Cougars Capture Series With 11-0 Romp at Evans Diamond
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Category: Sports > Spring > Baseball
Garry Kuykendall pulled a slow grounder to the right side and beat Cal first baseman Blake Smith's flip to the bag for an infield single.
It was the Washington State baseball team's 10th hit of Saturday's game, and it came with no outs and a runner on -- in the top of the third inning.
The Cougars tagged Bears starter Brian Diemer for six runs in just 1 1/3 innings and secured their first series win in Berkeley since 2001 with an 11-0 romp at Evans Diamond.
"They came out and they played better," Cal coach David Esqeur said. "For two days they've played better than we have. They've mauled our pitching and they've held us down."
Washington State starter Chad Arnold mastered the Bears' potent lineup, giving up just four hits -- all singles -- and no runs in seven strong innings. Arnold and left-handed reliever Adam Conley combined to shut Cal out for the first time since the opening round of the NCAA tournament last May.
"I just threw strikes and located," Arnold said. "My slider was nice and sharp, I was able to locate it early, dump it in, then spike it late to get them to swing over it or get ground ball outs."
The Bears' five hits came from five different players and Arnold scattered them well, never allowing multiple hits in an inning. The closest that Cal came to threatening was in the bottom of the sixth, when the first two batters reached base before Arnold struck out left fielder Danny Oh and got a flyout and fielder's choice to end the potential rally.
"He's did a nice job, but we haven't played like ourselves," Esquer said. "He's solid and good, but we've faced solid and good this year and had success."
Third baseman Michael Brady agreed that Saturday was just an uncharacteristic performance by an offense that came into the game hitting a conference-leading .318, saying that there was "nothing special about (Arnold)."
"I think it was just one of those days where you come out and things don't fall," Brady said. "Couple bad breaks here and there, and it's just a dead game offensively."
For the Cougars, it was anything but.
WSU scored two runs with two outs in the first on a walk and three straight hits, then chased Diemer from the game with four more runs in the second. Right fielder Derek Jones provided the big blow -- a three-run home run with one out that put the Cougars up 6-0.
And the hits kept on coming, as Washington State added a run in the third, one in the fifth and three more in the seventh on the way to handing the Bears their most lopsided home defeat since a 16-5 loss to Arizona on May 4, 2008.
It's the first time since 2004 that the Cougars, who came to Berkeley with an 8-11 record, have won a series against Cal.
"We didn't underestimate them," center fielder Brett Jackson said. "I don't know if it comes down to preparation or if it comes down to approaching the game on an individual basis. But they're definitely outhitting us. Outhitting us and outpitching us. And that's going to win the ballgame."
Esquer said that the result of Saturday's game -- on the heels of an 8-7 loss to the Cougars on Friday -- was "unexpected."
"I'd like us to compete better," he said. "I don't think we're really competing all that well. I think we're feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit.
"This is a tough league. This league kind of ebbs and flows and the season kind of ebbs and flows, and we're in one of those spots where we've got to battle back and find our stride again."
Jackson also cited the Bears' need to toughen up mentally in order to salvage the series finale on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
"I'm disappointed and embarrassed, but it's going to come down to tomorrow -- if we can come out and show (Washington State) that we're tough, show the coaches," Jackson said. "Right now we've got to show our own coaches that we're tough. We've got to compete more, and we haven't done a good job of competing the past two games."
Contact Matt Kawahara at [email protected]
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