The final box score Monday night showed UCLA relievers getting credit for nine outs to finish the job that pitcher Adam Plutko started.
Four of the first six came with some assistance — and good timing — from the middle of the Bruins' infield.
UCLA second baseman Cody Regis started 4-6-3 double plays in both the seventh and eighth innings, helping the Bruins turn away late Mississippi State threats in a 3-1 victory to start the CWS championship series.
That helped serve as a reminder that there's more to UCLA than its praise-worthy pitching and questionable hitting.
“I think our defense is unbelievable, how we go nine-on-one and how we kind of smother the hitter,” Regis said. “That's something we definitely pride ourselves in.”
Regis stayed busy, handling five other ground balls as UCLA became the first opponent to hold Mississippi State to less than two runs since a 3-0 loss at Mississippi on May 11. The Bruins needed the fielding help as their pitchers only struck out two Bulldogs.
“Our defense is very underrated,” UCLA catcher Shane Zeile said. “It's what has helped us get this far. It's very stable. Everybody trusts each other.”