Cal Wins Opening-Day Thriller
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Five California pitchers worked a combined five-hitter and the Golden Bears' bats came alive late in a 4-2 season-opening victory over Houston in 10 innings at the MLB4 Tournament on Friday afternoon.
After Houston (0-1) scored two unearned runs and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Cal responded with three unanswered runs in the ninth and 10th frames to secure the win on Opening Day. Caleb Lomavita roped a solo home run in the top of the ninth top send the game to extra innings before Nathan Martorella capped his 21st birthday with a go-ahead single to center field that scored Carson Crawford from second base. Lomavita extended the Bears' lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly in the 10th.
It was Cal's second consecutive victory on Opening Day and third overall under head coach Mike Neu since 2018.
Josh White was electric in his start on the mound, tying a career-high 10 strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless innings pitched. The right-hander allowed three hits and two walks but was dominant against the Cougars before turning it over to the Cal bullpen. Henrik Reinertsen (1-0) earned the win with two innings of no-hit relief and two strikeouts in the ninth and 10th innings.
Cal (1-0) mustered just one hit through six frames against Houston starting pitcher Nate Medrano before striking in the seventh with back-to-back doubles by Lomavita and Cole Elvis to take a 1-0 advantage.
Houston claimed the lead in the eighth after a dropped fly ball in left field with two outs extended the inning and a throwing error allowed two Cougars to cross home plate for a 2-1 lead. Both unearned runs were credited to Mitchell Scott who worked one inning of relief.
Cal's five pitchers tallied 15 strikeouts, highlighted by White's 10.
Lomavita and Elvis finished with a team-high two hits apiece. Between Lomavita (2-for-3) and Crawford (1-for-3), three of Cal's six hits came off the bats of freshmen in their collegiate debuts.
The Bears will face No. 17 TCU at 12 p.m. PT on Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Fans can follow along on MLB Network Radio.
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