OMAHA, Neb. | Recapping MSU’s 3-1 loss to UCLA in Game 1 of the College World Series finals at TD Ameritrade Park on Monday.
• The buzz: UCLA (48-17) did what it does best. It got guys on base in different ways, scratched out some runs early on, and left the rest up to its pitching and defense. Now the Bruins are one win away from capturing their first national championship. MSU (51-19) now must win Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’ll need to find some answers offensively, although you have to give credit to UCLA starter Adam Plutko.
• Big inning: UCLA took a 3-0 lead in the fourth with two unearned runs. After a one-out single by Brenton Allen, Brian Carroll laid down a bunt and reached on catcher Nick Ammirati‘s throwing error, which sent Allen to third base. Carroll stole second, and then Eric Filia delivered a two-run single to right field.
• Key stats: UCLA was 2 of 13 with runners in scoring position, while MSU was 0 of 6. … State hit into two double plays. … UCLA struck out 12 times, MSU just twice.
• UCLA at the plate: The Bruins had six hits. … Filia had two hits, including a double. … Pat Valaika had two hits and drove in UCLA’s first run in the first inning. His hit scored Kevin Kramer, who had struck out but reached on a wild pitch.
• MSU at the plate: MSU had six hits. … Brett Pirtle had two hits. … Leadoff man Adam Frazier was 0 for 4 with three flyouts. … MSU scored in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk of C.T. Bradford, but State left the bags full.
• UCLA on the mound: Plutko (10-3) went six-plus innings, allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk. … Three relievers got work, including closer David Berg, who tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his 24th save of the year, an NCAA single-season record.
• MSU on the mound: Starter Trevor Fitts (0-1) went just 1 1/3 innings, giving up one run on three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. … Chad Girodo put in another strong long-relief effort, going the final 7 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs – both unearned – on three hits and struck out nine. He walked two.
• Quotable: “We gave them easy outs, and that’s not really who we are.” – Pirtle
• Bottom line: MSU is not a team that’s easily flustered, and it never really was tonight. But Plutko did dictate things, and there were some golden chances that the Bulldogs couldn’t cash in on. And as John Cohen pointed out after the game, a lot of things simply didn’t go MSU’s way tonight, like Ammirati’s drive to the warning track in right field being snared by Filia in the fifth inning. Knowing this team, it’ll be a tough out Tuesday.