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Bears fall to Ducks, 7-1

Cal ends five game winning streak with loss to Oregon

Jeff Weisinger, CGB

The California Golden Bears’ win streak came to an end on March 17 as the Bears fell to the Oregon Ducks in the opener of their three-game home series. The Bears failed to drive in runs at key moments, dropping the game 7-1.

Sophomore Tanner Dodson took the mound for the Bears throwing 104 pitches over 5.1 innings. Backed by strong defense, Dodson held the Ducks scoreless through two innings.

The Ducks’ bats got going in the third inning, putting three runs on the board.

Cal put two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third, but couldn’t bring them home. A pair of singles to lead off the inning placed right fielder Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. and center fielder Jonah Davis on first and second base, respectively, with no outs. First baseman Andrew Vaughn flew out to Oregon right fielder Matthew Dyer, who gunned the ball to third getting Davis out.

The Bears once again had a runner in scoring position after third baseman Denis Karas walked, pushing Mitchell to second for five-slot hitter Tyrus Greene. But Greene couldn’t get the job done, grounding to first to end the inning and leaving the Bears scoreless.

Cal also stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings.

“We’re getting some hits, we’re just not finishing the inning, and that was kind of the story of the game,” California Golden Bears Coach David Esquer said.

The Bears recorded their first run in the bottom of the eighth. Two singles and a walk put shortstop Ripken Reyes on first, Max Flower on second and pinch runner Austen Swift on third for designated hitter Matt Ruff. Ruff hit a single to drive Swift across the plate and Flower to third, but Reyes was tagged out at second. Bears nine-slot hitter Cameron Eden made contact for a single, but Flower was tagged out at home, leaving runners on first and second for leadoff man Jonah Davis. Again, the Bears couldn’t bring the runners home as Davis struck out swinging to end the inning.

Oregon pushed two runs across the plate in the fifth inning, and homeruns off the bats of outfielders Jake Bennett and A.J. Balta in the ninth sealed the deal for the Ducks, putting them ahead of the Bears 7-1.

Dodson took the loss, his fourth on the season. The win went to Oregon junior David Peterson, who recorded eight strikeouts during the game, bringing his total to 48 on the season.

The final score didn’t reflect the overall game. The Bears out hit Oregon, 13-12, and Cal showed strong defense, finishing the game without recording an error.

Esquer said he was also pleased with his team’s “aggressive” at-bats and number of hits put on the board, but said improvement is needed in runners-in-scoring-position situations.

“I think, you know, where we’re going to mature is in those RBI situations, I think we’ll get better at that,” Esquer said. “I think our mistakes continue to be aggressive mistakes, and maybe some because of youth, and hopefully we get those out of our system and play better.”

The Bears take on the Ducks again at 6:05 p.m. on March 18 at Evans Diamond.