On Friday night, the Cal baseball team was one strike away from winning its three-game series against USC. The Bears had a 1-0 lead, and closer Logan Scott had runners on second and third with two outs at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles.
Second baseman James Roberts had other ideas. The sophomore was hitting .250 on the year, the lowest batting average of any Trojan in the lineup, but he made his one hit of the game count. On a 2-2 pitch from closer Logan Scott, Roberts roped a single that brought both pinch runners in to score, ending the game with a 2-1 USC victory.
Just the night before, the Bears had delivered a similar blow to the Trojans. Cal trailed 4-3 in the ninth, but manufactured two runs to come away with a 5-4 win. The Bears will try again to capture their first Pac-12 series of the season on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Friday’s contest was a quintessential pitchers’ duel between USC righty Andrew Triggs, who pitched a complete game and got the win, and Cal starter Matt Flemer. Triggs fanned eight batters and allowed just one run on a sacrifice fly by catcher Chadd Krist in the sixth that scored designated hitter Vince Bruno.
Flemer went 7 2/3 innings in a lights-out performance, allowing just four hits and striking out six. The senior didn’t yield a hit until the fifth inning, but faced a bases-loaded and one out jam in the sixth inning. Flemer calmly worked through the inning, getting a pop up and a strikeout to preserve his 1-0 lead.
Scott relieved Flemer with two down in the eighth and the tying run at second. He ended the threat with a pop up, but couldn’t lock down what would have been his seventh save of the year in the ninth. A leadoff single and a hit-by-pitch put the two runners on base, which Roberts drove home.