The Associated Press
Omaha, Neb. —
Adam Plutko limited Mississippi State to a run on four hits in six innings, and UCLA survived some anxious moments to beat the Bulldogs 3-1 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night.
Plutko retired nine straight to start, worked out of trouble twice and turned the game over to the bullpen in the seventh. The Bulldogs (51-19) left runners in scoring position four of the last six innings.
The Bruins (48-17) are one win from their first national championship in baseball. Mississippi State must win Game 2 on Tuesday night to keep alive its hopes for its first NCAA title in any sport.
UCLA made it 3-0 in the fourth on Eric Filia's two-out single off Chad Girodo, who replaced starter Trevor Fitts (0-1) in the second. That was the last of the Bruins' six hits.
Plutko (10-3) walked in the Bulldogs' run in the fourth.
The way Mississippi State fans showed up for the College World Series finals, it made one wonder whether anyone was left in the Magnolia State on Monday night.
Bulldogs fan Sherry Elmore was walking through the left-field concourse when she happened upon a neighbor who lives in the house behind her in Columbus, Miss.
Small world, huh?
Sherry and her husband, Steve, and Wendy Jolly drove the 870 miles to Omaha in 14 hours, arriving Sunday night. Steve didn't have enough vacation time to come for the start of the CWS, but he said there was nothing that would stop him from making the trip if the Bulldogs made it to the finals.
They did, and here he is.
"We follow the Dawgs wherever they go," Steve said.
Mississippi State spokesman Joe Dier estimated the maroon-and-white turnout at 8,000, roughly a third of the crowd at TD Ameritrade Park. Longtime CWS ticket chairman Herb Hames said he had never seen such a rush of fans pour into town for the finals.
About 1,000 people lined up Monday morning in a heavy thunderstorm for the sale of 1,000 reserved tickets for Game 1, Hames said, and all but a few wore Mississippi State colors. Tickets were sold through a lottery system. People shut out for reserved seats could buy general admission tickets, and they did en masse, Hames said.
A couple dozen Bulldogs fans were lined up outside the GA gate by noon, five hours before it opened.
Game two is set for tonight and game three, if necessary, is Wednesday.