Bears Drop Series Opener On Road
EUGENE, Ore. – California could not avoid the big inning against No. 25 Oregon on cold and rainy Friday night at PK Park, allowing three runs in the sixth and fourth in the eighth of a 7-2 series-opening loss.
Steven Zobac held the Ducks scoreless on three hits over the first five frames and Cal led 2-0 through five and a half before Oregon stormed back with three runs on three doubles in the pivotal sixth inning. Josh White (1-5) was tagged with the loss, allowing six of the Ducks' seven runs across two innings pitched in relief of Zobac.
The loss was Cal's (20-21, 10-12 Pac-12) third straight in conference play.
The Bears went hitless in all but two innings – the fourth and the eighth – and mustered four total hits against five Ducks pitchers. Cal was without star first baseman Nathan Martorella (illness), who missed his first game in more than two years; the junior is one of the hottest bats in the country over the past three weeks, batting .420 with an OPS of 1.336 and seven home runs in the month of April.
After going hitless against Oregon starter RJ Gordon through the first three frames, the Bears' bats broke through with a two-run fourth inning. Dylan Beavers (1-for-5) led off the inning by smashing a single through the right side of the infield and crossed the plate two at bats later when Caleb Lomavita laced a double into left field. Lomavita then advanced to third base and scored on a pair of wild pitches, making it a 2-0 game.
Zobac opened the sixth inning with his fourth strikeout and ninth consecutive out, but a double from Drew Cowley in the following at bat ended the right-hander's night and shifted momentum into the Ducks' favor. Facing White out of the bullpen, Oregon put the tying run on base with a walk and later tallied back-to-back RBI doubles, the second of which scored a pair and gave the Ducks the lead.
White worked five straight outs from the end of the sixth into the eighth inning but issued three one-out walks before allowing a bases-clearing triple off the center field wall to Anthony Hall, which made it a 7-2 game. Hall came home for the final run of the night on a groundout in the following at bat before Nick Proctor was able to end the inning with a strikeout.
Zobac struck out four and allowed one run on four hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. He's allowed just two runs in 17.2 innings pitched since April 3.
Lomavita (2-for-4) was responsible for half of Cal's hits while making his first career start at first base in place of Martorella.
Cal dropped to 4-6 against Oregon in the Mike Neu era since 2018.
Cal goes for the equalizer against Oregon at 2 p.m. PT Saturday in Eugene. Junior righty Joseph King (3-2, 3.29), who leads the Pac-12 in walks allowed per nine innings (1.21), will make his 11th start of the season on the mound.
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