Cal baseball takes series over No. 15 UCLA

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Ethan Epstein/File

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Cal baseball finally emerged from its funk against conference opponents this weekend, taking two of three from No. 15 UCLA this weekend.

Sophomore Andrew Vaughn had another sensational weekend at the plate, going 6 for 13 while driving in six runs.

In the final game of the series, Vaughn further tacked another long ball to his career high in home runs, belting a two-run shot to up his total to 14 on the season.

Heading into the month of April, the sophomore currently sits at the top of the Pac-12 leaderboard in a plethora of offensive statistics, namely batting average and home run.

Vaughn wasn’t the only Bear who shined against the Bruins, as junior Tanner Dodson got it done both at the plate and on the mound.

With a bat in his hand, Dodson recorded at least one hit in every contest, capped off by a four-hit affair in the final game of the series. Dodson also showed off his speed during Friday’s matchup, swiping a pair of bases.

On the rubber, Dodson was nothing short of brilliant, pitching a combined 4.2 scoreless innings in relief in two games.

The dual threat continues to flash his dominance on both sides of the ball, sporting a sub-two ERA on the mound while being a key cog in Cal’s lineup with a .318 batting average.

Game one

The first game of the series was defined by senior Matt Ladrech’s stellar outing on the mound en route to a 5-2 victory.

Despite working on only four days of rest, Ladrech put together a brilliant showing against one of his toughest opponents of the season to date.

Over six quality innings, Ladrech allowed two runs to earn his third victory of the season. At one point in the ballgame, the senior retired 10 straight Bruins.

Ladrech ran into trouble in the seventh inning before being pulled, but he was bailed out by fellow senior Zayne Patino, who shut the door on the Bruins in the frame and, subsequently, the rest of the afternoon.

On offense, junior Jonah Davis propelled the Bears’ offensive machine, going a perfect four for four at the plate with three RBI.

Along with Davis, Vaughn and freshmen Sam Wezniak and Darren Baker all recorded multi-hit games.

Bird, who only allowed an average of 5.5 hits per game heading into his outing against the Bears, allowed a whopping 14 hits on the afternoon.

Game two

UCLA picked up just four hits Friday evening, but those four hits were all that were necessary, as Bruin pitching silenced Cal’s bats en route to a 4-2 win that tied the series.

The Bears’ one through six batters each recorded one hit, but they couldn’t string the base knocks together, stranding eight runners on base throughout the contest.

Sophomore Jared Horn had a respectable outing on the mound, allowing only two runs and three hits over five innings, but he was slated with the loss after surrendering a two-run home run to junior Daniel Amaral in the fifth.

Walks remain a source of inconsistency for Horn — the sophomore’s walks-per-nine-innings total currently sits at 4.71 on the season.

Davis continued his tear at the plate on an otherwise quiet night from Cal hitters, slugging a solo home run in the bottom of the second — his seventh of the season.

Game three

The Cal offense reemerged with a vengeance in the rubber match when it mattered most. Highlighted by a six-run rally in the bottom of the eighth, the Bears bested the Bruins, 8-3.

Cal entered the eighth inning trailing by a single run, but 10 batters, five hits and a UCLA error later, the Bears emerged with a five-run lead heading into the final frame.

It was none other than Vaughn who broke things wide open with a three-run double to right, extending Cal’s lead as UCLA pitching floundered down the stretch.

Similar to the first game of the series, Dodson stepped up on both sides of the ball. In addition to a team-high four hits at the plate, one of which came during Cal’s rally, the junior threw 2.2 innings of scoreless ball in relief.

Junior Aaron Shortridge pitched very well in 6.1 innings of work, surrendering just one earned run and scattering seven hits.

Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jdelossantos510