A rocky start to the season had Cal leaving the Angels College Classic with a 1-3 record, but they recouped their confidence and improve their record to 4-3 with a sweep over the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Game 1: Cal wins 10-2
Dominance across the board with pitching and batting sealed this victory.
Veteran pitcher Arman Sabouri opened up the game on the mound. His day was over before the second inning was up. Sabouri gave up five hits and two earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched.
Freshman Sam Stoutenborough pitched a healthy chunk of the game without giving up a single run. He went strong for six full innings from the third to the bottom of the eighth. He didn’t make it easy on the Mustang batters, they recorded nine groundouts and four flyouts. Stoutenborough also added four more strikeouts to his stat log.
Center fielder Brandon McIlwain led the way on offense for the Bears, going 3-4 at the plate with a double, triple and stolen base. McIlwain also appeared in 10 games at quarterback for the football team this past fall. He is Berkeley’s own, Kyler Murray.
Andrew Vaughn showed up in a big way as well. He hit a two-run homer in the top of the third inning to vault Cal up 4-2. He was also able to record a stolen base in the victory. Four separate players recorded a stolen base in this game against Cal Poly.
Game 2: Cal wins 5-4
The Golden Bears trailed Cal Poly for a majority of the time. The Mustangs scored twice in the first inning, including a three-RBI double off lefty Lucas Gather, to jump out to a 4-1 lead. Freshman pitcher Gather has allowed 6 earned runs in the 1.2 combined innings he’s pitched this season.
Junior Rogelio Reyes stepped in at the bottom of the second to continue the pitching duties. Reyes performed admirably, giving up no further runs and striking out five batters in the process. He leads the team in strikeouts with 13.
Brandon McIlwain got the train rolling on the Bears comeback in the sixth inning with an RBI sac fly to left field, closing the gap to 4-3. Andrew Vaughn followed up with a two-run single to left field later in the inning to put Cal up by one run. Vaughn has been walked by pitchers an astonishing 14 times this season, and clutch plays like that are the reason why.
Game 3: Cal wins 5-3
Late in the game, Cal and Cal Poly were locked at 3-3. The Golden Bears narrowly avoided going to extra innings by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth.
Runs were hard to come by in the third game of the series. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when the first run of the day was scored by Cal Poly.
Bears freshman pitcher Grant Holman opened the game and stayed on the mound for five full innings. He gave up five hits, but nobody scored off him. Ian Villers took over in relief at the bottom of the sixth.
Villers outing started off on the right foot with a strikeout but then went downhill quickly. In three consecutive batters he; walked someone, hit the batter with a pitch and gave up an RBI single.
The two other runs scored in the sixth were not entirely on Villers, an error made by second baseman Darren Baker allowed two unearned runs to be scored putting the Mustangs up 3-0.
Baker redeemed his error in the eighth inning when he batted in the first Bears run of the day. With loaded bases he hit a ball to the Mustangs first baseman, and even though he was out on the play, his teammate scored.
Catcher Korey Lee did the real damage with a two-run double down the left field line later that inning to help the Bears tie the game 3-3.
Lee showed up again in the top of the ninth. With loaded bases and two outs, he singled to left center field and batted in two runners. The 5-3 score would stand after the Mustangs failed to respond in the bottom of the ninth.
The Golden Bears home opener will be against St. Marys College (4-3) at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Berkley, Ca.