TCU falls in super regional opener
LOS ANGELES -- Cody Regis had a three-run double in UCLA's five-run sixth inning and Adam Plutko pitched seven solid innings in the Bruins' 6-2 victory over TCU on Friday night in Game 1 of the best-of-three NCAA super regional.
Regis' double to left center off reliever Justin Scharf gave the Bruins (46-14) a 6-2 lead.
Plutko (11-3) limited TCU (40-21) to seven hits and two runs. David Berg got the final six outs after replacing Plutko in the eighth with no outs and one on.
"I wasn't rattled by the two home runs," Plutko said. "Yeah, they were long but they were only two runs. The job of the ace of the staff is to settle down and after the fourth inning I did that."
The Bruins have won eight consecutive games and 15 of 16.
Freshman starter Brandon Finnegan (4-5) was cruising along until the sixth inning. He retired 10 straight hitters from the end of the second inning until walking Tyler Heineman to lead off the sixth. He then hit Cody Keefer with a pitch and was replaced by Justin Scharf after throwing one pitch to Jeff Gelalich.
Scharf hit Gelalich with his first pitch to load the bases. Trevor Brown followed with an RBI single to tie the game. Pat Valaika's RBI groundout gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead. Pinch hitter Brenton Allen was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Regis.
"Coach (Rex) Peters said to look for something out over the plate and I got it," said Regis, who also made a spectacular catch late in the game in left field.
Josh Elander hit his 11th homer in the first inning for TCU. The Bruins tied it at 1 on Kevin Kramer's two-out single in the second.
Kyle Von Tungeln led off the third with home run to give the Horned Frogs a 2-1 lead.
TCU has hit 12 home runs in its last five games.
"It's a disappointing loss for TCU," Horned Frogs coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "We played well for eight of nine innings, but they got timely hitting. We have to avoid the big inning -- you can't set the table.
"For sure I like our chances on coming back. This time last week we lost by the same score, so this is a good omen for us. We're a blue collar team and we play well with our backs against the wall."
TCU lost the opening game of the College Station regional last weekend but responded by winning four straight games to advance.
UCLA coach John Savage said it was a strong finish for his team.
"It's a good Bruins win," he said. "We had good at-bats and Adam got stronger as the game went on -- that's what he's done most of his career, but it's one win and it's not time to celebrate."
The teams play Saturday evening and TCU will have to win to force a championship game on Sunday.
The series winner will advance to the College World Series in Omaha.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press