Nobody cares about the process of baseball. Nobody remembers the Oakland A’s going 20-26 to open up the 2002 season, or the Boston Red Sox opening up the 2004 American League Championship Series 0-3. What people do remember are the end results.
Although the Cal baseball team has yet to win 20 straight games or make it to the World Series after a four-game comeback, after it swept Washington in three games and outscored the Cougars 28-9, no one is talking about the Bears’ old four-game losing streak.
After the sweep, Cal stands at 12-13 in a season that has been filled with plenty of highs and just as many lows.
After getting bumped up to the Friday starter role last week against UCLA, freshman pitcher Jared Horn fared much better this time around against Washington State (14-11). Horn struggled to find the strike zone against the Bruins, walking five in four innings pitched in a 9-5 loss. And while he still had trouble locating his pitches Friday, once again walking five batters, he qualified for the win by pitching six innings of shutout ball on five hits.
Games two and three also provided a great bounceback platform for Saturday’s starter, sophomore Joey Matulovich. Prior to his start against the Bruins, Matulovich lasted eight innings on the mound and allowed only one earned run — all while only recording one strikeout. He regressed some against UCLA, lasting only five innings and giving up three earned runs, but bounced right back to his normal self this Saturday, striking out seven over six and one-third.
Although he did not start, dual-threat sophomore Tanner Dodson led the charge for the Bears during Sunday’s finale with his bat. Serving as the game’s designated hitter, Dodson went four for five with three RBI and ended the series six for 11. He didn’t fare too well on the mound, however, giving up a pair of runs (one earned) in a relief outing during Sunday’s 9-5 Bear victory.
On the contrary, freshman first baseman Andrew Vaughn solidified his worthiness as a late inning arm by setting up closer Erik Martinez with a quiet eighth inning Saturday. With the scoreless outing, Vaughn’s ERA now stands at a tidy 2.57, while his .462 weekend average raised his slash line to a gaudy .361/.386/.565.
Sophomore catcher Tyrus Greene also had himself a weekend, going six for 11 while framing the weekend rotation to a 1.08 ERA. Also, peculiar for a catcher, Greene did all of his damage out of the leadoff spot, which showcases Cal head coach David Esquer’s willingness to think outside the box to get his young team winning.
Among the other notables on offense were sophomore outfielder Jonah Davis, who collected five RBI over the weekend, and sophomore Jeffrey Mitchell Jr., who connected for four hits. When an offense scores 28 runs over the weekend, it’s hard not to find a contributor.
For anyone who has watched the Cal baseball team this season, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Bears were to lose their next four games, or if they were to extend their win streak to six. But what this series shows is that Cal has the pieces to compete. The only question is if they can keep it together for more than a series or two at a time.
Chris Tril is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].