Bears Best No. 17 TCU In Walk-Off Win
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – California freshman Rodney Green Jr. ripped a pinch-hit triple and scored on a wild pitch as the Golden Bears rallied from a four-run deficit to defeat No. 17 TCU, 7-6, in walk-off fashion on Saturday afternoon in the MLB4 Tournament at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
A day after winning its season opener in extra innings, Cal embraced more late-inning dramatics Saturday as it stormed back from a 4-2 deficit with four runs in the eighth, squandered the lead in the top of the ninth and ultimately clinched the win in the bottom half of the final frame. Cal (2-0) notched its 15th win against a nationally-ranked foe under head coach Mike Neu, who secured his 100th victory as the Bears' skipper.
The Horned Frogs (1-1) got to Cal starter Steven Zobac – who made just his second career start on the mound – with four runs on six hits through the first two frames. Zobac settled in to retire eight of the final nine batters he faced before turning it over to Ian May in the fifth.
Cal's comeback started with one run in both the fourth and sixth innings on an RBI single from Cole Elvis and a solo home run by Dylan Beavers. As the Bears' bats heated up, May silenced the Horned Frogs with five strikeouts over four scoreless innings in his collegiate debut.
The fourth-run eighth inning was sparked with singles by Caleb Lomavita and Elvis and a walk to Nathan Manning loaded the bases with no outs. Hance Smith and Keshawn Ogans delivered back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game before Cal claimed its first lead on a sacrifice fly by Jag Burden and another RBI single from Beavers.
TCU fought back to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the ninth with an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk. Despite issuing the game-tying walk, Henrik Reinertsen (2-0) stranded three Horned Frogs with a swinging strikeout and a groundout to shortstop en route to earning his second win in as many days.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Green Jr. made his collegiate debut in grand fashion by belting his triple into right-center field before crossing home plate unscathed on a wild pitch in the following at bat.
Cal snapped a four-game skid against TCU, which included a sweep by the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth in 2020. Elvis (3-for-5) led Cal with three hits while Beavers was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and two walks drawn.
Cal concludes its weekend at the MLB4 Tournament against San Diego State at 1 p.m. PT Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU Radio.
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