It's time to really get excited about Cal baseball after a thrilling bottom of the ninth rally against the Washington St. Cougars. Cal's bats had been quiet all night long - the Bears had only managed three hits in eight innings, and the ninth started out the same way. But with two outs and an 0-2 count Marcus Semien worked the count full before singling to center. Tony Renda followed with a single of his own. And after a wild pitch sent both runners up a base, Chadd Krist tied the game with Cal's 3rd straight single.
In extra innings coach David Esquer called on closer Matt Flemer to keep the game tied, and Flemer was dominant, striking out three in two quick innings. Then in the 11th Vince Bruno reached base on an error, then used his impressive speed to score from first on a Marcus Semien hit into right field to end the game.
Cal got another impressive start from Dixon Anderson, who was unlucky to allow all three runs in 6 and 1/3 innings. Anderson only put five men on base, but two of those five hits were lead-off doubles that were eventually sacrificed home. And the biggest performance from the pitching staff might have come from Kyle Porter, who came into the game in the 7th in relief of Anderson. He immediately put two men on base, but then worked out of the bases loaded, one out jam by striking out two in a row. In all, Cal pitching continued what has been an absurdly impressive run.
The Bears will be in the Bay Area all next week, first for one game on the road against USF on Tuesday and then back at Evans Diamond for a three game set with struggling USC (8-15, 0-2 Pac-10).
The Bears are on a five game winning streak, and in those five games they've given up one run. One. Today it will be Dixon Anderson's (3-1, 1.71 ERA) turn to try to continue Cal's ridiculous run of dominance from the mound. If he does so Cal will start Pac-10 play with a nice home sweep of the Washington St. Cougars. The Cougs will counter with Chad Arnold. Arnold was a true ace last year, but he just returned from an injury that kept him out to start the year. He was shelled in his first start back, giving up five runs and putting eight men on base in just two innings. His effectiveness after a long layoff will likely be the biggest story of today's game.
Justin Jones threw eight shutout innings yesterday, allowing just seven singles and zero walks while striking out seven. The bats didn't have a great game, but a lead off double from Tony Renda and two sac flies turned out to be enough. A walk and two singles later in the game finished off the scoring and gave Cal a few insurance runs. But Jones and closer Matt Flemer didn't end up needing them, finishing the game off quickly in the 8th and 9th.