Previewing UCLA

Nick Vander Tuig and UCLA will be a tough test for NC State tonight in the College World Series. Here is a preview of the Bruins -- the opening pitch is set for 8:00 pm on ESPN2.


UCLA (45-17) took advantage of two LSU errors and rallied to beat the No. 4 national-seed, 2-1, in the teams' first game of the College World Series. UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko remained undefeated in postseason play in his career, picking up the victory after throwing seven innings and allowing just one run on four hits.

The Bruins tagged LSU ace Aaron Nola with his first loss of the season, although both runs were unearned.

UCLA had just five hits in the game.

UCLA Head Coach John Savage

"It was quite a game. You're talking about Nola and Plutko, really pitching as advertised. Nola gave us fits all night. We really didn't get a whole lot of good swings."

"That was a grind. You're talking about a crowd that was certainly in the favor of LSU and we anticipated that. And I think at the end of the day, it was our type of game.

"And fortunately we came out. It's Game 1 of the World Series, so there's no celebration. But it could have-- at the end it could have gone either way. But we are a resilient bunch. And we played a lot of tight games all season long. And I think tonight was somewhat of a typical game for us. I think five hits on both sides. And fortunately we came out on top.

"So on to the next round. Very proud of our team and the way we played this evening."

* John Savage extended his school record with his 28th postseason win as UCLA head coach.

* Savage also improved his record to 5-5 at the College World Series.

* UCLA is now 6-0 in postseason this year and has allowed just 11 runs in its six games.

* UCLA's 45 wins are now tied for the third most in program history.

* Adam Plutko is now 6-0 in seven career postseason starts, posting a 0.87 ERA.

* Plutko pitched seven innings for the fourth consecutive start.

* Plutko also moved into sole possession of second place on UCLA's all-time career wins list, logging career win No. 28.

* Plutko's 51 career starts also rank second on UCLA's all-time list.

* Eric Filia is batting .522 in six postseason games this year while slugging .565 and posting an on-base percentage of .520.

* Pat Gallagher extended his career-long hitting streak to seven games tonight and is hitting .450 in the postseason.

* UCLA is now 16-2 in one-run games and 35-1 when holding opponents to three runs or fewer.

Right-hander Nick Vander Tuig has had a stellar season, posting a 12-4 record with a 2.37 ERA and two complete games. In 114 innings, he's struck out 91 batters and allowed just 17 walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .237 against Vander Tuig.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior was the 192nd player selected in the 2013 MLB first-year player draft, picked in the sixth round by the San Francisco Giants.

* UCLA is a team that has won games this year around terrific pitching and strong defense, as they are hitting just .250 as a team without a single hitter batting over .300 in the lineup.

* The team's most dangerous batter is Brian Carroll. A .260 hitter, Carroll has blazing speed, as he has stolen 30 bases in 37 tries.

* Pat Valaika leads the Bruins in home runs (5), triples (3), and RBIs (44). He is also tops in slugging percentage (.397) and walks (32).

* Eric Filia and Kevin Kramer lead the team in batting, as the duo is hitting .279. Filia has a team-best 13 doubles, and Kramer paces the squad in hits (65).

* UCLA has four players with eight or more stolen bases. They love to run, like NC State.

UCLA's best player could be closer David Berg. Berg, the 2013 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, has posted a record of 7-0 with 22 saves while currently leading the nation in ERA with a 0.87 mark.

At one point this season, the first team All-American did not allow a run in 37 consecutive innings, which was the longest consecutive scoreless innings streak in the nation this season.

He was named as one of three finalists for the National Pitcher of the Year award.

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