June 7, 2013
Filia, Bruins Top Titans
By Abbey Mastracco
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Calif. — The theatrics were out in
full force, Friday afternoon at Goodwin Field. It was everything
one could have hoped for in a postseason game, complete with a
dramatic late-inning comeback, a 10th inning game-winner and a
stalemate matchup between an All-American closer and a
first-round draft pick.
No. 8 UCLA walked away with the first win of the
Fullerton Super Regional – a 5-3 victory over No. 3 Cal State
Fullerton, after the hot-hitting Eric Filia sent a hard liner to
right field to score the game-winner in the 10th.
“They beat us,” Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook
said. “We gave them too much and at this point of the season if
you give away too much you lose and that’s what happens.”
Filia, playing near his Orange County home of
Huntington Beach, went 4 for 5 with a run and an RBI. The one
RBI was a big one.
Cal State Fullerton (51-9) came back to tie the
game in the bottom of the eighth with two runs, knotting things
up at 3-3. After a scoreless ninth, UCLA (43-17) put two on with
one out in the 10th, including Kevin Kramer’s liner that went
for a single to right. Fullerton right fielder Austin Diemer
looked as though he would be able to make the catch but couldn’t
keep it in his glove.
“I don’t think Diemer has ever dropped a line
drive in right field and it ended up being the biggest play of
the game,” Vanderhook said. “He catches that ball every time.”
Filia, who had three straight singles to all
three fields at the point, made the Titans pay. He waited for
his pitch – a curveball – which J.D. Davis left up over the
middle and grounded it through the right side to score Brian
Carroll, who had a one-out line-shot single to left.
“He threw me two high fastballs and I knew he was
going to come with a curveball,” Filia said. “He wasn’t really
commanding it all game. He left it up and I stayed short with it
and drove through it.”
A deep fly to right by Pat Valaika scored Kramer
for an extra insurance run.
“We can’t beat anybody 9-1, we played close games
all season,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “Tonight’s game was
sort of our style of baseball.”
to form, UCLA’s all-time postseason wins leader Adam Plutko
(right) turned in another gutsy performance. Plutko confounded
the Fullerton hitters through seven innings, getting in little
trouble but always pitching himself right out of it. The junior,
who was undrafted as of Friday, gave up just a single earned run
on six hits, walking one and blanking two but would not get a
“Our whole plan against Plutko all week was to
keep it out of the air and we didn’t do that,” Vanderhook said.
After Plutko’s exit, two of the top arms in a
bullpen that is among the best in the nation, gave up two
combined runs, allowing the Titans to tie it up at 3-3 in the
eighth. James Kaprielian walked Richy Pedroza, the only batter
he faced, and David Berg (pictured above) blew his second save
of the season when J.D. Davis drove in a run on a grounder and
Michael Lorenzen fought off a two-strike pitch from Berg to
drive in the tying run on an infield single.
But Berg was able to turn it around.
In a tense bottom of the 10th, Berg’s third
inning of work, he gave up two singles with just one out. In an
all-out battle of an at-bat with Davis and the count full, Berg
threw a bold pitch - a nasty slider - to catch Davis looking.
“With a 3-2, I just thought that was the right
pitch to go with there,” Berg said. “I made some good pitches
and he fought. I threw [a fastball] right by him. I know 3-2 he
was probably going to be looking for another fastball but I have
confidence in all of my pitches.”
With his 54th and final pitch, he struck out
Lorenzen (2 for 5, RBI), the 38th overall pick in the draft this
week, to end the game. Berg earned the win and moved to 7-0
while Davis (1-2) took the loss.
“He grinded it out, that was a lot of pitches,”
Vanderhook said. “That was one-on-one and that’s what that game
comes to be when you’re at the plate as a pitcher.”
Neither team is looking too far ahead after
Friday’s game. There is more baseball left to be played and the
stage is set for a highly competitive series.
“It’s one game,” Savage said. “We’re up one game,
but tomorrow when you tee it up it’s going to be as competitive
as it was tonight.”
(photo by Don Liebig ASUCLA)