UCLA got another outstanding pitching effort to move within one game of the championship series with a 2-1 victory over North Carolina State in the winner's bracket game of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
North Carolina State, which has given up just three earned runs through two games in Omaha, couldn't muster much offense against Nick Vander Tuig, who improved to 13-4 with seven-plus spectacular innings for the Bruins (46-17). He allowed one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Vander Tuig gave up a leadoff single to Jake Adametz in the eighth and was relieved by David Berg. Berg hit Jake Armstrong with a pitch but got Logan Ratledge to hit into a fielder's choice. He then got Trea Turner on a deep fly-out to left and then struck out Jake Fincher. He pitched the ninth for his 23rd save, tying the national record for saves in a season.
Logan Jernigan (1-1) took the loss for North Carolina State (50-15). He gave up two runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings.
North Carolina State scored the first run in the bottom of the third. Adametz was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Armstrong singled to left, moving Adametz to second. A sacrifice by Ratledge moved the runners to second and third. Turner singled to left, scoring Adametz, but Armstrong was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on an overthrow.
UCLA grabbed the lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, the Bruins put three straight runners on base on two walks and a single. Kevin Kramer singled to center, scoring Cody Regis and leaving the bases loaded. After a foul-out, Brenton Allen scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
From there the pitching took over.
UCLA now gets to set up its rotation for a final run at the championship series. The Bruins face the winner of North Carolina vs. North Carolina State at 8 p.m. (EDT) Friday. North Carolina eliminated LSU on Tuesday.
The ACC rivals will complete a strange best-of-five season series to determine UCLA's next opponent. They split two games in the regular season. North Carolina won an 18-inning game in the ACC tournament. And NC State defeated the Tar Heels 8-1 in the opening round of the CWS in Omaha. Whoever the final opponent turns out to be, UCLA will have two chances to advance.
NOTES: North Carolina State is making its first appearance in the College World Series since 1968. The 45 years between appearances is second only to Oregon State, which went 53 years between 1952 and 2005. ... UCLA is making its fifth appearance, but third in the last four years.