UCLA ekes out a narrow 2-1 win against LSU
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Adam Plutko and two relievers limited LSU to five hits, and UCLA turned both of the Tigers' errors into runs in a tense 2-1 victory at the College World Series on Sunday night.
The Bruins (45-17) will play North Carolina State on Tuesday. The No. 4 national seed Tigers (57-10) had their eight-game win streak end and will meet North Carolina in an elimination game.
LSU scored its only run on Mason Katz's fourth-inning homer. The Tigers, one of the best fielding teams in the nation during the regular season, had defensive breakdowns that allowed the Bruins to tie the game in the sixth and take the lead in the eighth.
Plutko (9-3) allowed four hits in seven innings for the win. David Berg worked out of trouble in the ninth to earn his 22nd save.
Aaron Nola (12-1) gave up five singles in eight innings, and both runs against him were unearned.
LSU made it interesting until the end. Mason Katz reached on shortstop Pat Valaika's throwing error in the ninth but was erased on a double play, with second baseman JaCoby Jones' throw to first narrowly beating Raph Rhymes.
Christian Ibarra walked, and pinch-hitter Tyler Moore hammered a ball up the middle that knocked down Berg to put runners on first and second. Berg faked a wild pickoff throw into center field, but pinch-runner Jared Foster didn't take the bait and stayed put after diving back to second base.
Berg ran the count to 3-0 on Jones before inducing a fly ball to right to end the game.
The Bruins, batting just .251 as a team, got the most out of their offensively challenged lineup. They got their leadoff man on base in the fourth through ninth innings - including on an error, hit batsman and a strike-three wild pitch.
Plutko turned in a second straight strong start in the CWS. He gave up one run on four hits in seven innings. Last year he allowed one run on five hits in seven innings to earn a win over Stony Brook.
James Kaprielian relieved Plutko to start the eighth, and the side-arming Berg earned sweated out his school record-extending 22nd save.
Both runs against Nola, the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year, were unearned. He's now pitched 24 NCAA tournament innings without allowing an earned run.
LSU led 1-0 in the fourth when Katz drove Plutko's 89-mph high fastball into the left-field bullpen for his 16th homer of the season and the first in four CWS games.
The Bruins got the run back in the sixth after Brian Carroll bunted for a single and took second on catcher Ty Ross's wild throw to first. Carroll moved to third on a groundout and scored on Valaika's sacrifice fly.
Pinch-hitter Ty Moore, batting .208, singled to left on Nola's first pitch of the eighth inning. Christoph Bono pinch ran and moved up on a sacrifice. He scored the go-ahead run when Eric Filia's hard grounder to shortstop bounced off national freshman of the year Alex Bregman for his fourth error in six NCAA tournament games.