Bears Fall Short In Wild Finish
MESA, Ariz. – The California baseball team could not hold on to a late lead as it surrendered six runs in the top of the ninth inning of a back-and-forth 9-8 loss to Gonzaga at Sloan Park on Monday afternoon.
In a game that featured four lead changes, the Golden Bears (3-1) entered the ninth with a 6-3 advantage after breaking a 3-3 tie with a solo home run by Carson Crawford in the seventh and a two-run single by Cole Elvis in the eighth. The Bulldogs (3-2) flipped the script in the ninth, putting five of their first six batters on base and scoring on a wild pitch, two RBI singles and a go-ahead three-run home run by Jack Machtolf.
Cal cut its deficit back to one in its final trip to the plate as Dylan Beavers ripped his second home run of the afternoon – a two-run shot that scored Crawford, who tripled two at bats prior. A two-out double down the right field line by Nathan Martorella put the tying run at second base before a flyout to center field ended the Bears' threat.
The two teams combined for 11 runs in the final three innings of play. Henrik Reinertsen (2-1) took the loss on the mound.
Beavers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a solo home run to right field, giving Cal starter Sam Stoutenborough an early cushion. The senior right-hander worked four scoreless frames before the Zags tagged him for three runs in the fifth, keyed by a two-run triple. Stoutenborough finished with four strikeouts and five hits and three walks allowed in 4.2 innings on the mound.
Cal's bats responded quickly the following half frame as Keshawn Ogans doubled and scored on a wild pitch before Jag Burden knotted the game at 3-3 with another double to right field, scoring Jack Johnston from second base.
Vaughn Mauterer – one of the six pitchers Cal used on Monday – struck out three batters in 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, including the first batter he faced in a bases-loaded situation in the sixth.
The Bears started four freshmen in the field with Crawford at third base, Caleb Lomavita behind the dish, Rodney Green Jr. in center field and Johnston at second base in his collegiate debut. Crawford (3-for-4) scored three times to go along with his pair of extra-base hits while Beavers was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Beavers, a preseason All-American, has three home runs through four games played this season.
Cal hosts UIC in a three-game tilt at Evans Diamond next weekend, Feb. 25-26. The Bears will play their home opener at 5 p.m. PT Friday and a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. PT Saturday. All three games will be live streamed on Pac-12 Plus.
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