The Cal baseball team managed just one run in each of its first two games against No. 14 Arizona at Evans Diamond. On Sunday afternoon, the Bears’ offense finally found a spark, putting a three-spot on the board in the second inning.
Unfortunately for Cal, the big inning was a spark that was quickly snuffed out instead of igniting a lasting fire. The Bears (25-22, 9-15 in the Pac-12) only managed one more run the rest of the game, falling 7-4 to the Wildcats to get swept for the third time this season.
“When (clutch hitting) is an issue that you’ll say out-loud, one (big hit) is not enough,” said Cal coach David Esquer.
Down 3-0 to Arizona (33-15, 16-8), two singles put runners aboard in the second inning for catcher Chadd Krist. The senior — who was hitless in the series — obliterated a ball to left field, but it just tailed foul. Krist still got Cal’s first RBI, coming through with a single to plate first baseman Mitch Delfino. Freshman Brenden Farney came through with the big hit, knocking a two-run double deep to right-center to tie the game.
Cal’s offensive surge in the bottom of the second gave the Bears the most momentum they had all weekend. After giving up three runs in the first and loading the bases in the second, starter Justin Jones needed a lights-out inning to sustain that swing.
Instead, a questionable call at first base put Robert Refsnyder on base, and Jones proceeded to shoot himself in the foot. Trying to keep Refsnyder at first, Jones airmailed a pickoff throw to allow the runner to get to third. Designated hitter Bobby Brown drove Refsnyder in to retake the lead, 4-3.
Jones made three errors on the day and only lasted four innings. The southpaw gave up six hits — none for extra bases — and gave up five runs.
“We’re not good at creating our own breaks,” Esquer said. “When you play on such a fine line, you think those breaks are the margin of victory. But when you create some margin for error with good baseball, consistent offense and all those things, you forget those.”
Arizona extended its lead to 5-3 in the fourth inning with an RBI single from third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean. Sophomore Mike Reuvekamp came around to score in the bottom half of the inning on a RBI groundout by leadoff hitter Darrel Matthews, cutting the deficit to one run.
The Bears did not put a runner in scoring position for the rest of the game. Not even Tony Renda — who leads the team with 64 hits — could ignite the Bears, going 0-for-4 on the day. Delfino was the lone Bear to notch more than one hit, going 3-for-4.
Arizona, meanwhile, extended its lead in the sixth and eighth innings. Left fielder Johnny Field scorched a leadoff double, and a sac bunt and a sac fly brought him home in the sixth. Field took reliever Kyle Porter deep in his next at bat, pummeling the ball well over the left field fence. Field finished 4-for-5 on the day with three runs scored.
The Bears take on Washington State tomorrow at Evans Diamond in a non-conference contest at 12 p.m.