Cal Sputters to Sloppy Finish in San Diego

Flurry of Errors Proves Costly for Bears, Who Suffer Their First Losing Streak of the Season

Photo: Kevin Miller allowed two earned runs in Cal's 3-1 loss to UConn in his second start of the season. The senior is now 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA.
Kevin Miller allowed two earned runs in Cal's 3-1 loss to UConn in his second start of the season. The senior is now 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA.

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After the Cal baseball team opened its weekend with a 6-2 win over San Diego, coach David Equer credited his defense.

This was one of the major improvements in the team, Esquer said Thursday. He spoke of the need to back up his squad's stellar pitching. He spoke of the team's maturity and of Tony Renda and Marcus Semien's play at second base and shortstop.

He may have spoken too soon.

The No. 14 Bears (6-4) dropped their next three games at San Diego Tournament, committing six errors in the last two contests at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The most costly came yesterday against No. 22 Connecticut, putting the Huskies on the scoreboard in a 3-1 decision.

The first mistake came in the bottom of the third inning. UConn's Billy Ferriter had stolen second base after being hit by a pitch. Then, first baseman Mike Friel laced a single into the left field. Cal's Vince Bruno couldn't connect with first baseman Devin Rodriguez, scoring Ferriter and moving Friel to third.

Kevin Miller, in his second start of the season, forced the next two outs to close the inning and limit the damage.

Both Cal and Connecticut (4-4) went scoreless through the fourth, fifth and sixth, but the Bears' defense faltered again in the seventh.

After giving up a run on a double and a pair of singles, Miller was replaced with reliever Matt Flemer. The junior immediately struck out the next batter, but an ensuing single scored the Huskies' runner on third and put the Bears in a 3-0 hole.

Cal scored its lone run of the game in the top of the eighth inning - on a fielding error by UConn's Ferriter.

The Bears fared little better in the tough slate on Saturday, making a season high-tying four errors against No. 3 Oklahoma in a 5-3 loss.

Top pitcher Justin Jones took the mound for Cal, but gave up the first run early in his eight-inning start on a sacrifice bunt. The Sooners' Max White reached home plate after stealing third on a failed pickoff attempt, the Bears' first error of the contest.

Cal responded quickly in the bottom of the first, with Renda doubling into right center. Austin Booker's single scored Renda, and a throwing error moved Booker to third. The senior then scored on a fly out to give his team a 2-1 lead.

Oklahoma tacked on two more runs in the top of the third. With runners on second and third, the Sooner's Garrett Buechele singled for two RBI.

Facing two outs and empty bases in the top of the sixth inning, Oklahoma somehow managed to score its fourth run - without getting a hit. First, Jones walked Sooner catcher Tyler Ogle. Ogle then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. The team captain scored on another throwing error.

Cal center fielder Chad Bunting finished up his team's tally with an RBI double in the eighth.

The Sooners (14-0) stayed perfect with the victory despite being outhit, 8-7. Coming after a 2-1 loss to San Diego State on Friday, it gave the Bears their first losing streak of the spring.


Jack Wang covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected]

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