College World Series: UCLA shuts out Mississippi State for sweep
OMAHA, Neb. — UCLA’s offense showed up this time, which meant that Mississippi State never had a chance.
Eric Filia drove in a career-high five runs, Nick Vander Tuig limited Mississippi State to five hits in eight innings, and UCLA won its first national championship in baseball with an 8-0 victory last night.
The Bruins (49-17) completed a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals and ended the season with 11 straight wins. The national title is UCLA’s NCAA-record 109th in team sports.
“They had a great year,” UCLA coach John Savage said of the Bulldogs, “and it was one of those situations where it was our time.”
Adam Plutko, the Bruins’ No. 1 starter, was named CWS Most Outstanding Player. He beat LSU in the Bruins’ first game and was the winner in Game 1 of the finals. He allowed two runs in 13 innings.
Vander Tuig held off the Bulldogs (51-20) when they threatened in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings and recorded his fourth win in the NCAA tournament. Vander Tuig (14-4) struck out six and walked one. David Berg pitched the ninth.
Filia produced runs with a sacrifice fly, a squeeze bunt and two base hits. The Bruins collected 12 hits and scored their most runs in 18 games.
“I thrive on this, absolutely,” Filia said. “We just stayed with our approach. We stayed small and barreled balls up.”
Bulldogs starter Luis Pollorena (6-4) lasted only one inning. Closer Jonathan Holder came on with one out in the fourth inning and went the rest of the way.
UCLA allowed four runs in five games to set a CWS record for fewest in the metal-bat era, which started in 1974.
Vander Tuig, who won his fourth straight postseason start, gave up just one earned run in 211/3 innings over his last three starts.
The Bruins’ .227 batting average in the CWS also was the lowest since teams went away from wood bats. The Bruins’ 19 runs in five games were the fewest by a champion since the CWS went to eight teams in 1950.
“It was a team effort all the way through,” Savage said. “It was guys believing in each other and being great teammates. People didn’t believe in us all season long. It’s a team win.”
The Bruins, as usual, were creative and opportunistic. They used a hit batsman, a bunt that produced two Mississippi State errors, and Filia’s sacrifice fly to lead 1-0 in the first. It was 3-0 in the third after Brian Carroll scored on a safety-squeeze bunt by Filia and Pat Valaika’s RBI single.
Holder entered the game in the fourth after Cody Regis singled in another run. Holder hit Carroll to load the bases, and another sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
UCLA’s title gives the Pac-12 two in a row in the CWS — Arizona won last year — and 17 overall, the most of any conference.
Mississippi State was playing for its first national title in a team sport and was the sixth straight Southeastern Conference team to make it to the finals.