. “Those are high honors, but it’s a credit to both of those guys for being special people and players at UCLA.”

The banners are commemorative, yes. They’re meant to inspire current team members — a third-year player says they’re indicative of UCLA’s recent success. They’re meant to attract recruits, meant to boost the program’s perception. At the same time, they’re a reminder that Cole, an elite prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, and Bauer, a spring training invitee with the Arizona Diamondbacks, are gone.

UCLA baseball, though, has been transformed. Maybe forever.

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Cole and Bauer leave a legacy at UCLA

June, 7, 2011
6/07/11
6:40
AM PT

On the eve of the Major League baseball draft, Trevor Bauer sat alone in the back row of the empty stands at Jackie Robinson, gazing out into the nothingness of a chilly night with a blank stare that masked the swirl of emotion running through his head.

Moments earlier, UC Irvine had eliminated UCLA from the NCAA playoffs with a walk-off win, delivering a shocking and sudden end to Bauer's UCLA career.

Down the left field line in a tent set up near the UCLA clubhouse, Bruins Coach John Savage had his own moment of reflection. He, too, looked off into the distance with a contemplative stare, shocked and stunned about the loss, yes, but also by the realization that the end of an era had befallen UCLA.

Less than 24 hours later, the Arizona Diamondbacks made Bauer the No. 3 pick in the Major League Baseball draft. Just before that, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Gerrit Cole the No. 1 overall pick and just like that, the premier pitching tandem in UCLA history was history.

Bauer and Cole rewrote the pitching record books at UCLA, took the Bruins to unprecedented heights by leading them to the College World Series final last year and left an indelible mark on the program by raising the standards of excellence.

Now, both are head to the professional circuit and will almost certainly be in the big leagues before long.

"I think UCLA saw two of the best pitchers they’ve ever seen pitch in this program," Savage said during his moment of reflection. "They made an unbelievable footprint for younger guys and for the future. They’re special guys."

We found out Monday just how special.

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UCLA's season ends in familiar fashion

June, 5, 2011
6/05/11
11:45
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UCLA's baseball season came to an end with a 4-3 loss to UC Irvine in an NCAA regional game Sunday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium in a manner that has become quite familiar to Bruins' fans.

Some will blame Bruins closer Nick Vander Tuig for allowing the tying and winning runs to score on three hits in the bottom of the ninth as UC Irvine clinched a spot in the Super Regionals next week against Virginia.

But the Bruins lost this game, as they had lost so many this year, because they put too much weight and too much pressure on the shoulders of their elite pitching staff by continually failing to finish rallies.

UCLA left 13 men on base in Sunday's game, bring their total to 40 in four regional games. They scored only 10 runs in those four games and that was little for even one of the top starting pitching rotations in the nation to overcome.

"That was really the story of our season," coach John Savage said. "We just could not get people in."

Freshman Zack Weiss, a rising star, was the victim of that lack of run support on Sunday, but it could just have easily have been any one of the Bruins stellar starters. Weiss pitched eight innings and gave up three runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

He gave up consecutive singles to start the game, then didn't give up another hit until the fifth. UCLA managed to get a 3-0 lead by then, but had also left two men on base in each of the first four innings. Clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Bruins loaded the bases in the eighth, but left all three men out there.

The Bruins had gotten away with stranding 14 runners on Saturday thanks to a dominant pitching performance by Trevor Bauer in a 3-1 victory over Fresno State. They stranded eight runners Sunday afternoon, but Adam Plutko pitched a gem and UCLA won, 4-1.

But the high LOB total finally came back to haunt UCLA as Irvine rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth, a rally capped by Ronnie Shaeffer's two-strike walk-off single just inside the first base line to score pinch-runner Scott Gottschling with the winning run.

"I was just trying to get the guy in from third, that’s the main goal there," Shaeffer said. "I was sitting there ready for a fastball. Once I got to two strikes, I tried to battle and I stuck the bat out there and snuck it by the first baseman."

It's the type of clutch hit with men on that UCLA had trouble getting all season.

The Bruins this season averaged only 4.6 runs per game and ranked 249th of 292 teams in Division I before the regional started. They'll be even lower after averaging 2.5 in the four regional games. UCLA scored four runs or fewer in 38 of their 59 games this season. That's 64% of the time.

They also ranked 243rd with a .263 batting average and had only two regulars--Dean Espy and Cody Keefer--finish the season at .300 or higher. And they averaged 8.14 men left on base per game.

