Adam Plutko carried a no-hitter into the seventh on Friday (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
Adam Plutko has been good all year in his first season as UCLA's ace, but he's only been dominant once -- against Georgia in early March. Now he's been dominant twice. The right-hander was absolutely sensational on Friday night against Oregon St., tossing a perfect three innings, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning and exiting the game after 7.2 innings without giving up a run and having surrendered just two hits.
With the way Plutko pitched, UCLA was on easy street and picked up a 4-0 win in Corvallis. The victory pushed the Bruins' record to 26-8 on the year and 11-5 in the Pac-12, where they remained in a three-way tie for first place as Arizona and Oregon also picked up wins on Friday.
Once Plutko's day was done, he handed the ball to David Berg, who continued his sensational freshman season. The side-armer threw 1.1 innings in relief of Plutko, stretching his scoreless innings streak to 15 frames.
It was the usual suspects who got the job done for the Bruin offense. Beau Amaral had just one hit, but he made it count as he ripped a solo home run that gave UCLA a lead they held onto all game. The homer also extended the junior's hitting streak to 20 games. Cody Keefer added two hits and two RBI of his own, while Kevin Williams had a hit, a walk and two runs at the bottom of the Bruins' order.
UCLA put men in scoring position in each of the first two innings, but couldn't score a run in either. It didn't matter much because Plutko was sitting Oregon St. down in order, but they were still relieved to finally get on the board in the third when Amaral hit the second pitch of the inning eight rows deep in right field for his fourth home run of the season.
A walk to start the fourth inning ended Plutko's bid at a perfect game and after a sacrifice bunt, passed ball and walk, the Beavers were putting pressure on him with men on the corners and two out. The sophomore then went to a full count, but he induced a fly ball to center field, keeping the Bruins' lead intact.
With just seven hits in the game, UCLA wasn't knocking the ball around at will, but they did work six walks and were hit by pitches three times to keep the pressure on Oregon St. That paid off in the fifth when a Williams walk and Tyler Heineman hit by pitch put two on with one out. That's when Keefer laced a single up the middle, scoring Williams and allowing Heineman to take third. A groundout by Jeff Gelalich then plated Heineman and the Bruins were holding a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, Williams got the Bruins going once again. A single started the frame and Williams took second and third on two separate groundouts. That's when Keefer singled him home for the second time in the game to stretch the Bruins' lead to 4-0.
Oregon St. finally broke up Plutko's no-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning and they followed it up with a second base hit to put two on with nobody out. That's when Plutko buckled down, striking out the following batter before inducing a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.
A two-out walk in the seventh inning ending Plutko's day, who exited to an ovation from a classy Oregon St. crowd, but all that meant was Berg coming on to continue Plutko's work. The freshman didn't allow a hit as he picked up the final four outs of the game and UCLA grabbed a vital series opening win at Goss Stadium to remain tied atop the Pac-12.