Bears Bash Utes, 13-1
BERKELEY – Dom Souto's first career grand slam keyed an eight-run fifth inning and California moved within one win of clinching a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament with a 13-1 victory over Utah on Thursday night at Stu Gordon Stadium.
With the winner of this regular season-ending series earning the final spot in the conference tournament, another high-powered offensive attack and quality pitching by a trio of Golden Bears helped Cal secure a critical victory in game one. The Bears (26-25) improved to 12-16 in Pac-12 play and are two games ahead of Utah (26-25-1, 10-18).
A win on either Friday night or Saturday afternoon will clinch a tournament berth for the Bears.
Cal broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning when it plated eight runs on just three hits and five of the 10 total walks allowed by the Utes on Thursday night. The Bears loaded the bases on three consecutive walks to open the inning before Souto scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch delivered by Utah reliever Zac McCleve. RBI singles by Caleb Lomavita and Cole Elvis were followed by Souto's grand slam to left-center field – his fifth home run of the season – in his second at bat of the frame, making it a 9-1 advantage.
The run support was more than enough for Joseph King (5-3), who struck out six Utes and scattered eight hits over 6.2 innings en route to his fifth win of the season. King issued one walk to the 28 batters he faced and the lone run allowed came on a solo home run by Chase Anderson in the top of the fourth.
Nick Proctor relieved King with two outs in the seventh and stranded a pair of inherited runners with a strikeout. Mitchell Scott took care of the rest, striking out four batters across the final two innings.
Souto (2-for-3) tallied five RBIs and three runs scored, Cole Elvis went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Nathan Martorella (2-for-3) extended his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games with his 11th home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning.
The win was Cal's fourth in a row, marking its longest win streak of the season; Cal has outscored its opponents 55-6 during the win streak.
Cal and Utah clash again at 7 p.m. PT Friday at Stu Gordon Stadium. The contest will be televised on the Pac-12 Network (Mountain).
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