Rubber Match Loss In Phoenix
PHOENIX, Ariz. – California baseball could not hold onto a seven-run lead and allowed 14 unanswered runs to Arizona State in a series-deciding 16-9 loss Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
An early offensive attack saw the Golden Bears take a 9-2 advantage into the sixth inning, but it was all Arizona State from that point. The Sun Devils clawed back with five runs in the sixth – fueled by a three-run home run from Ryan Campos – and took over the ballgame with a nine-run eighth.
The Sun Devils sent 14 batters to the plate in the pivotal eighth inning and came away with five hits, four walks and a hit batter. After a bases-loaded single by Alex Champagne cut Cal's lead to 9-8, ASU (13-16, 5-4 Pac-12) pulled ahead for the first time on a costly fielding error at first base, which allowed two runs to score. The ASU rally continued with a bases-clearing triple, an RBI double and a bases-loaded walk.
Cal dropped to 12-15 overall and 5-7 in conference play with its fifth series loss of the season. Steven Zobac (1-2) took the loss after allowing the first six runs (five earned) in the eighth inning.
Cal's No. 1-4 hitters – Hance Smith (2-for-5), Dylan Beavers (3-for-5), Caleb Lomavita (2-for-5) and Nathan Martorella (2-for-4) – paced a 14-hit afternoon at the plate, driving in seven combined runs and scoring eight of the team's nine runs.
The Bears faced just two pitches before taking the lead in the opening frame, as Smith singled and moved into scoring position on a balk before Beavers knocked him in with another single through the right side. Cal stretched its lead to 2-0 on an infield single from Nathan Martorella two at bats later. A triple by Beavers and a two-run home run off the batter's eye by Lomavita made it 5-1 in the third. Martorella and Keshawn Ogans delivered a two-run double apiece in the fifth.
Ian May went 5.1 innings in his third start of the season, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks. The freshman retired 13 of 15 batters faced at one point from the end of the second inning through the start of the sixth.
Cal returns to Bear Territory to host Cal Poly at 5 p.m. PDT Tuesday at Stu Gordon Stadium. The Mustangs won the first meeting, 14-4, between the two teams on March 22 in Berkeley. Tuesday's contest will be live streamed on Pac-12 Plus.
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