Nail-Biting Loss In Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. – California put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth inning but could not come up with the big hit it needed all night in a 4-3 loss to No. 22 Arizona Saturday at Hi Corbett Field.
A trio of Golden Bear pitchers – Sean Sullivan, Josh White and Joseph King – held an Arizona offense that averaged 8.9 runs per game to just four (three earned) on Saturday, but the performance was spoiled by missed opportunities at the plate. Cal (16-13, 4-4 Pac-12) went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and took its first series loss since dropping three of four to Pacific in the opening weekend of the season.
Darren Baker (3-for-4, two runs) led off the top of the ninth with an infield single and came within 90 feet of home plate before a game-ending strikeout of Nathan Manning halted the Bears' final threat.
Cal led, 2-0, through three innings played as John Lagattuta drew a bases-loaded walk in the first before Manning doubled home Quentin Selma from first base in the third. The early run support fueled Sullivan, who tallied five of his six strikeouts across the first three scoreless frames.
Momentum shifted in the fourth, however, as Cal could not avoid the big inning from Arizona's bats. The Wildcats (21-8, 7-4) strung together four consecutive hits and took a 3-2 lead, knocking Sullivan out of the game in the process. White relieved Sullivan and stranded two inherited runners with a strikeout. Aside from an unearned run – due to a Cal throwing error with two outs – allowed in the fifth, White was strong in his 3.1 innings of relief before handing the baton to King for the eighth.
A sacrifice fly by Selma scored Baker in the seventh, proving to be the last run of the game for either squad. Cal had one runner stranded in scoring position at the end of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
- Darren Baker and Nathan Manning both reached base safely three times, extending their reached-base streaks to 34 and 14 games.
- Baker tied a career high with three hits. He leads Cal with 12 multi-hit performances.
- Cal's three doubles by Baker, Manning and Nathan Martorella tied a season high.
- The Bears' pitching staff posted an 8-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It's the 20th time in 29 games that Cal has issued three walks or less.
Cal looks to salvage the series at 1 p.m. (PDT) Sunday. Paulshawn Pasqualotto will get the ball for his seventh start of the season.
For coverage of Cal baseball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalBaseball), Instagram (@CalBaseball) and Facebook (/CalBaseball/).