Bears Roast Ducks With 14-Run Outburst

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They're back.

The Cal baseball team's offense of old -- of last year and of earlier this season -- showed up for the second straight game Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond. Two days after a 21-run outburst against UC Davis, the Bears pounced on Oregon starter Tyler Anderson for nine runs in the first two innings and rode that early lead to a 14-1 win in the first game of a three-game series.

"We swung the bats well at Davis and we brought it today, too," second baseman Jeff Kobernus said. "Everybody's been swinging the bat well and when you swing it well, good things are going to happen."

Cal's recent eight-game slide was characterized partly by an inability to produce constantly at the plate, according to coach David Esquer. That problem was nowhere to be found on Friday as the Bears pounded out 16 hits and scored multiple runs in four different innings.

Kobernus delivered the big blow in a seven-run second inning with his first grand slam of the season. After Mark Canha drove in the first run of the inning with a bases-loaded walk, Kobernus jumped on the first pitch he saw -- a low inside fastball -- from Anderson and deposited a line-drive shot over the wall in left field.

"(Anderson) walked Canha on four pitches, and when they went out there to talk to him I knew he was going to try to get ahead with the first pitch," Kobernus said. "I was just looking for a fastball and trying to put the barrel on it, and a good thing happened."

Two batters later, right fielder Danny Oh took a high outside fastball the opposite way to left for his fourth homer of the year -- a two-run shot that put Cal up 9-0.

Anderson's outing was unusual for a Ducks team that thrives on solid pitching and tight defense to keep it in games. Freshman Chris Garrison relieved Anderson in the second out and actually finished out the game, allowing nine hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings.

"I thought their pitching was pretty decent today," Kobernus said. "(Anderson) left some balls up and they got hit, but I know he had been throwing really well besides today."

Bears freshman Erik Johnson, on the other hand, had the best start of his young career against a light-hitting Oregon lineup.

Johnson went eight innings giving up just one run while scattering six hits and striking out six. The freshman right-hander didn't give up a run until Ducks left fielder Curtis Raulinaitis dropped down a squeeze bunt with two outs and runners on first and third in the top of the eighth.

Johnson also walked just one hitter, spotting up with his fastball and relying heavily on a sweeping curveball that gave Oregon's hitters a lot of trouble.

"I think I worked off my fastball today," Johnson said. "My curveball worked real good. I could throw that for a strike when I wanted to, which was great for me. The change was kinda off today, but I got a few guys on it.

"Can't have everything every day," he added with a smile.

The freshman improved to 3-3 and lowered his ERA almost a whole run to 4.42.

Cal was greeted with a sun-drenched afternoon in its return to Evans Diamond following nine straight games away from home, and responded with one of its best all-around performances of the season.

"When we weren't hitting well, the pitching was doing well and we weren't picking them up," Kobernus said. "And then when we were pitching well, our hitting wasn't picking us up. But now we're pitching well and hitting well, and everybody just feels a lot more confident."

The Bears scored twice in the sixth inning on a two-run double by left fielder Dwight Tanaka. They added three more in the eighth to round out the scoring on an RBI double from pinch hitter Chad Bunting and a two-run home run to left-center by catcher Chadd Krist -- the first of his college career.

Cal and the Ducks will play game two of this series Saturday afternoon at Evans Diamond, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.


Contact Matt Kawahara at [email protected]

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