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Golden Nuggets: Murphy and Prenot Capture NCAA Titles

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Cal swimmers capture national titles with strong performances in Atlanta.

Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Track & Field

Cal In Front At Pac-12/Big Ten Invitational

TEMPE, Ariz. --- After the first day of the Pac-12 / Big Ten Invitational, the California track and field teams are leading in the conference standings and rank in the top two against their interconference opponents.

The men's team scored 26 points to sit in first place among fellow Pac-12 schools Arizona State (20 points), Washington (14) and Arizona (2). Cal's tally also puts them ahead of Big Ten leader Michigan's 20 points.

Beach Volleyball

Top Pair Wins Twice In Dual Split

LONG BEACH - Cal's No. 1 pair of senior Sarah Cole and freshman Mia Merino won both matches Friday as the No. 19 Cal beach volleyball team split a pair of duals at the Long Beach Tournament.

Cole and Merino defeated Jenelle Hudson and Zoi Konstantopoulou of No. 6 Long Beach State, but the 49ers defeated the Bears 4-1. Cal turned around and swept No. 20 Loyola Marymount 5-0 - the second time the Bears have beaten the Lions this season and Cal's fourth victory this season over a ranked opponent.

Baseball

No. 20 Cal Sweeps No. 3 OSU Behind Ladrech

BERKELEY, Calif. - 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."

Men's Swimming And Diving

Prenot, Murphy Claim NCAA Titles: Josh Prenot Wins 400 IM, Ryan Murphy Sets Record In 100 Backstroke On Day Three In Atlanta

ATLANTA, Ga. - A tremendous swim by Josh Prenot in the 400-yard individual medley netted the Cal swimming team its first national title of the 2016 NCAA Championships, Ryan Murphy added another by breaking his own American record in the 100 backstroke and the Bears made a move up the team standings while enjoying another standout evening at McAuley Aquatic Center.

Cal entered its third night of competition in Atlanta with lofty aspirations and Prenot only stoked that fire with one of the most impressive swims of the meet to that point. The senior from Orcutt, Calif. wasted no time jumping out to the lead, claiming the top spot by the time he'd reached the midway point of the leadoff butterfly leg.

Prenot's lead only continued to widen, and he put the race away with an incredible turn of speed in the breaststroke. By the time the freestyle came around, there would be no catching Cal's senior star and he touched the wall in 3:35.82 to finish with a more than a second advantage over Texas' Will Licon. The title is Prenot's first NCAA victory as a Golden Bear, an achievement long deserved for one of Cal's most consistent performers over the last four years.

"It feels great to check that box," Prenot said. "That's definitely been a goal for me for a while. 20 points for the team was the motivator."