Feb. 10, 2012

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Nine Innings with Adam Plutko

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

Phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @RoadToOmaha


Sophomore right-hander Adam Plutko will anchor the UCLA pitching staff in 2012. A native of Glendora, Calif., Plutko was the Sunday starter for the Bruins as a freshman, going 7-4 in 16 outings with a 2.01 ERA. He allowed 24 walks and struck out 92 in 107.2 innings, while opponents hit just .193 against him. Plutko was named All-Pac-10 and was a Freshman All-American. He was taken in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.


Plutko recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning – You were a teammate of two outstanding pitchers last year in Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole. What did you learn from Bauer?

I’ve learned a lot from him about pitching, about mixing up pitches, when to throw offspeed and selecting different pitch locations. He had a fantastic season last year, and being able to watch him deal with pressure and success taught me how to handle the spotlight.


Second Inning – What did you learn from Cole?

Gerrit was an instrumental part of our team, our pitching staff and our success. Being able to watch him take the ball every Friday night and set the tone for our team was very valuable for me. He also showed me how to work and succeed as a power pitcher.


Third Inning – What were the other keys for your success as a freshman at UCLA?

I was able to work on my mental game, in particular, working with our mental skills coach Ken Ravizza. Our head coach, John Savage, helped me adjust to the college game and overcome my inexperience at this level. My teammates were a huge factor in my success because they always supported me.


Fourth Inning – How beneficial was it for you to have worked with veteran catcher Steve Rodriguez last season?

Having Steve behind the plate was one of most the beneficial things for me, particularly as a freshman. Having a veteran behind the plate who was also a team captain really helped me with any situation on the mound.


Fifth Inning – What are your thoughts about taking over as the ace for the Bruins?

I’m excited, and I’m ready for a new challenge. I like that target on my back and I want to fully embrace it.


Sixth Inning – Has any newcomer caught your eye in practice for UCLA?

I don’t think there’s one person who I could pinpoint. But as a whole, our incoming hitters have really stepped up. I’m excited to see how they’re going to help our team this year.


Seventh Inning – What should we expect from the Bruins in 2012?

I expect our team to go to Omaha and win the College World Series. That’s been our goal since day one and we’re working hard to get there.


Eighth Inning – Your sister, Sara, was a three-year letterwinner in soccer at Oregon. Did she offer any advice on being a collegiate student-athlete?

She helped me a lot with the academic side of things. She not only excelled as a soccer player, but she was very accomplished in the classroom. She earned all-academic honors every year. She has really helped me with the student part of being a student-athlete.


Ninth Inning – What were the biggest factors in your decision to delay your professional career after high school to attend UCLA?

One of the factors was location. I’d rather spend my time at a great university in Westwood, compared to being in a remote town that has maybe 1,000 people living there. Also, having the opportunity to work with John Savage, who I believe is the best pitching coach in the country, was something that I could not turn down.


(photos courtesy of UCLA Media Relations Office)