Bears were shutout by ASU freshman lefty Zach Dixon, in that kid's first career start. Bears will have to wait to try to win a Pac-12 series on the road. Good news, however, is that the Golden Bears start a new homestand, starting with another non-conference game against Stanford on Tuesday night.
Recap from CalBears.com:
PHOENIX – The No. 15 Golden Bears (21-11, 9-6 Pac-12) lost the series finale to the Arizona State Sun Devils (20-13, 6-9 Pac-12) 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to drop two of three in the series. Arizona State’s freshman lefty Zach Dixon (1-0) spun a complete game shutout in his first career start, stifling a Bears’ offense that had 20 hits in a win on Saturday. Dixon held the Bears to just three today, and struck out seven in his first career win. Cal had a strong outing from its own lefty on Sunday, though he ended up taking the loss. Sophomore Matt Ladrech (3-3) worked eight innings, allowing four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits and struck out two.
“We didn’t get any runs, or very many hits today,” senior third baseman Mitchell Kranson said. “But we hit the ball very hard and they played us very well defensively. Devin [Pearson] hit two balls on the screws and sometimes that’s just the way it is, which is disappointing. We need to just keep swinging and regroup. It’s going to be nice to be home for a while and in our own beds. We need to refocus and get back to the things that were working for us in the beginning of the season.”
California Golden Bears (21-10, 9-5 in Pac-12) at Arizona State Sun Devils (19-13, 5-9 in Pac-12)
Where: Phoenix Municipal (Phoenix, AZ)
When: 12:30 pm PT
TV: Arizona Free Online Stream
Probably pitching matchup: Cal LHP Matt Ladrech (3-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. TBD
Friday Result: Cal 4, ASU 6
Saturday Result: Cal 8, ASU 4 (11 innings)
Here we are in yet another rubber game. Is this the week when our sturdy Golden Bears finally win that elusive road conference series? For the Bears to realistically be able to win the conference, you would think that a few road series wins would be needed.
Sophomore LHP Matt Ladrech will again take the mound for the Bears. Ladrech is coming off a poor outing last Sunday when he couldn't get an out in the 5th inning - which led to a 6 spot for the Oregon Ducks that the Bears could merely cut into but not overcome.
Mitchell "El Gaucho" Kranson was one of the Bears' hitting hero on Saturday, going 4 for 6. Bears also got two unlikely homers from Brian Celsi and Robbie Tenerowicz (who just recently got moved up to the 2nd spot) in the 11th inning to pull ahead. Bears wasted so many scoring opportunities recently, maybe a regression to the mean is all that we need to have a much needed Pac-12 rout of a win.
Bears did use both Keaton Siomkin and Erik Martinez for multiple innings on Saturday. Both of them also had some issues at time. I suspect that Esquer will go more with freshman Tanner Dodson (who got the save on Saturday and earned the midweek game with a 6 inning start against Cal Poly) and freshman Joey Matulovich earlier than usual. This is all assuming that Ladrech won't just simply take over and go the distance (which he is capable of doing).
For the Sun Devils, Tyler Williams has gone 4 for 10 in this series. Sebastian Zawada was the one who hit a homer on Saturday. David Greer went deep on Friday. Erves, who was at one point listed as the starter for game 2, pitched two innings in Friday for the save. ASU head coach, Tracy Smith, may be playing some tricks with his lineup to try to fool the Bears. In addition to listing his closer as a starter for game 2, Smith had the game 1 starting pitcher as the starting DH for the Saturday game only to pinch hit for him right away with Zawada. I am not exactly sure what is the points of all these gamesmanship.
Nevertheless, it is time for the 15th ranked Bears to finally win a Pac-12 road series. This is the same Cal squad that swept Texas in Austin in a 4 game series earlier. Even without our ace in Daulton Jefferies for these past three weeks, we are still capable of winning the Pac. A much needed series win this weekend would be a boost toward that cause.
After the end of this road trip today, the Bears will again host Stanford on Tuesday in a non-conference game that is televised on the Pac-12 Networks.