Those who were late to the game-four showdown between Cal and Cal Poly’s baseball teams missed the entirety of the game — well, most of what mattered. In one of the most lopsided box scores one will ever come across, the Bears and the No. 5 Mustangs combined for 23 runs in the first two innings in the last game of the four-game series between the two squads.
Unfortunately for the Bears (11-12), the majority of the runs came at their expense. In the top of the second inning, Cal exploded for one of its most productive innings of the year, putting up six runs on the board. But Cal Poly (20-4) responded in a resounding manner, scoring 13 runs in the bottom of the frame.
Cal would eventually lose the contest 16-8, sealing the squad’s second-straight series loss and seventh loss in its last eight games. The Bears only won one game and lost three games against the powerhouse Mustangs, leaving the team looking for answers as it dives head-first into the thick of Pac-12 play.
In game four, the Bears were able to score right out of the gate, and a two-run single by second baseman Brenden Farney got the Bears dreaming of a series split. But Cal Poly responded with a two-run first inning as well, getting to starter Alex Martinez early.
But that was only the beginning of Martinez’s worries. The freshman took the field after Cal’s six-run top of the second with a huge cushion. That cushion would evaporate right in front of his eyes, as the right-hander was shelled for six more runs. Martinez would only record three outs before being replaced by junior Chris Muse-Fisher, who would fail stop the bleeding.
Fisher recorded one out but allowed five earned runs as the Mustang onslaught continued. The combination of poor pitching and strong hitting created a perfect storm. While the Bears’ staff walked in runs and hit three batters, the Mustangs registered nine hits, including a back-breaking two-run double.
After the first two innings, both offenses cooled off considerably. A Mustang sac fly in the bottom of the seventh pushed the scoreboard to the final total of 16-8 in favor of Cal Poly.
Cal lost the series opener 4-1 on Friday night despite a solid outing from freshman Daulton Jefferies (5.1 innings and two earned runs), who is fast becoming the number-one guy on the Bears’ pitching staff.
The Bears won game two of the series Saturday night 8-3, highlighted by an inside-the-park two-run homer by left fielder Aaron Knapp and some top-notch pitching from seniors Kyle Porter and Trevor Hildenberger.
On Sunday, the Bears lost 8-4 to drop to .500 on the year. After game four, the Bears were playing sub-.500 ball for the first time this year. The current slide comes at a terrible time for the Bears, who have demonstrated they are not ready for big-time opponents.
Austin Crochetiere covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].