CWS final pits UCLA Bruins’ pitching and Mississippi St. Bulldogs’ bats

Posted Sunday, Jun. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information CWS championship series Mississippi State vs. UCLA Game 1: 7 tonight Game 2: 7 p.m. Tuesday Game 3: 7 p.m. Wednesday* *If necessary All games on ESPN

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

It’s hard enough pitching against the nation’s best in the College World Series. It would seem even tougher when runs are so difficult to come by for your team.

UCLA’s Adam Plutko said when he heads to the mound tonight for Game 1 of the finals against Mississippi State, he’ll just worry about himself and believe that somehow, some way his teammates will come through.

So far, the Bruins have turned their total of eight runs into three wins.

“We’ve played with each other all year long and there is a lot of trust,” Plutko said Sunday. “I’m sure you can look at it one way and say there’s a lot of pressure to hold a team. But at the same time, there is a lot of trust in the guys behind you.”

The Bruins’ pitchers have allowed a total of three runs at the CWS, with starters Plutko (9-3), Nick Vander Tuig and Grant Watson going at least six innings. Relievers James Kaprielian and Zack Weiss have combined for three innings of one-hit, shutout relief. Star closer David Berg has worked around trouble in two of his three appearances but has gotten the job done.

UCLA (47-17) will follow the same plan in the best-of-three finals matching programs looking for their first national championship in baseball.

Mississippi State coach John Cohen said he would start Trevor Fitts (0-0), who’ll be making only his sixth start of the season in 18 appearances.

The Bulldogs (51-18) have been the best-hitting team at the CWS, with a .297 average in wins over Oregon State (twice) and Indiana. Wes Rea is batting .462, best among players who have been in three or more CWS games, and Brett Pirtle is at .417.

Mississippi State’s average of 4.6 runs a game in Omaha is highest in a CWS on track to produce the least offense since the metal-bat era started in 1974.

Rea said he’s followed the Bruins from afar and is impressed with how they do things.

“They know how to win,” he said. “That is how you get here. It’s going to be a tremendous series. I have a lot of respect for those guys, and may the best man win.”

Pitching and defense have been UCLA’s identity since ninth-year coach John Savage took over. Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, the Nos. 1 and 3 draft picks in 2011, led the Bruins to the 2010 finals, where they were swept by South Carolina.

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Full Scoreboard
No games this week
Full Scoreboard
Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal «4Final | Box
Tampa Bay1
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Detroit «1Final | Box
Boston0
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Dallas2Final | Box
Anaheim «3
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard