OMAHA, Neb. UCLA followed its script yet again.
The Bruins churned out a few early runs and let their pitching and defense take care of the rest in a 3-1 victory over Mississippi State on Monday night in the opener of the College World Series finals.
UCLA is one win from its first national championship in baseball and its record 109th in a team sport.
"We dodged some bullets, no doubt about it, but you have to give credit to our defense," Bruins coach John Savage said. "Kind of a Bruin game. Tight game, and at the end of the night, we were fortunate to come out with the win."
The Bruins (48-17) held off a Bulldogs team that stranded runners in scoring position in four of the last six innings.
Pat Valaika's single gave UCLA a 1-0 lead in the first. Eric Filia's two-out, two-run single made it 3-0 in the fourth.
Bruins starter Adam Plutko limited Mississippi State (51-19) to one run and four hits in six innings and got plenty of help from his defense. Filia made a great catch in right field to rob Trey Porter of extra bases in the fourth, and second baseman Cody Regis made two diving stops and started both of UCLA's double plays.
Dave Berg, making his 50th appearance of the season, went the final 1 2/3 innings for his NCAA-record 24th save.
"Records are meant to be broken, but titles are what matter," Berg said.