BERKELEY – California ended up on the losing side of a 4-3 rubber match against Washington State despite a superb effort by seven Golden Bear pitchers Sunday evening at Evans Diamond.
With a Pac-12 series on the line, Cal turned Sunday into a staff day on the mound after expected starting pitcher Paulshawn Pasqualotto was scratched (triceps). The seven Cal pitchers used rose to the challenge, limiting Washington State (19-15, 7-11) to just three earned runs on seven hits while striking out nine batters to zero walks issued.
All three Cal runs came via a pair of home runs by Quentin Selma and Steven Zobac. The Bears (19-19, 6-9) managed just two other hits in the contest – both by Nathan Manning – aside from the long balls.
WSU's four runs were scored within a three-inning span from the third to the fifth. A wild pitch and a throwing error in the same sequence led to the Cougars' first run in the third, and a two-run double by Jacob McKeon in the fourth made it a 3-0 contest before Cal had tallied its first hit. Selma's solo home run got one back in the home half of the fourth, but WSU punched back with its fourth run in its next trip to the plate.
The final run-scoring blow of the game by either team was Zobac's two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. Manning led off the frame with a single before Zobac smacked an 0-1 pitch into the ivy past the right-field wall, cutting WSU's lead to one. Cal went down in order in three of the final four frames, however, and couldn't come up with the game-tying run. The Bears' best chance came in the seventh when Manning reached third base after roping a one-out double into the left-center gap, but he was left stranded.
Five of Cal's seven pitchers worked scoreless appearances, including Aaron Roberts, Ian Villers and Josh White, who teamed up to toss the final four innings while tallying four strikeouts. Vaughn Mauterer was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs – two earned – on three hits.
- Darren Baker (0-for-4) was kept off base Sunday, snapping a 42-game reached-base streak that dated back to the 2020 season.
- Josh White struck out two Cougars in the ninth. In two innings pitched this series, White struck out six of the seven batters he faced.
- Ian Villers has not allowed an earned run over his past seven appearance and 9.1 innings pitched.
- Cal's pitching staff did not issue a walk in a game for the second time this season and allowed just five all series.
- Cal had its first multi-home-run game since April 11 at Arizona. The home runs were Selma's seventh and Zobac's fourth this season.
- Nathan Manning went 2-for-3 with one run and a stolen base Sunday after an 0-for-7 start to the series.
Cal travels to Seattle for a three-game series at Washington next weekend. The action gets started at 5 p.m. (PDT) Friday, April 30.
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