Dan Wetzel:

Dominant pitching leads UCLA to first baseball title

The SportsXchange

OMAHA, Neb. -- UCLA capped an impressive run through the NCAA Tournament in fitting fashion Tuesday night, holding Mississippi State in check to capture its first NCAA baseball championship with a 8-0 win in the College World Series.

The Bruins swept the best-of-three championship series.

"We've been capable all season long, we have good players," UCLA coach John Savage said. "They just started believing."

UCLA pitchers allowed four runs in their five CWS games after giving up a total of three runs in two games in the super regional.

The Bruins finished the tournament with a 10-0 record despite the regional, super regional and CWS all being double elimination.

UCLA outscored its opposition 44-14 in the 10 postseason games.

The Bruins' 0.80 team ERA in the CWS is the lowest in the metal-bat era, but it wasn't just the pitching staff that kept opponents' scores so low, winning pitcher Nick Vander Tuig said.

"They've been great all year -- the whole entire infield," he said. "I really can't explain how good they are."

Vander Tuig (14-4) gave up five hits and struck out six in eight innings Tuesday, and closer David Berg pitched a scoreless ninth in his NCAA-record-tying 51st appearance of the season.

"What he did tonight, I have no words," said Adam Plutko, the winning pitcher Monday in Game 1 of the title series. "I knew he had it in him."

The 19 runs scored by UCLA (47-17) are the lowest total by a College World Series champion in the metal-bat era.

Eric Filia drove in five runs to lead the Bruins at the plate.

"We just stayed with our approach," Filia said. "We stayed small and barreled balls up. ... We just did a great job battling."

UCLA's Brian Carroll scored the game's first run. He was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Kevin Kramer's sacrifice and came home on Filia's sacrifice fly.

Mississippi State starter Luis Pollorena was relieved by Ross Mitchell after one inning.

The Bruins boosted the lead to 3-0 in the third when Carroll walked with one out, Kramer singled to right and scored by Filia's sacrifice. Pat Valaika followed with a single to center that brought home Kramer.

Vander Tuig retired the first eight Mississippi State hitters before Demarcus Henderson broke through with a two-out single in the third.

The Bulldogs (51-20) threatened in the fourth after Alex Detz led off with a single and Brett Pirtle got to first on an error, but Wes Rea flied out to the warning track in left field.

Mississippi State's Hunter Renfroe said watching that ball was frustrating.

"It's pretty disappointing," Renfroe said. "To see something like that happen is very heartbreaking. In this ballpark, home runs are at a premium. We hit balls all day, hard, right at people. We couldn't help that, that's just the way the game went."

The 2013 run was the deepest by Mississippi State in school history.

"I think what we did was we knocked on the door," Bulldogs coach John Cohen said. "UCLA has knocked on the door before several times, and they knocked down the door, and we didn't do that."

UCLA added two runs in the fourth with an RBI single by Cody Regis and a sacrifice fly by Kramer to boost the lead to 5-0.

The Bruins picked up a run in the sixth on Filia's RBI single with two outs, and Filia drove in two more with an eighth-inning single.

UCLA then closed out the title, three years after finishing as runner-up to South Carolina.

"It means everything," Savage said. "This is for all the Bruins."

NOTES: UCLA earned its 109th NCAA team championship in school history, increasing its national record. ... Mississippi State was aiming for its first NCAA title in school history in any sport. ... The Bruins' starting lineup doesn't have one .300-plus hitter. Filia and Pat Gallagher led the Bruins with .276 batting averages. Filia's 2-for-3 evening boosted his final average to .281, while Gallagher went 1-for-4 and finished at .274. ... UCLA went 42-0 this season when leading after seven innings. ... Berg's 24 saves were an NCAA single-season record.
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