Cal Launches Past No. 13 UCLA In Opener
BERKELEY – Nathan Martorella, Dylan Beavers and Hance Smith hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the first inning and drove in every run scored by California throughout a series-opening 8-3 victory over No. 13 UCLA on Friday night at Stu Gordon Stadium.
After UCLA went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first, Cal responded in emphatic fashion as Martorella, Beavers and Smith opened the home half with consecutive long balls to take a 3-1 lead. Martorella drove the first pitch of the inning past the wall in right-center field, followed by an opposite-field blast by Beavers and a moonshot to left-center from Smith. It was the first time that Cal has hit back-to-back-to-back home runs since Jeff Kobernus, David Cooper and Josh Satin did so in a 21-9 victory over Loyola Marymount on March 15, 2008.
The power display continued as Martorella deposited a two-run shot to center field in the fifth and Smith hit another solo shot off the scoreboard in the seventh. Martorella finished the night 3-for-3 with five RBI. It was the second career two-home run game for both Martorella and Smith.
Cal (19-18, 10-9 Pac-12) got above .500 in conference play for the first time since March 11 when it won its conference opener against Arizona in Berkeley. The Golden Bears have won seven of their past 10 games and picked up just their third weekend-opening win of the season Friday.
The power display was plenty enough to back a quality night on the mound by three Cal pitchers. Ian May appeared as an opener, allowing one run on a hit and a walk to the Bruins in the top of the first before turning it over to the bullpen. Steven Zobac (2-2) earned the win with five strikeouts across four shutout innings while Josh White picked up the four-inning save.
With Cal in front 5-1 in the sixth inning UCLA (25-12, 9-7) plated one run on three hits against White in his first frame before the junior right-hander settled in and stranded three Bruins with back-to-back strikeouts. From there, White was lights-out, retiring eight in a row at one point and 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
The Bears tallied 10-plus hits (11) for the 10th time in the past 12 games. Beavers' first-inning home run was his Pac-12-leading 13th of the season and moved him into a tie with Lance Blankenship for the seventh-most in program history (32).
Game two between Cal and No. 13 UCLA is slated for 3 p.m. PT Saturday at Stu Gordon Stadium. The Bears will celebrate Hall of Fame head coach Bob Milano and his three College World Series teams (1980, '88, '92) during an on-field ceremony prior to the start of the game.
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