Cal baseball travels to Creighton University for final nonconference series of 2018

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Zichen Zhao/File

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Flying all the way to Nebraska, Cal baseball has much more than just corn on its mind as the team begins winding down its season with a three-game series at Creighton.

The Bears (29-19, 14-13) will take on the Bluejays (32-15, 8-9) in their final nonconference series of the year. The Bluejays will come into the weekend riding a six-game win streak, having just beat Nebraska, Nebraska Omaha and Villanova.

Welcoming West Coast competition to TD Ameritrade Park for the first time all season, Creighton has established its strength at home. Powering the team’s 13-5 home record and offense are the Bluejays’ sophomore Will Robertson and junior Clark Brinkman.

Robertson is hitting .326 and has 41 runs and 58 RBI already this season, not to mention his 12 home runs. Brinkman, too, will be sure to challenge Cal’s defense as he has consistently been one of Creighton’s leading batters with his .313 batting average and 50 runs.

Though certainly strong, the Bluejays will be pushed by the Bears, who feature a slew of talented players.

Among them, sophomore Andrew Vaughn — a true jack-of-all-trades — has helped lead the team to its 29-19 record. While the Bears have struggled during conference play, barely regaining a winning conference record, Cal took a game off of USC before sweeping Arizona. The Bears are riding a nice little four-game win streak of their own.

Vaughn has been at the core of it all. The sophomore has made 443 catches, is hitting a .410 average and has scored 54 runs. Also contributing to the Bears’ talent, juniors Tyrus Greene, Tanner Dodson and Jonah Davis have all played instrumental roles thus far this season.

The Bears’ offense features five players hitting .300 and above, which is sure to tax the arms of the Bluejays’ pitching staff.

Dodson, a versatile two-way player, has also proved valuable as a pitcher for the Bears, maintaining a 2.09 ERA and sporting a 2-0 win-loss record. Cal will need to bring a strong offense as well as defense to come out on top of Creighton.

The teams haven’t seen much of the same competition this season, and the little overlap between their schedules that does exist isn’t very telling of how the series will go this weekend.

Cal beat UC Davis 9-3, and the Bluejays likewise took three wins over the Aggies in the second weekend of their season. Similarly, both teams beat Xavier in their respective showdowns, though Creighton did drop one game to the Musketeers.

The Bears need to come away with three wins in the Midwest if they want to build up their playoff campaign and have a hope to qualify for the Big Dance. Cal will need to maintain its competitive edge and hot offense in Nebraska this weekend if it is looking to leave with anything more than corn.

Surina Khurana covers beach volleyball. Contact her at [email protected].