Adam Plutko was fabulous on Friday (Photo Credit: Scott Wu)
When Adam Plutko is at his best, UCLA doesn't need to do much offensively to get the win. On Friday night at Safeco Field in Seattle, Plutko was at his best so all the Bruins needed was one two-RBI single by Tyler Heineman and the job was done. They just sat back from then on and watched Plutko go to work before the bullpen came on to wrap up a 2-0 UCLA win over Washington as the Bruins improved to 33-13 on the season and 13-9 in the Pac-12.
Plutko walked out on the big league mound at Safeco Field, toed the rubber and never looked out of place in his seven shutout innings of work. The sophomore struck out four and allowed just five hits en route to picking up a win that bumps his record to 7-3 on the year. Plutko had the Huskies out of sorts all game in a thoroughly dominant performance for the right-hander. David Berg made yet another appearance and tossed a scoreless inning before Scott Griggs came on in the ninth to pick up his 12th save by striking out the side.
The offense wasn't asked to do much and they didn't. Heineman's two RBI accounted for all the Bruins' scoring and Cody Regis and Beau Amaral scored the only runs. The Bruins did get producting from the middle of the lineup as Cody Keefer and Jeff Gelalich each picked up a pair of hits, but UCLA had just seven hits in the ballgame. With Heineman's two RBI and Plutko's dominance, though, seven was more than enough.
Washington's best chance to score came in the first inning when they picked up consecutive one-out singles, but Plutko followed that up with a strikeout. Then after a walk loaded the bases, Plutko got an inning-ending strikeout to sit the Huskies down and avoid early damage.
Finally in the third inning, UCLA gave Plutko some support. Regis led off the frame with a walk and Kevin Williams was hit by a pitch with one out to put two on base. Amaral followed with a grounder to second base, but the Huskies couldn't get two, keeping the inning alive. Amaral proceeded to steal second, which was key because that's when Heineman singled back up the middle, scoring both Regis and Amaral for what would prove to be the only runs of the ballgame.
A single and passed ball put a man in scoring position for Washington in the fifth, but Plutko didn't even let them put the ball in fair territory after that as a couple foul outs ended the inning. Two singles gave the Huskies some hope in the fifth, but a strikeout ended that inning.
All the while, the Bruin offense wasn't doing anything. They weren't even threatening and their only hits were coming with two outs or were followed by a double play.
When Plutko's day did come to an end after seven frames, he handed the ball to Berg. In his Pac-12 leading 33rd appearance, the freshman worked quickly to sit down the Huskies and ensure the Bruins' lead into the ninth.
UCLA had a chance to add to their lead in the top of the ninth, but even when they finally got a chance to score, they couldn't. Keefer and Gelalich had consecutive one-out singles and Pat Valaika was hit by a pitch with two out to load the bags, but a fly out ended the inning.
That missed opportunity was worrisome for Bruin fans who saw Griggs struggle to come close to the plate in his last two outings, but on Friday he was locked in. He did allow a two-out single, but his fastball command was there and he simply overpowered the Huskies with three ninth inning strikeouts to wrap up another Bruin victory.