No. 20 California (14-6, 4-2 Pac-12) completed the sweep of the No. 3 Oregon State Beavers (16-5, 3-3 Pac-12) with a 5-3 come-from-behind win on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,730 fans at Evans Diamond. Cal fell behind 3-0 in the first, but left-hander Matt Ladrech (2-1) came on in relief in the first inning to spin 7.2 innings of no-hit ball out of the bullpen to shut down the Beavers. The Bears immediately responded with a four-run inning of their own in the bottom of the second. Senior first baseman Nick Halamandaris went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and 2 RBI, and finished the series batting .417 in the series (5-for-12), and played a stellar first base defensively. Cal outscored Oregon State 16-5 in the series.
"We probably had the worst first inning of baseball there," head coach David Esquer said. "They scored three runs and we got picked off on the bases twice and it could have been one of those days where a team is looking for a win is looking for you to give them one. I thought our guys did a great job of turning it around and showing up in the next eight innings. We are mentally tough; we have some toughness to us and we're even a little tougher than I thought and I'm proud of the way they fought through it."
When: 1 pm PT
Where: Evans Diamond (come out to the ballpark if you can, should be a fun one)
TV: none (because a battle of two top 20 teams is somehow not TV worthy)
After some struggle from sophomore LHP Matt Ladrech, it's a TBD who will start for the Bears against OSU's RHP Travis Eckart (2-1, 3.12 ERA). Can the Bears find stability in their 3rd starter?
Pitching have been the key for the Bears as junior Daulton Jefferies threw a complete game for a 6-2 win on Friday. Senior Ryan Mason did one better as he threw a complete game shutout for a 5-0 win on Saturday. What this means is that should the Cal starter falter today, the Cal bullpen would be well rested for this one.
For the second consecutive game, the Bears are using a new lineup where senior DH Devin Pearson and junior CF Aaron Knapp have swapped batting order position at the top of the lineup. Cal catcher Brett Cumberland, the Pac-12 leading homerun hitter, has also been moved up to the cleanup spot to switch with Brendan Farney (but I think this move may have taken place before this weekend). Bears have also defensively swapped the positions of Bredan Farney (from 1B to LF) and Nick Halamandaris (from LF to 1B) to seek some defensive stability. While these moves have yet to really pay off in an obvious way, you can't argue with the result - error free games and two big wins over a tough opponent.