Bears will have to wait almost a day for another crack to win this tough Pac-12 road series. Golden Bears fell 4-3 to Oregon on Saturday in a close game. Ducks hit two homeruns on the day, including the go-ahead two run shot by A.J. Balta in B5. Ducks' starter Matt Krook was effectively wild, 9 K's to go with 6 BB's, to pick up this win.
The No. 11 Golden Bears (19-8, 8-3 Pac-12) fell to the Oregon Ducks (13-12, 3-5 Pac-12) 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at PK Park in Eugene in the second game of the series. Cal was led offensively by junior centerfielder Aaron Knapp, who drove in a pair of Cal runs. The Ducks hit two home runs on the day, the last of which was the difference. A.J. Balta’s two-out, two-run shot that just cleared the wall in right gave the Ducks a 4-2 lead, immediately after the Bears had tied the game in the top of the inning. Cal pulled a run back in the eighth, but could not complete the comeback; setting up the rubber game tomorrow afternoon.
"They [Oregon] played a good game today," Knapp said following the game. "But we had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. In the eighth inning, we had guys on and we had guys on most of the game. We made a couple of costly errors; but even then we still had a chance to win this game. We just need to stay in our approaches tomorrow, remain mature and realize that there’s no need to press. We are a pretty dynamic offense and we’ve just got to play our game; take good swings and things will go our way."
California Golden Bears (19-7, 8-2 in Pac-12) at Oregon Ducks (12-12, 2-5 in Pac-12)
Where: PK Park, Eugene, Oregon
When: 2 pm PT
Free Live Stream: Oregon Live Stream
Probably Pitching Matchup: RHP Jeff Bain (3-1, 3.33 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Krook (1-1, 4.23 ERA)
Golden Bears won their 7th Pac-12 game in a row when they defeated host Oregon Ducks by a 12-2 score, hitting a season high 21 hits (most every allowed by the Ducks since their program was reinstated in 2009). Bears improved their Pac-12 record to 8-2. This result coupled with Utah's loss to USC, makes the Golden Bears the sole leader of the Pac-12 Baseball standings.
In addition to staying and maybe increasing their lead at the top of the Pac-12 standings, the Bears are also looking for their first Pac-12 road series win of the season (on their 2nd try). Sophomore RHP Jeff Bain will apparently take the mound as the Bears decide to rest ace Daulton Jefferies for another week (I don't have any info on his availability and is merely optimistic that his absence just means that Esquer is overly cautious).
Should the Bears continue the hit parade, maybe it doesn't matter all that much who is pitching (or maybe it is the other way around). On Friday, everyone in the starting lineup got at least a hit with only two guys getting just one hit (come on Devin Pearson and Brian Celsi).
Ducks starter Matt Krook has a lively arm and is a top pro prospect (MLB Pipeline has him ranked 21st, ahead of Daulton Jefferies at 24, for reference), although his performance so far this season has been mediocre at best, given some control problem. Krook is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has only started pitching again in the Cape Cod League last summer.