A night after failing to come up big in the clutch, the Cal baseball team came through when it mattered most Saturday night.
Cal (24-19, 8-12 in the Pac-12) scored four runs in the fifth inning, and a Chad Bunting 3-run homer opened a five-run lead for the Bears, who defeated Washington State 9-4 at Bailey-Brayton Field. The win evens the series at one game apiece and snaps Cal’s four-game losing streak.
The Bears broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning. Danny Oh tripled and scored the inning’s first run on a Mike Reuvekamp sac fly. Back-to-back-to-back two-out hits from Andrew Knapp, Tony Renda and Mitch Delfino extended Cal’s lead to four.
After Washington State (23-19, 9-12) reduced the deficit to two, Chad Bunting hit a three-run homer down the left-field line just before the seventh-inning stretch.
Kyle Porter and Joey Donofrio threw three scoreless innings to seal the victory for the Bears.
Senior Matt Flemer was just good enough for his seventh win of the season. The righty came into the game with a stellar 1.98 ERA, but his performance Saturday was his worst since a Mar. 10 debacle at Nebraska, ending his streak of seven straight quality starts. Flemer (7-3) allowed four runs in six innings of work, scattering eight hits and three walks against the third-best lineup in the Pac-12.
The senior has gone at least six innings in each of his 12 starts so far this season, 10 of which have been quality starts.
Delfino and Tony Renda each led Cal with three hits apiece. Oh and Reuvekamp, starting in place of Darrel Matthews and Derek Campbell respectively, combined for three hits, two walks and two runs.
The Bears pounded out 14 hits and left just five runners on base in contrast to Friday’s game, where they corralled eight hits but left 11 runners on base.
Justin Jones (3-6, 4.33 ERA) will go for Cal in Sunday’s 12 p.m. rubber match in Pullman, Wash.