BERKELEY – Grant Holman struck out a career-high nine batters but California could not produce enough run support in a series-deciding 7-2 loss to Arizona State Sunday afternoon at Evans Diamond.
One day after going hitless over the final five innings of a 6-3 defeat, Cal's bats remained quiet Sunday. The Golden Bears (24-21, 10-11 Pac-12) managed one hit – a triple in the right-center gap by Dylan Beavers – through the first seven frames before piecing together a pair of two-hit innings in the eighth and ninth to plate two runs.
Arizona State improved to 27-15 (12-9) with the series win.
Holman (0-2) wasn't at his best but did enough to keep the Bears in the fight. The junior right-hander allowed four runs on nine hits and walked four, but used his swing-and-miss stuff to avoid serious trouble throughout his six innings pitched. ASU got on the board in the second inning with a solo home run from Nate Baez and an RBI infield single by Hunter Jump before a two-run double down the right-field line by Sean McLain made it a 4-0 contest in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Cal couldn't find its rhythm offensively against ASU starter Kai Murphy, who entered the game with 1.2 innings pitched this season. The freshman left-hander needed just 71 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings; the only two base runners he allowed were Beavers (triple) and Quentin Selma, who reached with a first-inning walk.
By the time Cal pushed its first run across in the bottom of the eighth, ASU had extended its lead to 6-0 with a two-run home run by Drew Swift in the top half of the frame. Both of the Bears' runs were scored on double plays, which effectively halted any last-chance momentum.
- Cal's four pitchers struck out 13 batters, tied for the second most in a game this season. Grant Holman's career-high nine strikeouts topped his previous best of seven, which he reached twice prior.
- Dylan Beavers (2-for-4) had his 12th multi-hit game of the year.
- Darren Baker needs 12 hits to reach 200 for his career after Sunday's 1-for-4 effort.
- Cal is 4-4 against Arizona State under Mike Neu since 2018.
Cal will face rival Stanford four times in as many days on May 14-17. The two teams will play the Big Series in Berkeley Friday through Sunday before clashing once more in a non-conference contest Monday night in Stanford. First pitch of Friday's series opener is slated for 6 p.m. PDT.
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