Friday Night Thriller
BERKELEY – Grant Holman stifled Washington State's offense across six frames and California rallied with two runs in the eighth inning for a 3-2 series-opening win over the Cougars Friday night at Evans Diamond.
The Golden Bears (19-17, 6-7 Pac-12) found a way to get it done Friday despite going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, scoring on a throwing error, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice fly. Cal's win snapped a four-game losing streak.
After WSU (17-15, 5-11) broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth, Cal pushed two runs across in the home half with a bit of help from the visiting Cougars. Cole Elvis hit into a potential double play with runners on first and second and one out, but a WSU error up the middle loaded the bases. Steven Zobac was hit by a pitch in the next at bat, bringing home Connor Mack for the tying run. Darren Baker then drove in Hance Smith with a sac fly to left field for the game-winning run.
Josh White slammed the door shut in the ninth, striking out four Cougars for his third save of the season.
Both squads settled into a pitcher's duel early on as Holman and Wazzu starter Brandon White opened the evening with four scoreless innings apiece. Holman allowed just three baserunners through the first four frames and erased all three with inning-ending double plays up the middle. The Cal ace threw a season-high 91 pitches and struck out four batters across six innings, while allowing just one run on five hits.
WSU's lone run against Holman came in the top of the fifth when the Cougars capitalized on a wild pitch and two singles. The Bears quickly got it back in the home half of the inning when Keshawn Ogans scored from third on an attempted pick-off by the WSU catcher that resulted in a throwing error. Ogans led off the fifth with a walk and stole second base.
Jack Wolger and Ian Villers bridged the gap between Holman and White with two combined innings. Villers (2-1) struck out two batters and earned the win despite allowing a single that plated the Cougars' go-ahead single in the eighth.
- Cal has won eight straight games at home against Washington State dating back to 2015.
- The Bears improved to 13-5 at home this season.
- Darren Baker wasted no time extending his reached-base streak to 41 games, drawing a leadoff walk in the first inning. He walked twice.
- Josh White's four-strikeout inning pushed his season total to 49 in 36.0 innings pitched.
- John Lagattuta (2-for-4) and Nathan Martorella (2-for-3) had two-hit efforts. It was Lagattuta's fifth multi-hit performance in nine games.
- Cole Elvis (1-for-4) tripled off the right-field wall in the second. It was his first career three-bagger.
- Cal's three double plays were all started by shortstop Keshawn Ogans. The Bears have 31 double plays this season.
Game two of the weekend series starts at 4 p.m. (PDT) Saturday at Evans Diamond. The Pac-12 Network will carry the action.
For coverage of Cal baseball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalBaseball), Instagram (@CalBaseball) and Facebook (/CalBaseball/).