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Utah baseball: No. 6 UCLA Bruins hammer Utes, plating 16 runs

By Sam Strong

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, March 30 2012 10:12 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah baseball team was looking to start its Pac-12 home schedule on the right foot after treading water in its first two conference road series.

The No. 6 UCLA Bruins made sure that didn't happen, shutting out the Utes and spraying hits all over the field en route to an 16-0 win at Spring Mobile Ballpark. UCLA sophomore pitcher Adam Plutko, a former sixth-round MLB draft pick, posted 6 2?3 scoreless innings and struck out six Utah batters, allowing just four hits.

Despite losing its two best starting pitchers from a season ago, both of them top-five draft picks, the defending Pac-10 champion Bruins have found a way to stay atop the NCAA's premier conference: lighting up the scoreboard.

After struggling offensively last season, the Bruins have used offense to key their hot start, rattling off 12 straight wins earlier this year. A total of 10 different UCLA players had hits Friday.

"That's the best team we've faced based on one game," Utah coach Bill Kinneberg said. "That's pretty impressive, 16 runs on 16 hits. Every guys has a nice swing, not may weaknesses. They made every hit count. They had a purpose when they went to the plate."

Utah junior right-hander Joe Pond was overmatched by UCLA's deep lineup.

Pond was removed in the fourth inning after giving up six hits and five earned runs.

Utah (7-17, 3-4 Pac-12) and UCLA (18-5, 5-2) will square off again today at 1 p.m. at Spring Mobile with the series finale coming Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Glad this one's over," Kinneberg said. "It's a new day tomorrow. It's a 0-0 game when it starts. Let's put this one behind us and let's go play and battle. I just want to see us play the game correctly. That's what I always look for. Whether we win or lose, I just want to make sure we play the game correctly."

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