UCLA captures its first NCAA baseball title
UCLA swept Mississippi State in two games in the best-of-three final round at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Bruins won Tuesday’s game 8-0.
The Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. – UCLA’s offense showed up this time, which meant 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 Tuesday night.
The Pac-12 Bruins (49-17) completed a two-game sweep in the best-of-three College World Series final round and ended the season with 11 straight victories. The national title is UCLA’s NCAA-record 109th in team sports.
“They had a great year,” UCLA coach John Savage said, “and it was one of those situations where it was our time.”
Adam Plutko, the Bruins’ No. 1 starter, was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player. He beat Louisiana State in the Bruins’ first game and was the winner in Game 1 of the final. He allowed two runs in 13 innings.
Vander Tuig held off the Southeastern Conference Bulldogs (51-20) when they threatened in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings and recorded his fourth victory 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, squeeze bunt and two hits as the Bruins collected 12 hits and scored their most runs in 18 games.
Bulldogs starter Luis Pollorena (6-4) lasted one inning. Jonathan Holder, the Bulldogs’ closer, 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 that started in 1974.
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. We kept battling, and it’s a team win.”
After Arizona’s title last year, the Pac-12 has won two straight and has 17 in all in baseball, the most of any conference.
UCLA finished third in the Pac-12, behind regular-season champion Oregon State and second-place Oregon, and then got hot in the postseason.
Mississippi State was playing for its first national title in a team sport.
This year’s CWS set records for total attendance (341,483) and average attendance (24,392).