Wild Walk-Off Win
BERKELEY – California scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a seven-run rally that ended in a 9-8 walk-off win against No. 16 Arizona in the Pac-12 Conference opener Friday night at Evans Diamond.
Rodney Green Jr. slid into home plate untouched on a wild pitch for the game-winning run and was chased into right field by his teammates as the celebration ensued. Cal (7-6, 1-0 Pac-12) tallied just one hit in the ninth frame, capitalizing on two walks, one hit by pitch, three wild pitches and a passed ball by Arizona's Holden Christian to score all four runs.
Cal scored seven unanswered runs after trailing 8-2 in the sixth to pick up its first conference victory of the season.
Trailing 8-5 entering the home half of the ninth, the Golden Bears loaded the bases with one out as Dylan Beavers (walk), Caleb Lomavita (single) and Hance Smith (hit by pitch) reached safely. Beavers and Lomavita scored on wild pitches and Smith came home on a passed ball to tie the game. Green Jr., who reached with a walk, advanced into scoring position on the second wild pitch of the inning and got to third on the passed ball before scoring on Christian's final wild pitch.
After jumping ahead 2-0 with solo home runs by Nathan Martorella – a lead-off shot to right field – and Nathan Manning in the first and second innings, Cal found itself with a six-run deficit by the middle of the sixth as Arizona (10-4, 0-1) plated three in the fourth, one in the fifth and four in the sixth. Josh White was effective for the Bears in his fourth start of the season on the mound – he struck out nine and allowed just four hits in 4.2 innings – but the junior right-hander allowed a career-high seven walks and allowed the Wildcats to score four times.
Mitchell Scott was tagged with four runs in just 0.2 innings of relief following White's departure in the fifth inning.
Momentum shifted in the home half of the sixth when Cal scored three times, including twice on an RBI single through the left side by Carson Crawford, who then scored two at bats later on a single by Beavers.
Christian Becerra and Chris Stamos (1-0) held Arizona scoreless over the final three innings. Cal's staff struck out 14 batters for the sixth time this season; the Bears have recorded 10-plus strikeouts in six straight games.
Seven of the nine Bears who earned a plate appearance tallied at least one hit, including Martorella (2-for-3, two walks), who reached base four times. Green Jr. drew a career-high three walks and scored twice.
Cal improved to 7-3 against Arizona under head coach Mike Neu and picked up its fourth win against a nationally-ranked opponent this season.
Cal and Arizona resume their Pac-12-opening series at 3 p.m. PT Saturday.
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