Bears Secure Series
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hance Smith smacked two of California's three home runs and the Golden Bears scored five late runs in a 9-5 series-clinching win at Utah Saturday afternoon at Smith's Ballpark.
Leading 4-3 heading into the eighth inning, Cal (14-7, 2-0 Pac-12) pushed across three critical runs on a pair of sacrifice flies and an RBI single by Cole Elvis. A two-run single from Quentin Selma in the ninth made it a 9-3 advantage before the Bears fought off a late two-run rally by Utah (4-13, 1-4) in the final half inning.
The win was the Bears' seventh in eight games and secured their fifth consecutive series victory. Josh White (3-0) earned the win on the mound, striking out six batters across four innings of relief work.
Solo home runs by Smith and Selma gave Cal an early two-run lead in the second. After Utah chipped away with a run in the third, Smith delivered another blow – a two-run home run to right field – and extended Cal's lead to 4-1. The Utes continued to prove resilient, however, scoring twice on Matt Richardson's single in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Bears' lead to one run.
Utah's first three runs came against Cal starter Sean Sullivan, who pitched through the fourth. Cal turned to White in the bottom of the fifth, and the sophomore right-hander held the Utes in check through the eighth, highlighted by a three-strikeout frame in the seventh. When White got into trouble in the ninth, Cal turned to Steven Zobac, who, after loading the bases, notched a strikeout and a game-ending double play.
- Cal improved to 23-6 all-time against Utah and 7-1 under head coach Mike Neu.
- Nathan Manning continued his scorching work at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and one run scored. In the past four games, Manning is batting 12-for-16 (.750).
- With his 3-for-5 performance at the plate, Quentin Selma has six multi-hit efforts in the past seven games.
- Darren Baker (26 games) and Selma (20) extended their reached-base streaks.
- Baker stole third in the ninth inning, giving him 10 in 11 attempts on the season.
- Josh White has tallied at least five strikeouts in all six of his appearances on the mound this season.
- Hance Smith's four RBI are a career-high. He's the second Bear this season with a two-home-run game, joining Nathan Martorella.
- Steven Zobac has yet to allow a run in 10 innings of work on the mound this season.
Cal's Pac-12 series at Utah concludes Sunday at 10 a.m. PT. The Pac-12 Network will televise the game from Smith's Ballpark.
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