The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 20, 2013

UCLA skipper: Plutko, Vander Tuig deserve their due

OMAHA, Neb. — UCLA coach John Savage says it’s about time for Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig to get their due.

The Bruins’ formidable 1-2 pitching combo doesn’t receive the same fanfare Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer did a couple of years ago. Few do. After all, Cole was taken No. 1 overall in the major league draft and Bauer No. 3.

The star of the UCLA staff is side-arming reliever David Berg, who was Pac-12 pitcher of the year, first-team All-America and Stopper of the Year.

But Plutko and Vander Tuig, who aren’t even third-team All-Americans, have been hard to miss at the College World Series. Each allowed one run on four hits in seven innings in 2-1 victories, with Plutko doing it against LSU on Sunday and Vander Tuig against North Carolina State on Tuesday.

“I really think they’re two of the most underrated players in the country, and I think they’re showing that right now,” UCLA coach John Savage said.

Plutko (9-3, 2.29 ERA) is in his third year as a starter and in his second as the Bruins’ No. 1. Vander Tuig (13-4, 2.31) was the Bruins’ closer as a freshman and has been starting for two years.

Plutko is more consistent than overwhelming with a fastball in the high 80s to low 90s. He was disappointed when he slipped to the 11th round in the recent draft, where he was selected by the Cleveland Indians.

Vander Tuig came back from Tommy John surgery in high school to become the San Francisco Giants’ sixth-round pick. He touches the low 90s with his fastball and possesses a wicked changeup.

“I really kind of look at them almost like professionals right now in the sense that their work habits in between starts, their conditioning, their throwing programs, their bullpens — they’re well-schooled. We would never be in the position we are without those two guys.”

UCLA is in control of its bracket. The Bruins need a win over North Carolina or North Carolina State on Friday night to reach next week’s finals. If they lose Friday, they would play a rematch Saturday, with the winner advancing to the finals. Savage has not announced his pitching plans, though Grant Watson (8-3) is next in line.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tiger in the hunt after day one at Bridgestone

    AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Not just from back surgery, but from making bogeys....

    August 1, 2014

  • Cardinals land Lackey, shore up rotation

    BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday’s deadline....

    August 1, 2014

  • Defensive indefernce in Big-D as injury suffles front seven

    OXNARD, Calif. — Rookie pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence’s broken foot didn’t send the Dallas Cowboys scrambling because they’re already in rebuilding mode with their defensive line....

    August 1, 2014

  • Rams’ go with youth in secondary

    ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams secondary doesn’t have veteran leaders, high-dollar talent or big names. Those handling spots on the last line of defense are confident they won’t be a liability....

    August 1, 2014

  • Tigers go all in on Price

    DETROIT — When David Price was finally traded, it was to an unexpected bidder. The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday....

    August 1, 2014

  • Oakland lands Lester, Gomes in exchange for Cespedes

    OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before Thursday’s trade deadline....

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014