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UCLA tops Cal State Fullerton 5-3 in 10 innings

Bruins battle their way past Cal State Fullerton in 10 innings to get within a victory of College World Series.

June 07, 2013|By Chris Foster | This story has been corrected. See below
  • UCLA's Brian Carroll, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring the go-ahead run during the 10th inning.
UCLA's Brian Carroll, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring… (Jason Redmond / Associated…)

This is what UCLA batters do. They scrap and scuffle and on most days they get enough done.

The Bruins could use the 5-3 super-regional victory over Cal State Fullerton on Friday as a training video. Sophomore Eric Filia could star in it.

Filia flicked a single to right that broke a 3-3 tie in the 10th inning at Goodwin Field, and when UCLA reliever David Berg threw his 54th and final pitch to strike out Michael Lorenzen, the Bruins were one victory away from going to the College World Series.

UCLA (43-17) and Fullerton (51-9) play Game 2 at 7 p.m. on Saturday, with a third game Sunday if needed. The Titans are likely to see more of the same.

There was pitcher Adam Plutko's grit on a day he expected to be taken in the major league baseball draft … and wasn't. He went seven innings, giving up one run.

There was Berg blowing a save for only the second time this season when the Titans scored two runs in the eighth. But he went three innings and left the tying runs on base in the 10th, striking out the last two batters.

And there were the Bruins batters, who came up with nine hits, eight of them singles.

“We can't sit around waiting for the three-run homer,” Coach John Savage said. “That's not coming around.”

Filia had four hits, all singles. He is not the typical No. 3 batter. But nothing about UCLA's offense is typical.

“We can't beat anyone 9-1,” Savage said. “We'll fight you, that's kind of been our identity.”

Filia embodies that. He had more pop in his bat at Huntington Beach Edison High but found that the bats in college were without pop because of the NCAA's new regulations.

But Filia, who is hitting .278 this season, remains dangerous. He is 10 for 17 this postseason.

“He's a talented hitter who hasn't hit, is basically the deal,” Savage said. “That's not a knock on him. He's very capable. You saw that tonight.”

With one out in the 10th, Brian Carroll and Kevin Kramer singled. Filia punched an 0-2 pitch to right for the lead, and Pat Vailaka's sacrifice fly provided a little breathing room.

Plutko was a sixth-round pick by the Houston Astros out of Glendora High, but no major league team wanted him through the first 10 rounds this year.

“It was a very emotional day for Adam,” Savage said. “He was a three-time all-conference player, he has won 27 games. To not get drafted is, to say the least, difficult. You just didn't know how he was going to respond.”

Plutko gave up six hits and left after seven innings with a 3-1 lead.

“That's one of the best performances in UCLA history,” Savage said.

Fullerton Coach Rick Vanderhook did not feel the same about his team. Fullerton stranded eight runners and had two others thrown out on the basepaths. The Titans also committed two errors.

“At this point in the season, if you give away too much, you lose,” Vanderhook said.

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

For the record: An earlier version of this report said that David Berg struck out J.D. Davis to end the game. Berg struck out Michael Lorenzen for the final out.

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