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Bears take down Sun Devils for 13th win of the season

Home runs from Vaughn and Reyes help Bears defeat Sun Devils

Cameron Eden makes a play against Gonzaga. Eden scored a run in the Cal win over ASU on April 7. Marian Davidson, CGB

The California Golden Bears offense got off to a quick start and continued rolling throughout the Bears’ victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils on April 7. Freshman pitcher Jared Horn also put in a solid seven innings of work in the 9-6 win.

Horn kicked off the game striking out ASU leadoff man Hunter Bishop in three pitches. And putting away the next two with a ground out fielded by second baseman Ripken Reyes and a fly out to left fielder Max Flower.

Cal got on the board early thanks to a leadoff single from Tyrus Greene and a two-run homer off the bat three slot hitter, Andrew Vaughn, his eighth of the season. Vaughn currently leads the Pac 12 in homeruns.

The momentum continued in to the second inning with another three-up, three-down inning.

Reyes led off the second for the Golden Bears, driving a grounder past second baseman Taylor Lane for a single. A sac bunt off the bat of Cameron Eden moved Reyes to second for the top of the Bears’ order. Greene drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. coming to the plate. Mitchell drove a hard grounder through the hole in to left field for a single, driving Reyes home, putting the Bears ahead of the Sun Devils 3-0 with runners on first and second.

Vaughn followed up his first inning homerun with a drive deep right field for a standing double that brought Greene and Mitchell across the plate. The Bears closed out the second inning leading the Sun Devils 5-0.

The Sun Devils put their first runner on base in the top of the third. Right fielder Gage Canning hit a slow grounder to second and beat out the throw for a single. Center fielder Jonah Davis caught a deep fly on the run for the first out of the inning. A stolen base and wild pitch moved Canning to third. Third baseman Jeremy McCuin hit a ground out to shortstop Cameron Eden, but that was enough to drive Canning home for the Sun Devils’ first run.

The Bears put their sixth run on the board early in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reyes sent a ball sailing over the right field fence for his first homerun of the season. Eden followed up with a standing double hit just fair down the left field line. Greene grounded out a first, but pushed Eden to third. Mitchell drove Eden home with a deep fly ball to center field, putting the Bears up 7-1.

Cal put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth off RBIs from Tanner Dodson and Davis.

ASU rallied in the ninth inning, bringing in five runs before Erik Martinez came in and closed out the game.

“It got a little hairy there at the end, and it wasn’t because of our defense,” Cal Head Coach David Esquer said. “We just didn’t through enough strikes and we gave them a little momentum that we didn’t need to.”

Aside from the ninth inning, the Bears were able to combine strong offense with solid defense.

“Offense got rolling early today, so that definitely lifted some weight off my shoulders today,” Horn said. “When the offense is rolling, it kind of carries over to our defense too.”

Horn also played a key role in the game. He threw 107 pitches over seven innings, with five strikeouts, earning his third win of the season.

“I think he’s getting more comfortable out there, and that’s huge for us,” Esquer said of Horn. “All his pitches seemed more comfortable, and that’s something we have to have.”

The win brings the Golden Bears to 13-14 on the season, and 5-6 against conference opponents. The Bears swept Washington State at home March 31-April 2, but lost to Stanford 4-8 on April 4.

The Bears have two more games against Arizona State in the home series.