Cal’s striking pitching leads to 9-1 opening-day win

Related Posts

On Friday afternoon, the Cal baseball team dominated Pacific in a 9-1 win to start off the 2012 season.

On a beautiful opening day in Berkeley, lefthander Justin Jones threw five innings to earn the win and the Bears’ bats woke up late to pound out 11 hits and take advantage of a key Pacific defensive miscue.

The Cal pitchers held the Tigers’ bats in check for the entire game, combining to allow just six hits while striking out 10. Righthander Joey Donofrio leaned on a devastating slider through two stellar innings in relief, striking out three in an encouraging performance for the Bears’ untested relief corps.

“Our pitching was able to keep us in there until our bats exploded,” said centerfielder Chad Bunting.

The game was tight through five innings, but it unraveled for Pacific in the bottom of the sixth under heavy pressure from Cal’s hitters.

With the Bears leading 2-1, first baseman Andrew Knapp led off with a single and advanced to third on Bunting’s double. After third basemen Mitch Delfino flied out to left field, right fielder Danny Oh hit a soft grounder to short. Instead of throwing to first, Pacific shortstop Josh Simms tried to get Bunting at third but threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score.

With the door kicked open, Cal piled it on. The bats added one more run in the sixth, another in the seventh and three insurance runs in the eighth to put the game away.

Bunting led the offensive with two doubles and two runs scored while third baseman Mitch Delfino, catcher Chadd Krist and designated hitter Jason Wark contributed two RBI apiece. Delfino and second basemen Tony Renda both scored two runs.

The only cloud on an otherwise clear day at Evans Diamond was the two errors Cal committed on defense — but coach David Esquer said he expects those to go away.

“It takes a little while to get your defensive rhythm as a team,” he said. “We practiced very well defensively, so I think we’re very capable of playing good defense.”