So that's why even with a starting rotation that boasts Gerrit Cole, the projected No. 1 pick in Monday's MLB Draft and Bauer, the premier pitcher in college baseball this season, the Bruins finished with a 35-24 record. UCLA had a team ERA of 2.44, the lowest at UCLA since 1969--in the wooden bat era--yet lost 24 games.

"For whatever reason, we didn’t produce enough runs for how many runners we had on," Savage said. "It’s frustrating."

It is a disappointing end for the Bruins, who had high hopes this season after advancing to the College World Series finals last year and returning a strong nucleus of players from that team. But the Bruins will be staying home this year with memories of missed opportunities to keep them company.

"I would say for us, we're disappointed that we didn't get where we want to go," designated hitter Jeff Gelalich said. "I know the guys that will be coming back will remember this and hopefully we will learn from this."

UCLA survives against USF; UC Irvine next

June, 5, 2011
6/05/11
5:59
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UCLA survived another elimination game, riding a masterful performance by freshman pitcher Adam Plutko to a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in an NCAA regional game Sunday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Bruins advanced to play UC Irvine Sunday night with the hopes of extending the regional to a deciding game on Monday night. Should UC Irvine win Sunday night, the Anteaters will advance to the Super Regionals.

Plutko (7-4) dominated from the beginning, allowing only one hit and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out six and induced 15 fly ball outs, seven of which did not leave the infield. Closer Nick Vander Tuig gave up a run in the ninth, but closed out the Dons for his ninth save of the season.

"I really wasn’t that nervous," Plutko said. "I’ve pitched in a lot of big games in my life. I really used past experiences that I’ve had to not worrying about winning the game but worrying about each pitch that I throw."

Plutko got 15 fly ball outs to go along with six strikeouts and two ground outs. He had a no-hitter through four, and provided a nice follow up to Trevor Bauer's complete-game 3-1 victory over Fresno State on Saturday.

"You’re only as good as your starting pitching, Coach John Savage said. "You have to have good starting pitching in the regionals or you are going to go home pretty quick. To have Trevor do what he did on Saturday and then to have Adam do what he did, you tip your hat to those guys because they put their team in position."

UCLA is well-armed for NCAA regional

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
12:03
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UCLA is the team nobody in the country wanted to face in an NCAA baseball regional, so you can imagine how San Francisco coach Nino Giarratano felt when he found out his team received the unenviable honor of playing the Bruins first.

“I was petrified,” Giarratano said.

The UCLA pitching staff tends to have that reaction on opposing coaches.

Juniors Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer give the Bruins the best 1-2 pitching punch in college baseball and Adam Plutko and Zack Weiss add the type of pitching depth that can help a staff dominate a regional by putting zeros on the board.

Cole (6-7), who will start UCLA’s regional opener against San Francisco Friday at 6 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium, is projected by some as the No. 1 pick in Monday’s MLB draft because of his ability to consistently throw fastballs in the 95-97 range and regularly top 100. He also mixes in a hard cutting slider and a devastating changeup.

Bauer (12-2) leads the nation with 189 strikeouts, 4.72 hits allowed per nine innings and is fifth with a 1.27 ERA. He was named Pac-10 pitcher of the year, is among the favorites to win national pitcher of the year and is a projected top-five pick in the MLB draft.

Add in Plutko (6-4), a blossoming freshman with a 2.16 ERA in 14 starts, and Weiss (5-3), the freshman whose 2.79 ERA and 5.9 hits allowed per nine innings stack up nicely against any fourth starter in the country, and you can see why the Bruins strike fear in the minds of anyone who must face them in a short series.

“It was fun for us to face them the first time, but I’m not so sure we ever wanted to see them again,” said Giarratano, whose team scored only one run while getting swept in a three-game, season-opening series at UCLA. “They’re that good.”

Indeed, UCLA ranks fourth in the nation with a team ERA of 2.45 and is second with 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings and also second with 6.57 hits allowed per nine innings. The Bruins used similar dominant pitching to win a regional last year, giving up only six runs in three games, as they propelled themselves toward a runner up finish in the College World Series.

It's not all good news on the UCLA pitching front, however. Left-handed reliever Mitchell Beacom, tied for the team lead with 25 appearances, is out for the regional with a broken foot. Beacom (0-2) is one of only two lefties in the UCLA bullpen and he last pitched May 20 against California. He broke his foot in an off-field accident at home and will be re-evaluated prior to the super regionals if UCLA advances, Savage said.

