Jeff Gelalich was one of few bright spots for the Bruins (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
For three innings, Adam Plutko was unhittable, but baseball is not a three-inning game. Eventually, the powerful Stanford offense got to him and once that happened, UCLA was in trouble. Mark Appel showed why he is expected to be one of the top picks in June's MLB Draft with seven inning of one-run ball, adding 10 strike outs in a dominating performance that left the Bruins no chance once the Cardinal offense got going. The result was a convincing 7-2 Stanford win that has UCLA on the back foot now and in need of consecutive wins to take the series.
Plutko was efficient in his first three innings and the only base runner who reached in the first three frames was via a walk and even then he was thrown out trying to steal. The next three innings were not as kind to Plutko, though. By the time he exited after 5.2 innings he had surrendered seven runs on nine hits, four of which were for extra bases, including two home runs. Grant Watson struck out three in 2.1 innings of relief and Zack Ortiz worked a scoreless ninth, but by then the game was already out of reach.
Despite some hits early in the ballgame, UCLA couldn't cash in. Jeff Gelalich had three of them and added a run and a stolen base. Pat Valaika had two hits in the contest, including a solo home run and Cody Regis had two hits and a RBI, but those three accounted for seven of the Bruins' nine hits in the contest as the offense sputtered.
UCLA had the first chances to score in the game, getting opportunities in both the second and third innings. Singles by Gelalich and Regis put men on the corners with one out in the second, but Valaika hit into an inning-ending double play. In the next inning, Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch and Tyler Heineman singled, but they were also left on base.
It took until the fourth inning for the Cardinal to even get an opportunity, but when they did, they took advantage. Tyler Gaffney kicked off the scoring with a solo home run with one out in the fourth, then a single and double plated another run and Stanford was ahead, 2-0.
Gelalich got in scoring position again in the fourth when he singled and stole second, but he was left there, which really hurt when the Cardinal put together a four-run fifth inning. A hit by pitch and single put men on the corners before a sacrifice fly made it a 3-0 ballgame. After a single, Stephen Piscotty belted a three-run home run to left and the game was all but over at 6-0.
A Williams single and wild pitch put a man in scoring position for the fourth consecutive inning in the fifth, but once again, he was left there. Another Stanford run in the sixth inning then added to the Bruins' misery as they found themselves seven runs down.
The Bruins finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth, thanks to Gelalich, of course. The junior singled with one out and took second on an error so a single by Regis scored him. Even then, though, UCLA left runners out there as Valaika singled to put two on, only to have both left on base.
A solo home run by Valaika in the ninth was good for his first of the year and second of his career, but not nearly enough to put any pressure on the Cardinal as they cruised to an easy win.