Everyone Chips In As UCLA Downs Utah, 5-2

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

A true whole team effort led the Bruins to a series opening win over the Utes.

UCLA used 12 players on Friday night and every single one of them made a contribution. Literally.

Of the nine Bruins position players, eight got hits. Christoph Bono was the lone exception, but even he chipped in with two walks. Meanwhile, Adam Plutko earned the win with seven innings of two-run, five strikeout ball before Zack Weiss and David Berg each tossed a shutout inning to down Utah 5-2 in a true team win.

The Bruins jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning. Brian Carroll and Kevin Kramer each singled to start the game before Eric Filia roped a single to right, scoring one. Pat Valaika followed with a sacrifice fly and UCLA had themselves a 2-0 lead.

Braden Anderson answered with a two-run homer in the third to tie the game, but the Bruins came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Once again, it was Carroll doing the work as he started the inning with a single before stealing second and taking third on Kramer's groundout. From there, Filia just had to hit a ground ball, which he did, and Carroll was able to come home and score.

An inning later, UCLA restored their two run lead and as was the case in the first and third innings, the scoring started with the leadoff man. This time around it was Cody Regis, not Carroll, who got UCLA going with a leadoff single and after Shane Zeile walked, Regis was standing in scoring position. That brought up Pat Gallagher, who pulled a grounder through the right side to score Regis and UCLA led 4-2.

With the exception of the two-run homer, Plutko was never really in trouble. Only once did Utah put a man in scoring position as the junior mowed down the Utes until a leadoff double in the eighth ended his outing. That brought Weiss on, who retired the first three batters he saw to end the Utah rally.

UCLA added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth when Zeile singled home Valaika for a 5-2 lead. That gave Berg some wiggle room, which he used when he allowed consecutive one-out singles, but as soon as he was in trouble, he was out of it. The standout sophomore got the next two men and the Bruins had themselves a series opening victory.

With the win, UCLA improves to 29-13 overall and 12-7 in the Pac-12, but it didn't bring them any closer to first place in the conference. Oregon and Oregon St. both won, leaving the Bruins the same 3.5 games back of first place that they started the night at.

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