In the top of the fifth, Cal reliever Stephen Pistoresi took not one but two batted balls off his body. The first, a grounder, struck him just above his left knee. The second, a screaming line drive, smacked him square in the backside — a tangible manifestation of the bruising No. 6 Stanford’s lineup handed out to Cal’s pitchers Monday.
Unlike Pistoresi, who shook off the blows to finish the inning, the Bears (17-13, 2-7 in the Pac-12) could not call it quits after the fifth. They continued to take their lumps all the way to the end, eventually limping off of Evans Diamond with the team’s worst home loss since 2002.
“You have to (forget it and move on) at this point,” said Cal head coach David Esquer. “I don’t know what to attribute it to, but hopefully it’s just an aberration.”
In battering the Bears 19-6, Stanford (20-7, 4-5) racked up runs at an alarming clip. They scored four runs per inning three times and began the day by sending nine men to the plate in the top of the first.
No Cal pitcher lasted more than three innings at the mercy of the Cardinal. The only pitcher to escape unscathed was reliever Matt Evanoff, who faced mostly Stanford benchwarmers in his late-game mop up duty.
The top six of Stanford’s batting order rocked the Bears’ pitchers all day, combining for 19 hits, 18 runs scored and 17 RBIs. No. 2 hitter Austin Wilson scored on five of his six trips to the plate, benefiting from the two hitters directly behind him. No. 3 hitter Stephen Piscotty went 3-for-5 with seven RBIs, including a three-run blast in the second which landed well beyond the 365-foot marker in left center. Cleanup batter Brian Ragira went 5-for-6 with five RBIs.
To put it another way: only two spots in the Stanford lineup failed to score.
But the lopsided final score doesn’t tell the entire story. Cal stranded 13 runners on base and produced just two runs out of four bases-loaded opportunities.
“They weren’t firing their best bullets, either,” Esquer said. “They didn’t have a whole lot in the pen left, either, so I mean it could’ve just turned into one of those (slugfests), but it never did.”
Designated hitter Vince Bruno had three hits while first baseman Mitch Delfino chipped in two, but neither made it home. Second baseman Tony Renda led the way on the day for the Bears, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs.
Cal barely has time to catch its breath before heading to Santa Clara Tuesday, where the squad will tackle the 17-12 Broncos in its fifth game in six days. The Bears have lost three games in a row and will hope to get back on track before a difficult series next weekend against Pac-12 foe Washington.