Cal baseball continued to struggle in Pac-12 play, as the Bears dropped two of three this past week against the Trojans. Currently 1-5, the blue and gold sit at the bottom of conference standings, a drastic juxtaposition from the team’s strong 6-1 start just a month ago.
Against USC, each game proved to be a tight contest.
Friday saw Cal lose 3-5 after the Bears gave up a two-run lead in the fifth inning. The blue and gold managed to score first for the 12th time this season, with RBIs from Rodney Green Jr. and Carson Crawford. However, a three-run home run in the fifth — along with a pair of runs driven in in the ninth — eliminated any chance of a Cal comeback.
Pitcher Christian Becerra was a bright spot for the team after making his first collegiate start. The sophomore dominated for three innings, striking out four while only allowing one walk and one hit.
With projected rain Sunday, the Bears played in a double header Saturday. Game 1 was the Caleb Lomavita show, as the catcher slugged two home runs, with the latter coming in the bottom of the 10th inning for a walk-off 8-7 win. The sophomore finished with three hits and four RBIs to lead the Bears to their first Pac-12 win of the season.
The evening matchup saw Cal once again come out to a three-run lead in the bottom of the third, with RBI singles from Max Handron, Dom Souto and Kade Kretzschmar. However, the rest of the game proved to be all Trojans, as USC tagged on six runs between the fourth and sixth innings to win its second game of the series, 6-3.
Pitcher Connor Sullivan bounced back from a rough start against Arizona, allowing just one earned run in five strong innings.
With a tough stretch in March so far for Cal, the Bears look to rekindle the success they had earlier in the season with matchups against Saint Mary’s and Oregon State.
Saint Mary’s holds a 6-11 overall record. The last time the two teams faced off in nonconference play saw the Bears come out on top, winning 6-0.
After hosting the Gaels at Evans Diamond, Cal will head to Oregon to face the Beavers in an important three-game series. The Beavers also hold a 1-5 record in Pac-12 play, as well as an overall record of 12-8.
A strong series against Oregon State could change the Bears’ fortunes for a spot in the Pac-12 tournament later this May. However, dropping more games against the Beavers could put Cal in a difficult situation to play meaningful baseball toward the end of the season.