BERKELEY – California didn't come away with the result it wanted on Saturday afternoon, but once again proved its worth in a back-and-forth 6-5 loss to No. 10 Oregon in the regular-season finale at Evans Diamond.
The rubber-match loss dropped the Golden Bears to 29-26 overall and 15-15 in Pac-12 play with the NCAA's postseason Selection Show looming ahead on Monday at 9 a.m. PDT on ESPN2. Cal finished the regular season in seventh place in the Pac-12 standings, while Oregon (37-14, 20-10) locked up second place with the series victory.
Cal rallied to tie or take the lead three different times throughout the contest, but a go-ahead home run by Oregon's Jack Scanlon off of Steven Zobac in the eighth inning, followed by an RBI single from Kenyon Yovan in the ninth, proved to be too much to overcome. Trailing 6-4 in the home half of the ninth, Quentin Selma homered for the third time in as many days to pull Cal within one before the Ducks finished it off.
The action started quickly when both teams traded solo home runs in the first and second frames; Yovan gave Oregon a one-run lead in the top of the first before Cole Elvis knotted the score with a long ball of his own in the bottom of the second. After the Ducks quickly regained a 2-1 advantage in the third with an RBI single against Cal starter Grant Holman, the Bears responded with two runs in the home half to take their only lead of the afternoon. Jag Burden and Dylan Beavers – who reached on an error and a double down the right-field line, respectively – both scored on RBI groundouts to from Nathan Martorella and Darren Baker.
Oregon tied it back up at 3-3 the next half inning, however, when Holman tossed a bases-loaded wild pitch that allowed Josh Kasevich to score from third base. Holman avoided further trouble with a swinging strikeout and groundout to first base, but the run proved costly down the stretch.
Both teams went scoreless in the fifth and sixth frames before Yovan once again supplied Oregon with a lead in the seventh. Facing Zobac, Yovan drilled a ground-rule double to right field to score Tanner Smith, who reached on a hit-by-pitch and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. It quickly became a 4-4 game in the bottom of the seventh when Martorella doubled off the left-field wall to score Beavers from first base.
After Scanlon's eighth-inning home run put Oregon back in front, 5-4, Cal missed a key opportunity in the bottom of the frame when it failed to score the tying run in a bases-loaded, one-out scenario. Singles by Keshawn Ogans and Nathan Manning, followed by a walk to Connor Mack, brought Beavers to the plate with a chance to deliver, but he grounded into a fielder's choice play before Martorella went down swinging.
Holman, who went 4.2 innings in the no-decision effort, was backed by Mitchell Scott, Zobac and Ian Villers in relief. Scott worked 1.1 scoreless frames, while Zobac (2-2) took the loss by surrendering Oregon's fourth and fifth runs of the contest.
- Cal finished the regular season with 10 wins in its final 17 games, including six wins against teams ranked 38th or better in RPI.
- Nine Golden Bears – Darren Baker, Reuben Drogin, John Lagattuta, Connor Mack, Carson Olson, Connor Oswalt, Quentin Selma, Hance Smith and Jack Wolger – were honored during a Senior Day ceremony ahead of the game.
- Nathan Martorella batted .462 (6-for-13) with a pair of doubles and three runs scored in the Oregon series.
- Dylan Beavers finished the regular season with a Pac-12-leading 18 home runs.
- Quentin Selma homered in three consecutive games twice this season, and hit seven total home runs in the final 10 games played.
With the regular season in the rearview, Cal now awaits the NCAA's postseason Selection Show, scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT Monday on ESPN2. If selected, Cal would be an at-large bid in the 64-team NCAA Regional field. Regionals action begins June 4-7 across the country.
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