Big games require big players. For the Bears, that player could be none other than Dylan Beavers. Stepping up to the plate at the bottom of the fifth with bases loaded, all eyes were on Beavers to see if he could add to the blue and gold’s narrow 1-0 lead on Saturday. Rising to the pressure, Beavers hit a grand slam, putting Cal up 5-0 against then-No. 6 Oregon State.
Cal would end up winning this game 8-7 on a walk-off home run by senior Dom Souto. Unfortunately for the Bears, this victory over their toughest opponent of the season could not be celebrated too much as they nearly lost after giving up six runs in the ninth inning.
Though they picked up that one win and tied the series after falling 4-10 in Friday’s opening game, the blue and gold couldn’t take care of business as they dropped Sunday’s rubber match to Oregon State 9-13.
The Beavers may have gone home victorious, but it was Cal’s own Beavers that stole the show. In addition to the grand slam in Saturday’s game, he logged two more home runs and a total of eight RBIs, four runs and four hits across the series.
Beavers, who was added to the Golden Spikes watchlist at the beginning of the season, is making waves in the Pac-12 as he is now the conference leader for home runs with 10 on the season so far. This season’s 10 home runs brings his career total to 29, a feat that has him in a three-way tie for 10th most in program history.
Without a doubt, Cal fans walked away exalted as their star outfielder made his presence known.
Beavers wasn’t the only one to hit big, however. Oregon State’s Tanner Smith hit a grand slam of his own in the third game of the series, helping the Beavers to victory.
Since dropping the series to Oregon State, the Bears have fallen to ninth in Pac-12 standings — a position that, if they maintain it, will see them excluded from the inaugural Pac-12 tournament.
With another weekend of disappointing results behind them, the Bears were looking to bounce back in Tuesday’s home game against Saint Mary’s. The blue and gold came out strong, going up 2-0 in the first inning. The Bears went on to score three unanswered in the next three innings, putting them up 5-2.
The Gaels took a few innings to warm up, but once they did there was no cooling the heat they brought. Scoring three runs off three hits in the fifth, the Bears found themselves struggling as they gave up their miniscule lead.
Saint Mary’s was not finished. After taking the lead off an RBI single, things went from bad to worse for Cal. The Gaels’ home run leader, Christian Almanza, stepped to the plate with bases loaded and struck gold. Almanza’s sixth-inning grand slam put the Gaels up 10-5 and left the Bears floundering.
The blue and gold simply could not respond and dropped yet another match.
Cal now sits below .500 overall and in conference. Remarkably, the Bears have dropped nine of the 13 games they have played at home.
Fans can’t help but wonder what is going on with the Cal bullpen. In these last four games alone, Cal’s pitchers have combined for a total of 32 errors — with 10 in each of the last two. This weekend, the Bears played 16 different pitchers of which only three had zero errors and only four didn’t allow any hits. Impressively, freshman Christian Becerra was the only Cal pitcher who did both, even with playing in two of the three games against Oregon State.
With 24 games under its belt, Cal has little excuses for its inability to win games. A few weeks ago, the inconsistency was easily explained away as the Bears were still trying to see which players and lineups worked best for them.
The fact of the matter is that the blue and gold are not performing like a successful squad. There are 29 games left and if they want a chance to continue their season after May, they must turn things around fast.