Tyler Heineman and Jeff Gelalich both extended their hitting streaks to nine games (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
It wasn't the prettiest of games, but it didn't have to be and after pitching fabulously and losing two weeks ago and pitching poorly and losing last week, Adam Plutko is just happy to finally get a win. The bullpen was on point once again as they tossed three scoreless frames to stretch their scoreless innings streak to 9.2 and the offense pounded out nine hits for five runs in their biggest Friday night output of the season. The result was a 5-2 UCLA win over Sacramento St. that pushed the Bruins' winning streak to four games and their record on the year to 6-3.
Once again, the bullpen was there to wrap things up for the Bruins. The relievers were supposed to be UCLA's Achille's heel, but David Berg worked a pefect frame, Ryan Deeter and Grant Watson combined for a scoreless inning and Scott Griggs' scoreless ninth earned him his third save of the year. Plutko started and struggled with four walks and an error that scored a run for the Hornets, but he did manage six innings and struck out nine with just one earned run across on two hits to get the win.
At the plate, Jeff Gelalich and Tyler Heineman led the way once again. Each picked up a pair of hits to extend their hit streaks to nine (each game this season) with Heineman scoring a run and Gelalich continuing to do a bit of everything in driving a run in, walking once and stealing a bag. Cody Keefer also picked up a pair of hits as the heart of the Bruin order came through all game long.
As has become the norm for UCLA, they were off to a quick start on Friday. Heineman singled to put a man on and then Gelalich ripped a two-out double into right field, allowing Heineman to come around and score for the 1-0 Bruin lead.
Two innings later, the Bruins doubled their lead. Beau Amaral was hit by a pitch and Heineman singled to put two on with one out. After a ground out pushed each up 90 feet a passed ball allowed Amaral to race home and score for the Bruins' second run of the ballgame.
The UCLA lead would be erased in the fifth inning and it was entire only Plutko as he struggled through the frame. He started the inning by walking the first two batters and then when the Hornets put down a sacrifice bunt, Plutko threw the ball away at first base. That allowed a run to score and another to move to third. A batter later, UCLA's lead was gone when they got a double play, but the man from third scored to even the score at two apiece.
The Bruins were able to grab the lead back the following inning, though. Trevor Brown was hit by a pitch and Cody Regis walked to put two on with one out when Pat Valaika singled to left. Brown came scampering around from third and the Bruins were back on top. Then with two outs, Kevin Williams picked up a single and Regis scored to restore UCLA's two-run lead at 4-2.
The heart of the UCLA order, and a bit of help from the Hornets, allowed the Bruins to add to their lead once more in the seventh. Keefer and Gelalich picked up consecutive singled that put Keefer on third and while it looked like the threat would be wasted when Regis followed with a strikeout, the third strike got away from the catcher. Regis was able to reach on the dropped third strike and Keefer was able to score from second on the strike three wild pitch and the Bruins pushed their lead to 5-2.
Meanwhile, the Bruin bullpen was shutting things down. It wasn't exactly efficient as they, like Plutko, struggled with control and walked three in three innings, but they kept the Hornets off of the scoreboard for the final three innings to put a bow on the UCLA win.
With a Friday night win under their belts, UCLA won't have to go into survival mode on Saturday and can just look to win the series. Nick Vander Tuig will be the man on the mound charged with grabbing the series win, while Sacramento St. will counter with Tanner Mendonca in the 2 pm PT contest at Jackie Robinson Stadium.