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.