Cal baseball captures first series win in sweep over CSU Bakersfield

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Bring out the brooms.

In its first home series of the season, the Cal baseball team delivered the goods for head coach Mike Neu in a complete obliteration of CSU Bakersfield.

By the end of Sunday afternoon, the Bears had scored 58 runs in what turned out to be an offensive exhibition.

“Last week was a little bit disappointing,” said Neu. “I thought our guys did a real nice job this week playing defense, pitching and giving us a chance to whittle away and break through.”

Behind strong pitching and a revitalization of their bats, the Bears romped the Roadrunners.

Sophomore pitcher Jared Horn picked up his second win of the season while sophomore Andrew Vaughn continued to prove why he is an early-season favorite for Pac-12 Player of the Year.

From the onset, Cal was on a mission to get back to winning ways after dropping its last two games on the road in San Diego.

Friday

On a brisk Friday evening, Cal would go on an offensive barrage in its home opener, scoring 17 runs on 16 hits. After junior catcher Tyrus Greene threw out Roadrunners senior left fielder Christian Deaton stealing third base to end the top frame of the first inning, the Bears quickly responded in the bottom half.

After a one-out double by freshman Darren Baker, Vaughn picked up right where he left off last weekend, launching a two-run home run over the right-center-field fence.

The first baseman continued his hot streak by homering for the second time of the game in the eighth inning. Vaughn, along with junior Jonah Davis, would go on to tally four RBI on the night.

Horn turned in another quality start giving up four earned runs in five innings while striking out nine of the 24 batters that he faced. In the bullpen, Cal responded nicely from last weekend by only conceding one earned run in four innings of work.

In the end, Cal easily took care of business in its first showing at Evans Diamond, winning 17-6.

Saturday

The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a much closer affair, best characterized by a strong pitching matchup.

CSU Bakersfield struck first in the second frame behind a two-run double by junior Noah Barba. The Roadrunners would manage to get one more across in the fourth when freshman Evan Berkey managed to double to center field scoring a run.

The Bears’ offense cooled off a bit after Friday night’s fireworks but was able to get in some timely hits. In the third, Cal started a two-out rally after a double by Greene; Baker was able to bring him home on a single up the middle.

Cal would go on to add two more runs in the fourth inning to tie up the game.

In the sixth inning, junior Ripken Reyes broke the deadlock when he homered to left center. The Bears would tack on one more run in the inning and go on to take a 5-3 lead.

Cal would not look back, as sophomore Arman Sabouri and junior Tanner Dodson shut the door on the Roadrunners to take the second game of the series, 5-3.

The second game of the doubleheader was another offensive display of firepower. Scoring in every inning other than the fifth, the Bears put up 23 runs on 24 hits. Vaughn, Davis, and freshman Sam Wezniak all homered in a rout.

Sophomore Rogelio Reyes earned his first win of the season behind six strong innings and gave up only one earned run.

Sunday

The last game of the series was more of the same domination. Senior Matt Ladrech was spectacular in seven innings of work, only giving up one earned run.

Behind a two-out rally in the fifth inning, Cal scored seven runs, only to follow up the firepower with a five more runs in the following frame.

In the end, Cal comfortably won 13-2.

Overall, the Bears were able to get the job done in front of their home crowd. After an impressive series opener, Cal will look to build on its success throughout the rest of nonconference play. But for now, Neu will celebrate his first series win as a head coach.

Praveen Kuruppu covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].