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UCLA tops New Mexico, will play for regional title

Bruins get another stellar pitching performance, this time from Nick Vander Tuig, in 7-1 victory.

June 02, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • David Berg, shown back in April, pitched the ninth inning for UCLA during Saturday's 7-1 victory over New Mexico.
David Berg, shown back in April, pitched the ninth inning for UCLA during… (Scott Chandler / UCLA )

Gerrit who? Trevor who?

Through two games of an NCAA regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium, UCLA's starting pitchers are making fans forget former Bruins stars Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, who were chosen first and third overall in last year's major league draft.

A day after sophomore Adam Plutko pitched a two-hitter, sophomore Nick Vander Tuig nearly one-upped him Saturday by giving up only one hit in eight innings in the Bruins' 7-1 victory over New Mexico.

UCLA, second-seeded nationally, can clinch the regional title with a victory Sunday. The Bruins (44-14) will play the winner of an afternoon game between New Mexico and Creighton, an 8-2 winner Saturday over San Diego. If the Bruins lose, they will play again for the title Monday.

Vander Tuig (9-3) did not surrender a hit until the eighth inning, when Trey Porras hit a lead-off double to left field.

"I just took advantage of their aggressiveness," said Vander Tuig, who did not pitch his senior year at Oakdale (Calif.) High after having elbow surgery.

Vander Tuig struck out a career-high 11 and walked one before giving way to David Berg for the ninth inning. He had not given up fewer than five hits or struck out more than eight in 15 previous starts this season.

"I think you're starting to see him get back to where he was," UCLA Coach John Savage said.

Every UCLA starter had at least one hit as the Bruins totaled 17 while ending New Mexico's 10-game winning streak.

The Bruins took a first-inning lead on Jeff Gelalich's run-scoring groundout, and added three runs in the fifth on Trevor Brown's two-run double off the left-field fence and Pat Valaika's single.

New Mexico scored its run in the fifth inning when Ryan Padilla led off with a fly ball to shallow left field. Shortstop Valaika, third baseman Kevin Kramer and left fielder Cody Keefer converged on the ball, which bounced out of Keefer's glove for an error that allowed Padilla to reach second base.

Padilla moved to third on a fly ball to center and scored on Porras' groundout.

The Bruins added three more runs in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Beau Amaral, Keefer's run-scoring-double and a run-scoring single by Gelalich.

Creighton 8, San Diego 2 — Creighton (27-29) bounced back from a shutout loss against UCLA.

The Bluejays scored two runs in the first inning on singles by Chance Ross and Mike Gerber. They added another run in the second, chasing Paul Sewald of San Diego (40-17).

gary.klein@latimes.com

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