OMAHA, Neb. – Adam Plutko limited Mississippi State to a run on four hits in six innings, and UCLA survived some anxious moments to beat the Bulldogs 3-1 in Game 1 of the best-of-three College World Series final Monday night.
Plutko retired nine straight to start, worked out of trouble twice and turned the game over to the bullpen in the seventh. The Bulldogs (51-19) left runners in scoring position four of the last six innings.
“We dodged some bullets, no doubt about it, but you have to give credit to our defense,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “Kind of a Bruin game. Tight game, and at the end of the night we were fortunate to come out with the win.”
The Pac-12 Bruins (48-17) are one victory from their first national championship in baseball and the school’s national-record 109th title in a team sport.
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“Not much to get excited about,” Savage said. “It comes down to tomorrow.”
Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference must win Game 2 Tuesday to keep alive its hopes for its first NCAA team title.
UCLA took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on Eric Filia’s two-out, two-run single off Chad Girodo, who replaced starter Trevor Fitts (0-1) in the second inning. That was the last of the Bruins’ six hits.
Plutko (10-3) walked in the Bulldogs’ run in the fourth.
UCLA is 40-0 when leading after seven innings.
The estimated 8,000 Mississippi State fans at TD Ameritrade Park started the “Maroon and White” chant in the bottom of the ninth after C.T. Bradford and pinch-hitter Sam Frost singled to put runners on first and second with one out against closer David Berg.
Nick Ammirati flew out, and pinch-hitter Jacob Robson ended the game with his comebacker to Berg, who underhanded the ball to first.