With one more weekend series in the books, the Cal men’s baseball team remained perfect at home, securing a hard-fought series sweep over Brown.
The Bears were carried by different heros each game. Sophomore Andrew Vaughn continued his rampage, hitting two bombs Friday to increase his season tally to nine. Freshman Darren Baker proved that the size of the moment was no big deal as he captured the team’s first walk-off home run of the year. Lastly, junior Tyrus Greene provided his late game magic Sunday to help seal a come-from-behind victory.
While the starting pitching may have been spotty at times, the bullpen was rock-solid, recording 14.2 innings without yielding a single earned run throughout the weekend.
In the first game of a doubleheader, the Bears turned to sophomore Jared Horn. Horn was far from dominant, however, as he yielded six runs on 11 hits over 5.2 innings.
Senior Zayne Patino relieved Horn and was simply immaculate, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings.
Unlike the team’s pitching, Cal’s offense remained consistent. In the first, Vaughn doubled down the left field line to bring one in, and a solo homerun by freshman Sam Wezniak ignited the crowd into a frenzy.
After Brown plated five runs in the top half of the sixth inning to tie the ballgame, Cal quickly responded in the bottom half behind a monster three-run home run to center field by Vaughn.
Cal would eventually earn an 11-6 victory.
The second game of the double header was a much closer affair.
The Bears struck in the first inning by putting up six runs on four hits, highlighted by a two-run single by Greene.
Brown answered in the second with four runs off sophomore Rogelio Reyes to cut into the deficit, chasing Reyes in the fourth after another flurry. Junior Joey Matulovich entered with two outs and surrendered Cal’s early advantage after a single and wild pitch.
The Bears responded in the bottom of the sixth when Vaughn smashed his second homer of the day.
But it was in the seventh when sophomore Korey Lee received a pitch to hit in his wheelhouse that he made no mistake about. He launched one to left field to put Cal up 10-9, a lead that ultimately stood as the final score.
Junior Aaron Shortridge started and pitched well, but he surrendered three long balls that accounted for his only earned runs.
The Bears managed to manufacture a run in both the fifth and seventh innings, but they still trailed 3-2 going into the ninth.
After junior Ripken Reyes drew a one-out walk, freshman Connor Mack came into pinch run. With two outs and Mack on third, Baker squeaked an infield single to send things to extras.
After sophomore Arman Sabouri delivered three scoreless innings, Baker led off the 12th and put the game to bed. The second baseman drove one to left field, capping off the 4-3 victory.
“Even though he’s a freshman, he really understands the game a bit beyond his years,” said Cal head coach Mike Neu. “He’s got a lot of savvy for a young guy, and he’s come up big for us in a lot of situations early on, so it’s fun to see him do such a great job.”
In the series finale, the Bears turned to senior Matt Ladrech to complete the sweep. Ladrech was efficient over seven innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits.
The teams would find themselves knotted at five in the seventh when junior Jonah Davis hit an RBI ground out to the right side of the infield.
After Brown added a run in the top half of the eighth, Greene stepped up to the plate with a runner on second and two outs. On a 1-1 count, he followed in Vaughn and Baker’s footsteps in what proved to be the decisive moment in the game.
In the end, Cal won, 7-6, to secure its second series sweep of the young season.
Praveen Kuruppu covers baseball. Contact him at