The camera don’t lie: Lehigh had a very, very bad day.
Cal (8-2) smoked the Mountain Hawks (2-5) on both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader, shutting out Lehigh 10-0 in the first game and obliterating them 18-3 in the second.
In both games, the Bears devoured the Mountain Hawks’ starters, who combined to last just two innings on the day while giving up 12 runs.
The nadir arrived early in the first game when Lehigh righty Colin Gotzon, tagged for six runs on six hits through the opening 1.2 frames, got the hook. As he handed the ball to his coach, the first plaintive piano notes echoed over Evans Diamond. Then came Daniel Powter’s mournful melody, telling anyone within earshot just how poorly Lehigh’s pitching performed.
The song set the tone for the rest of the day, as Lehigh bumbled its way through the remainder of the first game and all of the second, and the Bears took advantage of everything the Mountain Hawks threw their way.
The nominally-hawkish Lehigh defense showed its vision to be anything but, struggling to field fly balls and grounders alike, committing seven errors across the two games. Their pitching staff forgot to pack its command for the road trip: in the second game alone Mountain Hawks hurlers hit four Bears batters, walked four more and threw two wild pitches.
Case in point: In the second game, designated hitter Danny Oh came to the plate four times and scored four runs — but only smacked one hit. On his other trips, he reached base on walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Of course, the Bears did not win Sunday on handouts alone. The entire team seized the games by the throat, pounding out 27 hits on the day, including nine doubles. Andrew Knapp headlined the offensive show, batting 3-8 on the day while scoring four runs and driving in five. On the other side of the ball, the pitching staff completely shut the Lehigh offense down, allowing just six hits in the two contests.
In the first game, righty Matt Flemer (2-0) disregarded the dismal opposition to lead the way, striking out seven in seven stellar innings to lower his season ERA to a miniscule 1.23.
“At a certain point you have to forget who the hitter is because no matter what you’re still going to throw your pitches,” he said. “The same pitches I made today are the same pitches I’ve got to make when conference (play) starts. There’s really no difference.”
Sophomore lefty Kyle Porter made his first appearance of the season to start the second game, returning from a shoulder injury to throw one scoreless inning. Pitching coach Mike Neu said the team will try to ease him into his projected role as the number three starter over the next few weeks.
A smattering of Cal pitchers combined to keep the Mountain Hawks in check after Porter’s cameo. Lehigh’s only runs of the day came on an eighth-inning homer that cut the deficit to 15.