The crowd was sparse for Cal baseball’s chilly Tuesday night matchup against Sacramento State — as was the team’s typically active offense. The Bears recorded their 15th loss of the season in a nonconference matchup against the Hornets, 4-1, as the team’s bats produced just two hits on the evening.
The Bears’ only savior from putting up a goose egg was sophomore Korey Lee, who went yard in the bottom of the third — good for his fourth home run of the season.
While senior Andrew Buckley faltered in the second inning on the mound, the team’s relievers the rest of the way got the job done to keep the team’s struggling offense in the game. Sophomore Arman Sabouri and senior Erik Martinez combined for 12 strikeouts and one hit over 7.2 innings of work.
Cal couldn’t handle a midweek matchup with an unranked opponent, so who knows what is to come this weekend? The squad travels to Palo Alto on Thursday to kickstart a three-game series with the No. 2 team in the nation — Stanford.
The Bears only received a couple of days of downtime between games, but they will be forced to get ready to go to work for their seventh series of conference play.
Buckley got the nod to start the evening on the mound for the Bears. Sophomore Korey Lee was pitted behind the plate in lieu of junior Tyrus Greene, who has seen most of the action at the position this year.
The Hornets stung first and ultimately chased Cal’s starter early, recording four runs in the top of the second. After an RBI single from sophomore Josh Urps, Sacramento State would bring in three more runs in the frame.
Buckley’s start was short-lived, as he was promptly replaced by Sabouri after giving up an early four-spot and recording just four outs.
The Bears had an opportunity to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth, with men on first and third and two down as freshman Darren Baker dug into the box for his second at-bat of the night. Per his walkup song (“Blow the Whistle” by Too $hort), Baker certainly had the confidence — but he must not have had the superpowers — as he lined out to end the threat after working the count full.
The Hornets sent six different players to the mound over the duration of the ballgame, and all six proved to be too much for the blue and gold to handle. Though Sacramento State’s pitcher recorded just five strikeouts, the Bears’ lack of hard-ball hitting minimized their opportunities.
Cal will head to Palo Alto for a likely unfriendly encounter against Stanford, a team that has wreaked havoc across the Pac-12 after leapfrogging Oregon State to become the top team in the conference.
The Cardinal boast a 31-5 overall record and a 12-3 conference record and are one of the hottest teams in the nation. Stanford will be riding an eight-game win streak into the series, seeking its fourth Pac-12 sweep on the year.
The Bears will counter with an offense that is likely frustrated after Tuesday’s dud at the plate. Cal’s teamwide batting average still stands at a robust .303 and will challenge Stanford’s top-10 pitching staff, which gives up a mere 2.61 earned runs per game.
Christie Aguilar is an assistant sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].