Omaha, Neb. – UCLA hung on to a 2-1 victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack aided by an unstoppable pitching performance from Nick Vander Tuig and David Berg on Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
With the win, UCLA improves to 46-17 on the season and 2-0 at the College World Series while NC State falls to 50-15 and into the losers’ bracket. NC State will face elimination against the University of North Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT, and UCLA will face the winner of that game on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.
NC State jumped on the board first in the bottom of the third inning and took a 1-0 lead. UCLA starting pitcher, Vander Tuig, hit leadoff hitter, Bryan Adametz, and Jake Armstrong followed with a single through the left side. Logan Ratledge laid down a sacrifice bunt to give the Wolfpack runners on second and third with one out, and Trea Turner singled through the left side to bring in the Wolfpack’s lone run.
NC State right-hander Logan Jernigan coasted through four innings, retiring 13 of the first 16 UCLA batters before giving up a walk, single and another walk in the fifth. Head coach Elliott Avent looked to Grant Sasser in relief, but NC State would not escape the inning unscathed.
Kevin Kramer singled to centerfield to bring in the Bruins’ first run of the game in Cody Regis. One out later, Sasser threw a wild pitch that bounced past catcher Brett Austin, and Brenton Allen scored on the pitch to give UCLA a 2-1 lead.
After the third inning, Vander Tuig settled in and recorded the next 11 outs in order. But in the eighth, Vander Tuig gave up a leadoff single to Bryan Adametz, and right-hander Berg – who has pitched in each of UCLA’s last 14 NCAA Tournament games going back to 2012 – came in for relief. After hitting Armstrong, Berg retired the side to hold UCLA’s lead at 2-1.
Berg gave up a two-out single in the ninth, but extinguished NC State’s last hope by striking out Shane Zeile to end the game.
Vander Tuig earned the win and improved to 13-4 on the season. He went seven complete innings and allowing one run (earned) on four hits, one hit-by-pitch and struck out six. Berg earned his 23rd save of the season – tying an NCAA single-season record for saves in a season, allowing only one hit and struck out three.
Jernigan took the loss for NC State and falls to 1-1. He gave up two runs (both earned) on three hits, three walks and struck out three.