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College baseball: UCLA stays alive with 4-1 victory over San Francisco

June 5, 2011 |  5:31 pm

Ucla-usf_300 It didn't really matter what UCLA batters did Sunday afternoon. Bruins pitcher Adam Plutko saw to that.

Plutko, a freshman, gave up one hit in 7 2/3 innings and the Bruins avoided elimination with a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in the NCAA tournament regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday. Nick Vander Tuig finished the game, sending UCLA to a game against UC Irvine at 6 p.m.

The Anteaters would advance to the super-regional round with a victory; if it wins, UCLA would force a decisive game Monday night.

Plutko succeed where Gerrit Cole failed Friday. He not only kept the Dons (32-25) off the scoreboard, but he also limited their time on the bases.

Cole, who many have projected as the No. 1 pick in the major league draft Monday, gave up three runs on 11 hits Friday in a 3-0 loss that left the Bruins needing to win four consecutive games to advance out of the double-elimination regional.

Plutko got UCLA one game closer. He gave up only a double by the Dons' Travis Higgs to start the fifth inning. Plutko (7-4) struck out six and walked two.

"I think Adam is the best freshman pitcher in the country," UCLA Coach John Savage said. "He may not have the numbers some guys have in terms of wins, but he stands up to anyone."

The Dons got quality starts from Kyle Zimmer and Matt Hiserman. Both pitched complete games in San Francisco’s first two games at the regional. The pitching was left to committee Sunday, with starter Jonathan Abramson going 2 1/3 innings.

The Bruins provided more offensive support for Plutko than they had for Cole and Trevor Bauer in the first two games, though that was grading on a curve.

But the Dons provided some assistance. Jeff Gelalich reached on an error to start the third, then scored on Dean Espy's single. Beau Amaral was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh and scored on Gelalich’s double.

Pat Valaika and Cody Regis also drove in runs. But the Bruins left the bases loaded in the first inning and were three for 10 with runners in scoring position. UCLA was five for 26 with runners in scoring position through the first three games of the regional.

"That's kind of a typical game for us," Savage said. "We can't seem to pull away from anyone. It's like pulling teeth to score runs some times."

-- Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko delivers a pitch in the first inning against San Francisco on Sunday. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire