Cal Knots Series With Late Firepower
LOS ANGELES – Dylan Beavers smacked a go-ahead two-run home run as California scored four times in the ninth inning to defeat No. 25 USC, 9-5, and knot the series on Saturday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.
Cal scored seven runs in the final three frames but squandered a lead by allowing four to USC in the eighth, only to punch back with four runs of its own in the ninth. The Golden Bears (9-9, 2-3 Pac-12) never trailed and hammered out 12 hits, including four for extra bases, a day after putting up just two runs on six hits in a series-opening 6-2 loss.
Tied 5-5 in the ninth with Nathan Martorella on first base following a leadoff walk, Beavers deposited a 1-2 pitch off the scoreboard in right field for his seventh home run of the season. Cal added two more runs of insurance as Caleb Lomavita, who was hit by a pitch, scored on a wild pitch and Hance Smith came home on a sacrifice fly by Rodney Green Jr. after singling to right field.
Nick Proctor (2-1) induced a game-ending double play in the home half of the ninth to pick up the win. The senior right-hander entered the game in the eighth with the game tied 5-5 and stranded USC's potential go-ahead run at first base with a pop up to second base and a swinging strikeout.
Cal carried a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth after Lomavita hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in the seventh and Nathan Manning plated Keshawn Ogans – who had a career-high four hits in a 4-for-5 effort – with a double to right-center field in the eighth. USC (12-5, 3-2) rallied, however, scoring four times on three hits against Steven Zobac, who entered the game as Cal's third pitcher following Chris Stamos, who allowed the first two Trojans of the inning to reach safely.
Stamos was called in from the bullpen in the sixth to relieve starter Joseph King with the tying run on third base and two outs. The junior left-hander preserved a 2-1 lead with a swinging strikeout and worked 1.1 innings before turning it over to Zobac in the eighth.
King impressed over 5.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out a pair.
Cal broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fourth as Smith scored on a wild pitch and Jag Burden's well-executed safety squeeze bunt brought home Green Jr. from third base. Three consecutive singles by Smith – who also stole second base – Green Jr. and Ogans sparked the inning. The Bears improved to 7-3 when scoring first this season.
Ogans is 6-for-8 this series and leads the team with a .338 average following his four-hit effort while Beavers has tallied two hits and a home run in three of his past four games. Proctor has held opponents scoreless in eight of his nine relief appearances this season.
The rubber match between Cal and USC is slated for 1 p.m. PDT at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. The Pac-12 contest will be live streamed.
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