It was a long game for Adam Plutko and the rest of the Bruins (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
In a very similar way to UCLA beat up on Cal St. Northridge on Tuesday, Baylor came to Jackie Robinson Stadium and knocked the Bruins around. Nothing went right for the Bruins and the Bears were exceptional from the first pitch to the last, beating UCLA with good pitching, solid defense and an offense without much power, but one that is tough from top to bottom and makes the most of its opportunities. In short, on this night the Bears were everything that the Bruins are striving to be. Baylor was rewarded for their good play on the scoreboard too, cruising to a 15-3 victory over the Bruins to improve to 6-0 on the year, while UCLA dropped to 2-3.
It was a rough game from the very start for the Bruin pitchers and while the Bears' hitters deserve credit for being patient and good approaches, UCLA definitely helped them out on the mound. Adam Plutko lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up five runs in large part because of four walks and two hit batters. Grant Watson followed him up by giving up six runs in 2.2 innings with four walks of his own before Zack Ortiz gave up three runs in 0.2 innings with two walks of his own. Chase Brewer was the only UCLA pitcher not to give away a free pass and he gave up just one run in 2.1 innings.
Coming into the game, Baylor's pitching staff was among the best in the nation so the Bruins weren't expected to do a ton against them and they didn't. Their eight hits was respectable and the three runs they scored is the most that Baylor has surrendered this season, but it wasn't nearly enough. Cody Keefer and Trevor Brown led the way with two hits apiece. Beau Amaral, Jeff Gelalich and Brian Carroll were the run scorers for the Bruins, while Cody Regis and Matt Giovinazzo picked up the two UCLA RBI.
Plutko got into trouble in the first and second innings, but inning-ending double plays got him out of both frames without a run across. He wouldn't be so lucky in the third. A pair of hit by pitches put two men on before a walk loaded the bases, all with two outs. Another walk then pushed the first run of the game across before a double plated two more to give the Bears a three-run advantage.
The fourth inning looked a lot like the third, although Plutko did get an out before the Bears bats got to work. One-out singles started the Baylor rally then a double brought home the first run of the inning. A single then scored another run to make it 5-0 and Plutko's day was done and Watson was on.
The Bruins did get one run back in the bottom half of the inning when Gelalich singled, stole second and scored on a Regis single to make it 5-1.
Just as quickly, Baylor got that run back in the top of the fifth when a single kicked off Kevin Kramer's glove and allowed the man to take second base. After a sacrifice bunt, Baylor got a single to score the run that would make it 6-1.
Amaral started the bottom of the fifth with a hit by pitch and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2. Four runs down is as close as the Bruins would get, though.
The seventh inning is when things came apart for UCLA. A lead off double and walk put two on before a single made it 7-2. After another walk loaded the bases, a double scored two and the Bears were up by seven runs, but they were only getting going. By the time the inning ended, three Bruin pitchers combined to give up eight runs on seven hits and Baylor was up 14-2.
Baylor added to their lead the following inning when a single and consecutive doubles started the inning to plate one and make it 15-2. The Bruins tried to answer when Carroll pinch hit, walked and eventually scored on Giovinazzo's ground out, but it was far too little, far too late. This one was all Bears as they rolled to a deserved victory.
UCLA will now need to grab the final two games of the series to make it a good weekend and that started on Saturday. The Bruins will send Nick Vander Tuig to the mound to try and slow down the red hot Bears in a 2 pm PT start at Jackie Robinson Stadium.