Stavert Shuts Down Bears' Lineup as Oregon Wins Game Two, 5-3

Photo: Erik Johnson pitched eight innings and struck out six on Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond. The Bears won the game, 14-1, and took the series against the Ducks.
Michael Restrepo/Photo
Erik Johnson pitched eight innings and struck out six on Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond. The Bears won the game, 14-1, and took the series against the Ducks.

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The huge crowd of family and friends that came out to see Oregon starter Erik Stavert pitch against the Cal baseball team definitely did not go home disappointed.

Stavert -- a native of Livermore, Calif. -- pitched five-hit ball for eight innings on Saturday at Evans Diamond, downing the Bears 5-3 in the second game of a three-game series in Berkeley.

"I always grew up (in a family of) all Cal fans, so it was pretty funny coming to pitch against a team you've been a fan of," Stavert said. "It was nice to come home and pitch so well for our team and for our fans."

Stavert used his solid offspeed pitches to limit a potent Cal offense that came into the game hitting .306 as a team. Stavert got eight Bears hitters to strike out, primarily on well-placed curveballs.

"I just had to mix up a lot of offspeed because they're great fastball hitters," Stavert said. "They're patient hitters. They only swing at what they want to. If you put them behind in the count by throwing offspeed early because they don't want to hit offspeed, you're in pretty good shoes."

The Ducks (13-22, 3-8 in the Pac-10) nearly squandered Stavert's gem in the bottom of the ninth, though, as Cal scored three runs before finally being sent home. Stavert walked second baseman Jeff Kobernus to lead off the inning, setting up designated hitter Blake Smith who sent an offering from Stavert deep to left field for a two-run home run.

Things got even more interesting when Oregon reliever Ryan Fleckenstein came in and promptly walked left fielder Dwight Tanaka, and right fielder Danny Oh did the same when Drew Gagnier relieved Fleckenstein.

But catcher Chadd Krist flew out to right, pinch hitter Chad Bunting struck out and center fielder Brett Jackson grounded out to second to put an end to the rally.

The Bears (17-19, 4-10) got a solid start from Chris Petrini, who went 4 2/3 innings, scattering five hits and striking out four with the assist of his big breaking ball. Petrini's only major mistake of the day was a two-run home run to first baseman Darrell Hunter in the top of the second inning, but that was all the Ducks needed to ensure the victory.

"It's nice to have him come in and throw strikes," Smith said. "We just gotta piece together hitting and pitching at the same time ... We weren't swinging at that good of pitches. We were hitting too many fly balls, is the bottom line."

The Bears play the rubber match today at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.

Contact Katie Dowd at [email protected]

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