Flemer’s complete game clinches Cal’s first Pac-12 series win

Michael Gethers/File
Matt Flemer earned the win on Saturday, giving up four hits and one earned run in nine innings.

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In the bottom of the seventh inning, with one out and runners on first and second, third baseman Derek Campbell belted a long shot into left-center field.

By the time the ball bounced off the wall and left fielder Joe Meggs’ glove, both Darrel Matthews and Chris Paul reached home, breaking a 2-2 deadlock with Washington. Designated hitter Vince Bruno followed Campbell’s lead with a line drive double, padding the lead to 5-2.

The three-run seventh inning was all starting pitcher Matt Flemer needed to win the game. For the last two innings, Flemer allowed no hits and runs to record his first complete game of his career and give the Cal baseball team (19-14, 4-7 in the Pac-12) a valuable 5-2 victory. Following Friday’s 7-6 decision, Saturday’s win against the Huskies (17-15, 4-7) clinched the Bears’ first Pac-12 series win this season.

There were several Cal players that lit up the scoreboard this game. Second baseman Tony Renda went 3-for-3 with a home run in the fourth inning. Matthews had a solid game with the bat, going 2-for-3, including the single that ignited the seventh inning offense.

But by far the most impressive statline was Flemer’s: in nine innings, Flemer allowed only four hits, one walk and six strikeouts. His 2.15 ERA is now only two-hundredths below team ERA leader Chris Muse-Fisher, a reliever who only pitched 12 ⅔ innings this season.

“Matt’s been our go-to guy this season,” said Cal coach David Esquer. “He’s been outstanding in his last four starts.”

Flemer ran into trouble in the third inning when he allowed the first run of the game off a single by center fielder Jayce Ray. In the fourth inning, the Bears’ shaky defense allowed two errors to double Washington’s lead.

Cal totaled three errors in the contest. In yet another addition to the Bears’ reputation as a shaky defensive team, Esquer felt fortunate that they came out with a win.

“We’ve had shaky defense most of the season,” Esquer said. “The margin of error between our defense and Washington scoring in this game was Matt Flemer.”

Buoyed by the three-run cushion in the seventh, Flemer looked confident on the mound. Despite having closer Logan Scott warming up in the bullpen in the eighth inning, Esquer stuck by Flemer to complete the game.

In the ninth inning, Flemer provided a bit of defense for himself. With one out, Flemer picked up a weak groundball and slid to first base, tagging the hitter out just in time.

Cal will look to sweep the Huskies Sunday at 1 p.m. with Justin Jones getting the start.