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Trevor Bauer is Pac-10 pitcher of the year

May, 31, 2011
5/31/11
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UCLA's Trevor Bauer has been selected the Pac-10 Conference pitcher of the year and freshman pitcher Adam Plutko and sophomore outfielder Beau Amaral were first-team all conference selections.

Bauer (12-2) lead the Pac-10 with a 1.27 ERA and leads the nation with 189 strikeouts as UCLA heads in to the NCAA regionals beginning Friday at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Opponents have batted only .151 against him and he set a conference record by earning six conference player of the week awards this season. He is projected as a top-five pick in Monday's major league baseball draft.

Bauer, a junior right-hander, has made the all-conference team in all three of his years at UCLA. He was 8-1 with eight complete games in nine Pac-10 starts this season. In those games, he had a 1.24 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 80 innings and pitched three shutouts.

Plutko (6-4) ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with a 2.16 ERA and has 86 strikeouts and 22 walks in 100.0 innings. He went 3-2 with a 2.51 ERA and one complete game shutout in nine Pac-10 starts. Amaral batted .307 with two home runs, 29 RBI and led the Bruins with 16 doubles, 35 runs scored and a .411 on-base percentage. Amaral batted a team-best .347 in Pac-10 games.

Junior pitcher Gerrit Cole, junior pitcher Mitchell Beacom, junior catcher Steve Rodriguez, sophomore outfielder Cody Keefer and freshman right-hander Nick Vander Tuig were named honorable mention all-conference.

Cole (6-7) has a 3.28 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 23 walks in 107.0 innings. Beacom, a key reliever, has a 2.20 ERA with 38 strikeouts and nine walks in 32.2 innings. Rodriguez has 17 RBIs and started 41 games as UCLA's catcher. Keefer has batted .305 as UCLA's everyday left fielder and Vander Tuig leads the Bruins with eight saves.

California's Tony Renda is the Pac-10 player of the year and Oregon State's Pat Caseywas named the Pac-10 coach of the year. Arizona State infielder Deven Marrero earned defensive player of the year and Stanford infielder Brian Ragira is the conference freshman of the year.

Bruins move within a game of Pac-10 lead

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
7:07
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UCLA completed a series victory with a 5-2 victory over California and is now within a game of Pac-10 Conference leader Oregon State with three games to play.

The Bruins (31-20, 16-8) are tied with Arizona State (38-14, 16-8) in conference play and the teams will meet in a crucial three-game series to end the regular season next weekend in Tempe, Ariz. Oregon State (38-14, 17-7) lost two out of three at home against USC (21-29, 11-12) this weekend, the first conference series loss for the Beavers this season, and will end the season with three games at Oregon (29-25, 8-15).

Winning the conference title would help UCLA get a better seeding in the NCAA regionals and would greatly improve the Bruins' hopes for hosting a regional. The 16 regional hosts will be announced next Sunday and the NCAA tournament bracket is announced May 30.

And the Bruins have Sunday's victory over California to thank for keeping alive those hopes. Freshman Adam Plutko (6-3) allowed two runs on three hits and won his fourth consecutive start and Nick Vander Tuig pitched a scoreless ninth for his eighth save of the season.

Senior Chris Giovinazzo led the Bruins’ offense by going 3-for-4 a triple, a double and three runs scored. Dean Espy was 3-for-5.

Baseball: Arms race heats up

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
2:35
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UCLA's pitching staff had a fun little game of "I can do better" over the weekend -- Gerrit Cole was good, Trevor Bauer was better, Adam Plutko was best -- as the Bruins swept Oregon in Eugene.

Cole allowed a run in 7 1/3 innings Friday, Bauer tossed his fifth straight complete game Saturday and Plutko capped the series with a two-hit shutout Sunday. Now you know why every other coach in the nation is envious of what John Savage has.

That's what makes this UCLA team dangerous. Place these Bruins in any regional and they can sweep their way into the next round. Not many teams that can send another ace to the mound on the second day (Bauer). Or a freshman with a 1.59 ERA on the third day (Plutko).

UCLA (27-16) has a modest five-game winning streak after going 4-0 last week and moved up from 22nd to 19th in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 coaches' poll Monday. And with games against Long Beach State (23-22), UC Santa Barbara (19-20) and Cal State Bakersfield (26-18) this week, it might be seen as a disappointment if the Bruins don't go 5-0.

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