Ten months ago at Santa Clara’s Stephen Schott Stadium, the Cal baseball team played its most meaningful games in years, if not the program’s entire history. On the verge of losing their century-old squad, the Bears salvaged the program’s future and advanced to the College World Series with a pair of historic wins.
On Wednesday night, the Bears took the field under those same lights, but they couldn’t produce the same magic.
Despite pitching good enough to keep the Bears in the game and getting several timely hits, defense once again doomed Cal in an 8-5 loss at Santa Clara, the squad’s fourth consecutive loss.
Logan Scott, making just his third start in as many seasons, put Cal in an early hole in his first start of the year. Of the eight Broncos who came to the plate in the inning, seven reached base, but right fielder Andrew Knapp threw out Santa Clara’s C.J. Jacobe at the plate to end the inning and curtail the damage.
Scott settled down after his slow start, throwing two scoreless innings, but his ERA jumped by over a point, from 3.26 to 4.43. The righty allowed seven hits, two hit batters, and four runs in three innings of work — all earned.
But Cal (17-14, 2-8 in the Pac-12) came charging back after Scott departed. Tony Renda led off the fourth inning with a solo home run, his third of the season. Three batters later, Chad Bunting doubled down the left field line to cut the deficit in half and advanced to third on an error. The senior came home on a sac fly by Darrel Matthews, which cut the Broncos’ lead to 4-3.
An inning later, the Bears tied the game at four when Vince Bruno walked, stole second, and came home on a Mitch Delfino single.
But the hope was short-lived.
Santa Clara (18-12) tacked on a run each in the fifth and sixth innings after shoddy defense by the Bears. An error by Derek Campbell, his 11th of the season, led to the Broncos retaking the lead on Peter Summerville’s RBI single. An inning later, an error on pitcher Chris Muse-Fisher (1-1) allowed Matt Glomb to score on a one-out sac fly. Muse-Fisher was charged with both runs, neither of which was earned.
Cal’s defensive problems would only continue. The Bears added a run in the seventh on a Mitch Delfino RBI single, but it wouldn’t be enough. Delfino finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, but a defensive miscue put the game out of reach.
An error on Delfino opened the door for Santa Clara in the eighth. After Michael Lowden induced two infield outs, back-to-back walks loaded the bases for the Broncos. Drew Ozanne’s two-run-single gave Santa Clara some much needed breathing room, extending its lead to 8-5.
Max Deering pitched the ninth for the Broncos to earn his third save.
The Bears return to the Pac-12 schedule on Friday, when they begin a three-game series in Berkeley against Washington.