Opening Day Walk-Off
BERKELEY – Connor Mack singled home Darren Baker with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel California to a 4-3 victory over Pacific on opening day at Evans Diamond.
Trailing 3-2 entering the home half of the ninth, Cal's rally was sparked by Keshawn Ogans being hit by a pitch and Darren Baker following up with a single. Ogans and Baker moved into scoring position on a balk by Pacific pitcher Nick Swanson, leading to an intentional walk of Dylan Beavers to load the bases with no outs. Ogans scored the tying run in the next at bat as Selma hit into a double play. Another intentional walk of Nathan Martorella gave way to Mack, who connected for his third hit of the night to plate Baker.
Cal (1-0) was held scoreless during the second through eighth innings, but managed to pull off the victory. A two-run home run by Dylan Beavers in the first inning gave the Bears a 2-0 advantage.
Ian Villers tossed two scoreless innings in a spot start after original Friday starter Grant Holman was scratched due to soreness earlier in the week. The pitching spotlight was owned by Nick Proctor, however, as the junior right-hander tossed a career-high 4.1 innings of relief and earned the win. Proctor retired all 13 batters he faced while striking out five Tigers.
Pacific (0-1) scored all three of its runs in the top of the third against Cal's Sam Stoutenborough. Five consecutive Tigers reached base to open the inning, helping Pacific claim a 3-2 lead that it held until the bottom of the ninth.
The Bears managed just three hits through the first five innings before coming alive in the late stages of the contest.
- Pitchers of record: Win: Nick Proctor (1-0); Loss: Landon Curtis (0-1)
- Nick Proctor tossed a career-long 4.1 innings and earned the win Friday. The right-hander retired all 13 batter he faced.
- Connor Mack (3-for-4) tied his career high with three hits, including the walk-off winner.
- In addition to a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, Darren Baker scored the game-winning run and swiped his 31st career base.
- Dylan Beavers' first-inning home run was the second of his career.
- Jake Skipworth made the first start of his career at first base.
- Josh Rolling and Brian McClellin made their Cal debuts Friday. Rolling was a pinch runner while McClellin was a defensive substitution at third base. McClellin drew a walk in his lone plate appearance.
- Friday's contest was the first time in 346 days that Cal played a baseball game.
- Cal improved to 65-23 all-time against Pacific.
- Cal is now 41-20 at Evans Diamond under Mike Neu.
Cal head coach Mike Neu:
On Cal's season-opening, walk-off victory…
"I thought our guys did a great job of keeping the same approach the whole game. They remained focused and didn't panic when we fell behind, even after we had some excitement with Dylan Beavers' home run early. I thought that outside of one inning – defensively and on the mound – we did a great job as a whole.
"Our guys stayed in the moment and got it done in the late innings. We started to get guys on base and finally broke through in the ninth (inning). It was big to get the win."
On Connor Mack's performance…
"I thought Connor did a great job tonight. He had the three hits, but also made a couple great plays defensively in right field. He came to the plate in a big moment and got it done – that's what you want to see out of one of your older guys. It was exciting to see him in that spot and rise to the occasion. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, that's a big spot. I'm happy to see him come through."
On Nick Proctor's performance…
"Nick kept us in the game and eventually won us the game. We didn't implement our original game plan on the mound today, so we needed someone to step up in that spot and he did it. Nick had a great outing. We were getting quick outs defensively with him on the mound and that made a big difference."
Cal continues its four-game series against Pacific at 5 p.m. PT Saturday at Evans Diamond in Berkeley.
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