Bears Stave Off Sweep With Sunday Shutout

Photo: <b>Darrel Matthews</b>, Bears center fielder, was driven in by designated hitter Brian Guinn on a single up the middle for Cal's fifth run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday.
Connie Chen/Photo
Darrel Matthews, Bears center fielder, was driven in by designated hitter Brian Guinn on a single up the middle for Cal's fifth run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday.

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With two on in the bottom of the sixth, Cal baseball coach David Esquer signaled bunt to Mark Canha. Canha took a high fastball from Arkansas pitcher Geoffrey Davenport, and then looked to Esquer for the next sign.

"I was expecting the same thing, and he took it off," Canha said. "I was kind of surprised and I was thinking of laying a bunt down anyway.

"But I just decided to swing away and see if I got a good pitch to hit, and I think (Davenport) thought I was going to bunt so he threw one right down the middle."

Canha didn't miss.

The first baseman blasted a towering home run over the left field wall, nearly catching the top of the RSF on the way down.

The three-run shot put the Bears up 4-0 en route to a 6-0 victory over the No. 17 Razorbacks on salvage Sunday at Evans Diamond.

After losing the first two games to Arkansas, Cal came out with a purpose yesterday and, at least for one game, looked far superior to its SEC foe.

Unlike the Bears' two previous outings, they managed to play enough small ball to out-hit the power-packed Razorbacks lineup.

"We only had five ground balls yesterday, and they made (three) errors," left fielder Danny Oh said. "We shortened up our swings a little bit to try to get more balls on the ground and it paid off."

Cal manufactured runs beautifully. In the sixth, second baseman Austin Booker singled on pure hustle, beating out the throw from the shortstop. Oh followed him with a bunt single. Canha then brought them home.

The Bears also capitalized on Arkansas errors to score a few insurance runs.

In the seventh, center fielder Darrel Matthews reached base on an error by third baseman Derrick Bleeker. Matthews stole second when the Razorback infield neglected to cover second, and designated hitter Brian Guinn singled hard up the middle to drive him in.

Pitching was also vastly improved. Starter Kevin Miller, who was roughed up in his first start of the season against UC Davis, looked in command on Sunday. He kept his fastball low and finished with a sharp-breaking curveball, giving up four hits in six innings of work.

The difference, said Miller, was all mental.

"You can't make too many mistakes, but you also can't go up there thinking if you make a mistake, they'll beat me," he said. "You have to have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder to beat a team with the power that they have."

Miller and Brian Diemer, who pitched the last three innings in relief, held Arkansas to six hits while striking out five. Coming into the game, the Razorbacks were hitting .300.

"That's as good as I've seen a team of mine play in a while," Esquer said. "We pitched well, we played good defense, the middle of our lineup came through That was a hell of a game for us."


Contact Katie Dowd at [email protected]

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