The UCLA Bruins took all the air out of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebr. on Friday, June 15 in the first inning of Game 1 of the 2012 College World Series by scoring five runs against Omaha's adopted team, the Stony Brook Seawolves. UCLA cruised to a 9-1 win in front of an estimated crowd of 23,000.
Here are four reasons why.
A Record Inning
UCLA sent ten men to the plate in the first inning, scoring five runs which is the most runs in any CWS inning in TD Ameritrade Park history. Three teams had four-run innings during the 2011 CWS. The Bruins were the last team to score five runs in the first inning during the CWS, doing so against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs on June 26, 2010 at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Johnson Wasn't Himself
The seven earned runs given up by Stony Brook starting pitcher Tyler Johnson (who dropped to 12-2 and saw his ERA go from 1.94 to 2.52) was a season high. His previous high was six, in the America East Tournament, against Maine on May 23.
"I just wasn't on today," Johnson said in the postgame press conference. "I thought I hit a few spots every once and a while down there, but even when I did, I would throw the ball a couple more inches outside."
Plutko Was Himself
Depending largely on his fastball, UCLA starting pitcher Adam Plutko gave up just one earned run in seven innings, walking two and striking out seven, improving his record to 12-3 and lowering his ERA to 2.48. After the game, he was asked how he could be so successful by depending so much on his fastball.
"I think a lot of it has to do with deception in my delivery," Plutko said. "I'm a flat ball pitcher, and I don't shy away from that. It's a lot easier to get outs with the ball in the air than with the ball on the ground. A lot more things can happen that way."
UCLA was 6-for-15 (.400) with runners in scoring position, 3-for-11 (.273) with two outs and 3-for-3 with runners on third base. Stony Brook was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, 0-for-9 with two outs and 0-for-2 with runners on third.
"It was a typical Bruin win, really," said UCLA head coach John Savage. "Nothing fancy. No big home runs or anything like that. It was just more kind of plate discipline. Using the middle of the field. I think we walked eight or nine times [turned out to be eight] in nine hits, and we played catch and we threw strikes."Lee Warren is a freelance writer who lives in Omaha, Nebraska and will be covering the 2012 College World Series for YCN.