Beau Amaral's three-run home run capped a big UCLA win (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
A five-run first inning was just the start for UCLA. They scored in each of the first four innings and while they may have been coming off of finals week (a couple players even got to the game after first pitch because they were finishing their last final), the Bruins never looked like a team that was focused on anything else other than baseball on Friday night. Add good pitching to go with their explosive early offense and the Bruins were in control all night, crushing Washington St., 12-3, to take game one of the Pac-12 series.
Beau Amaral was the star at the plate for UCLA, picking up a couple hits and scoring a couple runs to go along with a massive three-run homer. Tyler Heineman and Cody Keefer also had big nights, giving the Bruins a deadly top three in the lineup, with the former picking up three hits, two runs and a RBI, while the latter had two hits, two RBI and a run. Eric Filia-Snyder also continued to impress and make a case to stay in the regular lineup with a couple RBI in the Bruins; 12-hit effort.
Adam Plutko was hurt by one big inning last week and the same was true again this week, although with three runs across, it wasn't nearly as bad. Outside of the three-run inning, Plutko was dominant, striking out five in the first two innings and 10 overall. The sophomore surrendered just four hits and two earned runs in six innings to pick up the win and push his record to 3-1 on the year. David Berg, Chase Brewer and Zack Ortiz each worked an inning in relief of Plutko, allowed no runs and just one hit to finish things up.
Amaral led off the first inning with a walk and singles by Heineman and Keefer brought him around to score for an early UCLA run. After that, the Bruins got some help from the Cougars as a hit by pitch loaded the bases for Cody Regis, who hit a sacrifice fly to put UCLA up a pair. An error followed and kept the inning alive, while also allowing Heineman to score before Filia-Snyder roped a single to score two more for a five-run first inning.
UCLA tacked on two more in the second inning and once again, it started with Amaral. The junior singled to start the frame and once again, Heineman and Keefer followed him up with singles to score him. After an error let Heineman take third, a Trevor Brown groundout allowed him to score and the Bruins were up 7-0.
A leadoff double by Valaika has the Bruins in business again in the third and when Heineman looped a single into left with two outs, Valaika came home to score.
Jeff Gelalich did some work on the bases in the fourth when he walked then stole second and third to put him 90 feet away from home. All it took was a groundout from there and he was in for a 9-0 Bruin lead.
Plutko carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but he saw that vanish just two pitches into the frame when the Cougars picked up a leadoff double. A walk followed, then another double, which scored Wazzu's first run of the game. An error on the double also allowed a second run to score, as well as push the man to third base so a groundout was able to score him.
The Bruins were still comfortable with their 9-3 lead, but Amaral took it upon himself to stretch their lead back to nine runs in the seventh. After Brian Carroll walked and Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch, Amaral turned on one and launched it way out to right field. It didn't come down until it plunked down on the roof of the hitting facility in right field for a three-run home run and a 12-3 UCLA lead.
The trio of Bruin relievers had no problems getting out of the game without a scare. They put a bow on things, securing the win that pushes UCLA's record to 16-4 on the year and 3-1 in conference play.