Arizona State took the first game in a nail-biting fashion. Cal took the second game in an equally nail-biting fashion. With both teams fighting for postseason positioning, the final game of the Bears and Sun Devils’ three-game set could have had major postseason implications.
Key phrase: could have.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, it was Mother Nature taking home the win as inclement weather resulted in the cancellation of the third game. In a sport where there are no ties, this series between two of the conference’s best can be chalked up to a draw.
The stalemate led to some rather anticlimactic stagnation in the standings. Not only do both teams remain tied for fourth place in the Pac-12, but they maintain similar rankings in the rating percentage index as well, with Cal at No. 34 and Arizona State at No. 33.
Instead of deciding their own fates by duking it out mano a mano in the series finale, Cal and Arizona State will have to keep an eye on each other as both play their final regular season series of the season, with Cal playing Washington on the road and Arizona State hosting No. 3 Stanford.
Game one (6-5 in 11 innings, Arizona State)
The Achilles’ heel of the Cal team has unquestionably been its young bullpen. On Friday night, that issue once again reared its ugly head in what had the potential to be a statement win for the Bears.
For the second consecutive week, junior Arman Sabouri once more took on the role of a traditional starter rather than that of an opener, proving why he’s the Swiss Army knife of this pitching staff.
Sabouri looked comfortable in his latest role, allowing two earned runs over a career-high six innings and matching his season-high six strikeouts. The Bears’ jack of all trades had a slight hiccup in the fifth inning but finished his night strong by setting the Sun Devils down in order in the sixth.
Enter the bullpen. The two-run lead the relievers inherited quickly became a one-run deficit.
Slugger Spencer Torkelson smacked a solo shot off Jack Delmore in the seventh, cutting Cal’s lead to 4-3. The following inning, Gage Workman ripped a two-run triple off Rogelio Reyes, giving Arizona State the 5-4 lead.
Andrew Vaughn came to the rescue with the equalizer in the bottom of the eighth, launching a solo shot to notch things up at 5 apiece. Neither team broke the ice in the ninth, and the game went to extras.
In the top of the 11th, it was Torkelson yet again, knocking in the go-ahead run to put the Sun Devils up for good. Brady Corrigan slammed the door in the bottom of the frame by striking out the side, and the Bears ended up the tough-luck losers.
Game two (3-2 Cal)
Seemingly every Saturday, there airs another episode of “The Jared Horn Show” for all of college baseball to see. In his latest adventure on the mound, the hurler finally secured the milestone that has been eluding him for some time.
After flirting with a complete game numerous times this season, Horn finally went the distance, limiting one of the nation’s best offenses to two runs and striking out nine batters. The only two dings on Horn were a pair of solo home runs given up to Torkelson and Carter Aldrete.
Registering the final out is never a stress-free deal, but there was some extra drama for Horn in finishing off his masterpiece.
With two down in the ninth and Horn trying to finish his magnum opus, Workman smacked a triple when center fielder Cameron Eden overran a ball.
Horn, now at 119 pitches, was tasked with facing Aldrete, who had already taken him deep innings prior. Despite his stamina running low, Horn found the juice to set Aldrete down on three pitches. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good night.