Having just surrendered a two-run lead in the top of the seventh, the Cal baseball team stormed back in the bottom half of the frame to win Friday’s game, 7-6, against Washington.
With designated hitter Vince Bruno standing 90 feet away, second baseman Tony Renda ripped a double off the third baseman’s glove, breaking the 3-3 tie and propelling the Bears to the win. Renda then scored with some aggressive baserunning on first baseman Mitch Delfino’s single.
The win breaks the Bears’ four-game losing streak.
The Bears (18-14, 3-7 in the Pac-12) put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth when a grounder down the first base line by Bruno took a wicked hop over Huskies first baseman Trevor Mitsui’s glove. Cal left fielder Darrel Matthews and shortstop Chris Paul scored on the play, making the score 7-3.
The Bears endured a nervy top of the ninth in which the Huskies left the tying run on third. Washington (17-14, 4-6) loaded the bases with two outs and scored two runs on second baseman Robert Pehl’s single and an error by Renda. Donofrio then threw a wild pitch, allowing the Huskies to close within one run before Washington pinch hitter Michael Camporeale grounded out to short to end it.
Reliever Joey Donofrio (4-1) earned the win for his 2 1/3 innings of work, in which he gave up three runs. Starter Michael Theofanopoulus threw 6 2/3 strong innings, giving up only three runs on 10 hits.
Renda acted as the Bears’ spark plug all day, going 2-for-4 with one run scored and three RBIs. Bruno went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Matthews added two hits and two runs of his own.
After giving up a run in the top of the second, Cal took the lead in the bottom of the third on second baseman Tony Renda’s single, which scored designated hitter Vince Bruno and right fielder Andrew Knapp. The Bears added another run in the bottom of the fourth when left fielder Darrel Matthews scored on a groundout by third baseman Derek Campbell.
Cal stayed on top until the top of the seventh, when Theofanopoulus ran into trouble. Huskies first baseman Trevor Mitsui led off the inning with a double. Washington catcher B.K. Santy singled up the middle, which Cal center fielder Chad Bunting misplayed to allow Mitsui to cross the plate. After a sacrifice bunt moved Santy to third, Huskies center fielder Jayce Ray brought him home with a single.
The game remained knotted until Renda’s double plated Bruno in the bottom half of the inning.
Cal’s defense — so often a liability this season — saved two runs at the plate on the day. In the top of the third, Knapp turned a double play by gunning down Ray, who was trying to score on a fly ball. Ray was again thrown out at home in the top of the fifth, when he tried to score from second on a Theofanopoulus wild pitch.
Cal and Washington will play again Saturday at 1 p.m.