From NorCalNick: Cal baseball didn't have their rock, and without him the Bears lost to Baylor by a score of 6-4. Erik Johnson is the primary reason that Cal is even in the playoffs. Without his 90 innings of 2.08 ERA throughout the regular season the Bears would have been sunk - which is why his worst start of the season was so jarring.
Johnson allowed 9 base runners in just 2 1/3 innings, primarily by way of the base on balls. Throughout the season Johnson has walked more batters than he'd prefer, but got through his free passes by striking out a batter an inning. But playing in the heat and humidity of Houston, Johnson's control and strikeout stuff abandoned him. Baylor batters were patient and capable even while behind in the count, working walks and slapping two strike hits. Johnson was finally pulled after walking two in the 3rd inning, and Logan Scott allowed both runners to score. The inning ended with Baylor ahead 6-0.
Cal's offense might have been able to match that output, but they didn't get any good fortune to help themselves out. Devon Rodriguez hit what looked to be a sure single with Chadd Krist on 3rd and two outs, but Baylor centerfielder Logan Vick made an impressive diving catch. Later, Cal managed to score zero runs in an inning in which they singled and tripled, an impressive feat.
Those two missed opportunities came back to haunt Cal when a three run rally in the 8th closed the deficit to 6-4. Cal finally chased Verrett with a double and four singles, but again Cal's propensity to get thrown out on the bases hurt them when Chad Bunting was thrown out at the plate trying to score Cal's 5th run. That ended the inning, and Baylor's closer Max Garner managed to retire Tony Renda with two on to end the game. It was another game of small margins and missed opportunities, a trend for Cal during their recent run of defeats.
Cal will next play the loser of the Rice/Alcorn St. game with elimination at stake. That game is tomorrow at noon. At one point this season Cal sat at 24-9 overall with a 9-3 Pac-10 record. If the season were to end with a two game sweep out of the playoffs for the second year in a row and a record of 31-22 it would be a bitter disappointment indeed.