The California Golden Bears earned their fifth win in their last six games after defeating Pac-12 rival Arizona State 10-2 in Berkeley on Sunday, sweeping the three-game series from the Sun Devils.
The win pushes Cal over the .500 mark for the first time since mid-March.
Cal starter Matt Ladrech was stellar in his outing, pitching a strong 6 2⁄3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out four, earning his second win of the season.
Like their starter, the Golden Bears lineup was just as dominant, scoring early and often throughout the day. Denis Karas and Tanner Dodson opened the scoring for Cal, each knocking a pair of two-out RBI singles in the bottom of the first off of ASU starter Jake Godfrey, giving them the early 2-0 lead.
“Our mindset, our pitching staff, is once we get a few runs, we really try to get in there the next inning and put up a zero,” Ladrech said. “Anytime you get some runs, it gives you a little comfort and you can let the defense work and it takes care of itself.”
Ladrech worked on a shutout through 4 2⁄3 innings until Gage Canning took him deep to right for a solo home run in the fifth. It was Ladrech’s only blemish of the game.
The Bears extended their early lead in the second inning, pushing their lead to 3-0 off of a RBI double down the left field line with two away. Godfrey struggled to contain the Bears lineup in the early goings and was knocked out early for it, going just over an inning on the mound, allowing three runs on six hits and walking a batter. Connor Higgins took over and after getting the Sun Devils settled in in the middle innings, he too became a victim of Cal’s onslaught at the plate.
“We’re trying to make sure we stay on the attack during the weekend and not just sit back and wait for someone to give it to us,” Cal head coach David Esquer said.
The Bears kept their foot on the gas pedal in the sixth inning, getting a solo home run by Cameron Eden, followed by a two-run homer by Karas to push the lead to 10-1.
Arizona State got another run late in the game when Andrew Shaps hit an RBI double off of freshman Rogelio Reyes with one out in the eighth, making it 10-2.
California (15-14, 7-6) will look to keep the momentum on their side as they start the first of a five-game road trip on Tuesday at Saint Mary’s College.