The Cal baseball team entered Evans Diamond on Saturday night with plenty on the line. A day earlier, it had lost the first game of a three game series to Oregon, and the Bears knew that they needed to come out strong or risk losing their first Pac-12 series of the season. But in the end, the Ducks were just too much of a challenge for the Bears, beating Cal with a final score of 13-2.
Still, starting pitcher Jared Horn tried to not let the situation get the better of him. Although he entered the matchup with solid results from his previous outings, the Ducks were just too skilled for the freshman. Horn was forced to sit down after allowing five earned runs and four hits in only 2.1 innings of pitching.
Despite getting outplayed in the game’s opening innings, the Bears seemed to have found their stride in the first. Sophomore Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. ripped a one-out double in the bottom of the first to get things going for Cal, and freshman Andrew Vaughn stepped up to the plate with an RBI opportunity to take full advantage of it. He instantly made Oregon starting pitcher Matt Mercer regret his pitch selection, pulling a ball over the left field wall to give the Bears a 2-0 lead.
It didn’t take long, however, for the Ducks to strike back. Horn fell into trouble in the top of the third by allowing a pair of walks to put runners on first and second with redshirt senior Jake Bennett coming to the plate. Bennett came through for the Ducks, hitting a base bit to right field to load the bases. Things only got worse for the Bears when Oregon freshman Gabe Matthews came up to bat.
Matthews was able to get two Ducks, as the Bears failed to turn the bases for a double play.
The situation only got worse, with Horn allowing another two runs off two infield hits to make the score 4-2. The ball eventually was handed to relief pitcher Arman Sabouri, who allowed one more earned run before closing the inning out. The inning eventually ended with a score of 9-2 after it was all said and done.
The Bears played sloppy defense throughout the entire third inning, with the Bears allowing extra runners to get on base after a pair of errors. One of these runners that came around to score was Oregon freshman Spencer Steer, who was allowed on base after a bad hop on the ball forced Cals shortstop to make an error while attempting to field the ball.
In the end the deficit of the third inning was just too much for the Bears to overcome. Cal eventually lost game two of the three game series 13-2. The Bears will have one more shot Sunday to pick up their first Pac-12 victory of the season.
“As a competitor, they either cannot wait to get out here tomorrow, and I hope that’s who they are and who I think they are,” said Cal head coach David Esquer. “Or there’s a feeling of it doesn’t matter — we can play them 20 times and the results going to be the same. I believe they’re the type of team that can’t wait to come back out here, and that’s what you want.”
Alex Quintana covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].