Cal Baseball Falls to UNLV, 9-6, In 2003 Season Opener

Jan. 31, 2003

BERKELEY, CA - UNLV scored three runs off of two home runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Cal baseball team, 9-6, in the 2003 season opener for both teams. The Bears had tied the game, 6-6, by scoring three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, only to see the Rebels come back on a lead-off home run by Fernando Valenzuela and a two-run homer by Peter White off of Cal reliever Mike Padgett.

Valenzuela is the son of famed Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who was in the stands at Evans Diamond.

Reliever Ryan Braun picked up the win for UNLV, pitching 1.3 innings with two hits, no runs and one walk. Padgett suffered the loss for the Bears, pitching 1.7 innings with two hits, three runs and one earned run.

Cal started the game slowly, getting shutout by Rebel starter Robbie Van (5.0 innings, two hits, no runs, two walks, three strikeouts). Meanwhile, UNLV jumped on the Bears' starter, Matt Brown (5.0 innings, eight hits, four runs, one walk, one strikeout). The Rebels scored a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Ghutzman, a run in the third on a RBI double by Joe Wickman, two runs in the fourth on a two-run single by Eric Nielsen, a run on a solo home run by Ghutzman in the sixth and a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Padgett.

However, Cal was able to tie the game by scoring three runs in the seventh on a lead-off homer by freshman Allen Craig, an RBI single by junior catcher Chris Grossman and a sacrifice fly by freshman Jeremy Burchett. In the eighth, the Bears got their runs on a bases loaded walk by junior shortstop Jeff Dragicevich and a two-run single by Grossman.

Despite the loss, Cal had an impressive outing from Craig and Grossman. Craig hit a home run in his first collegiate at-bat after replacing Preseason All-American Conor Jackson, who sprained his right ankle rounding second base in the fourth inning. Craig also got a single in the eighth inning. Grossman finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI. Sophomore first baseman James Holder went 2-for-3 for the Bears as well.

Brent Johnson went 4-for-5 for the Rebels.

Cal will next face UNLV in the second game of the series, Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.

Home Runs:

UNLV: Ghutzman, solo home run in the sixth. Valenzuela, solo home run in the ninth. White, two-run homer in the ninth.

Cal: Craig, solo home run in the seventh.

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