It was a 2-2 game after 7 innings, but Huskies got a go ahead homer from their 1st baseman Naff in the 8th. A defensive error help the Huskies to get an insurance run in the 9th to make the final margin of 4-2. Pac-12 leading closer Troy Rallings picks up the two inning save in dominant fashion (he did walk Cal's Brett Cumberland to leadoff the 8th).
Final from Berkeley. pic.twitter.com/QCPTfKQXMy— #LetsGo (@Cal_Baseball) April 30, 2016
Bears have now lost 5 straight Pac-12 games. The seemingly magical power for the Bears to win at Evans feels like a thing of distant past.
Game 2 starts at 6 pm PT tomorrow. Freshman Tanner Dodson is the announced starter (not sure why the change over Jeff Bain), but the real question is if the Cal offense can reverse it's bad luck and finally string some hits together. Bears are getting the hits and getting on base but the sequencing has been bad. It has been rather frustrating.
California Golden Bears (23-14, 9-9 in Pac-12) vs. Washington Huskies (23-14, 9-6 in Pac-12)
Where: Evans Diamond (Berkeley, CA)
When: 7 pm PT
TV: None of this weekend series is televised or streamed
Probably pitching match-ups:
Friday - RHP Ryan Mason (5-2, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP Noah Bremmer (4-3, 2.34 ERA)
Saturday - RHP Tanner Dodson (1-3, 3.15 ERA) vs. RHP Joe DeMers (3-2, 5.23 ERA) - 6 pm PT
Sunday - LHP Matt Ladrech (3-3, 3.78 ERA) vs. TBD - 1 pm PT
Senior starter Ryan Mason is back for the Golden Bears, after being skipped last weekend due to "soreness". This is a pivotal series for the Bears, if they want to make a run at the Pac-12 title and the chance to host a NCAA Regional.
Bears host the Pac-12 leading Huskies (they are tied with the 14-22 Utah) for a key 3 game series this weekend in Berkeley to wrap up this 8 game homestand. Cal is looking to snap a 4 game conference losing streak - including heartbreaking losses in the sweep loss to Arizona last weekend. Stepping up for the Bears on the mound today should be senior ace in Ryan Mason. Mason did not pitch last weekend in that crazy series against the Wildcats, including the nearly unbelievable Saturday 13 inning loss - that the Bears thought that they had won momentarily, only to have the umpire calling Brian Celsi out on his sacrifice bunt for stepping on the homeplate.
With Mason back, there is more good news that junior ace Daulton Jefferies may also soon be back on the mound for the Bears. Report last week is that Jefferies should be back next weekend, just in time for the conference series at Stanford.
Just 4 conference series remains for the Golden Bears - this weekend against Washington, next weekend at Stanford, a visit by the Utes, and a regular season finale series at Washington State. In a league that is full of parity (Golden Bears have been the one of the few Pac-12 teams to be consistently ranked...although the recent losing streak has knocked the Bears out of a few rankings completely), the Pac is still up for grab. As much as the Bears will be a squad that no other teams would like to see in their regional, a strong finish may still put the Bears in position to host games in the new and improved Evans Diamond of the last couple of years.
Righty Alex Schick recently (last weekend) returned to action. He is another potentially very reliable arm in the mix for the Bears this weekend. He started the Tuesday night game against Cal Poly. Bears had to come from behind in that one to pull off the 5-3 win. 2nd baseman Robbie Tenerowicz has remained hot at the plate for the Bears. Pac-12 Player of the Year frontrunner sophomore catcher Brett Cumberland continues to get on base at an insane rate, even if he was kept in check by the Wildcats last week.
Bears have had good recent success against UW lately, in the midst of a 4 game winning streak.
UW are streaking as of late, being the winner of 4 straight and 6 of 8 or 8 of 11. The hot play of late has pushed them to being ranked No.25 in one poll. More tellingly, they have a RPI of 43 in the country. For comparison, the Golden Bears have slipped to being No.40 by the RPI after the recent slide.
The Huskies and the Bears share similar Pac-12 rankings across batting, pitching and defense. Washington are 5th in batting (.281), 4th in pitching (3.57 ERA) and 3rd in fielding (.977). Cal is 4th in hitting (.282), 2nd in pitching (3.36) and 4th in fielding (.976).
This might be a very tight 3 games.