The Cal baseball team did not commit any errors on Saturday afternoon against Lehigh — a feat the Bears have achieved in only one other game this season.
But the defense, while impressive, was not the story at Evans Diamond in Cal’s 9-3 win over the Mountain Hawks.
The Bears’ offense, which struggled to score against a stalwart Long Beach State rotation and slumped against the University of San Francisco, came alive against the Lehigh pitching staff.
Granted, the Mountain Hawks (2-3) are a far cry from a playoff-caliber team, but the Bears’ bats were satisfied simply to come out of hibernation, banging out 13 hits.
“Offense is kinda a rhythm thing,” said Cal head coach David Esquer. “Maybe get the weather warmer here, get some confidence at the plate, get some hits in a real ballgame — that’ll go a real long way for a group.
“It was big. Some guys took some better swings today.”
Some of Cal’s runs came from seemingly the most unlikely of sources. Shortstop Derek Campbell, who entered the game batting a paltry .100, went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, including his first career home run. The sophomore’s solo shot over the left field wall in the second inning put Cal up, 2-0.
Right fielder Danny Oh was another pleasant surprise for the Bears (6-2). The senior from Mill Creek, Wash., came to the plate in the third inning with two outs and the bases loaded. Oh made his lone hit of the game count, grounding it through the infield to center field for a two-run single.
Oh extended the inning for Campbell, who drove in third baseman Chris Paul with a single to bring the Bears’ tally to 6-0, four of which were scored in the third inning alone.
The next two times Oh came to the plate, the bases were loaded, but he couldn’t manage another hit.
Still, Esquer will take it.
“If you go 1-for-3 with the bases loaded all the time, you could probably play a long time,” Esquer said. “We’ve got to continue to do that. We’re getting runners on, we just haven’t gotten that big hit. We got one of those today.”
Other sources of Cal’s runs weren’t quite as surprising. Second baseman Tony Renda continued his eight-game hitting streak, raking two doubles and scoring twice in his 3-for-5 day.
Catcher Chadd Krist, who is tied for the team lead with four doubles this year, added another two-bagger to score Mike Reuvenkamp in the seventh inning. Krist went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI.
Justin Jones earned the win, putting in seven innings of work. The lefty improved to 2-1 on the year, giving up just four hits and striking out three.
Jones settled into a groove starting in the second inning, retiring nine consecutive batters before giving up a single to shortstop Ryan Gajdos. Jones then mowed down the next six Lehigh hitters he saw before Esquer went to the bullpen.
Junior righty Ryan Wertenberger joined the club this season after being on the Cal football team as a quarterback from 2008-2010 and not seeing any playing time. He made his debut for the Bears in the ninth inning, giving up all three of Lehigh’s runs.