Late Cal Comeback Falls Short In 11-Inning Decision at Evans

Photo: Marcus Semien hit a three-run home run over Evans Diamond's left field fence in the ninth inning to tie San Francisco. It was the shortstop's second homer of the season.
Simone Anne Lang/Photo
Marcus Semien hit a three-run home run over Evans Diamond's left field fence in the ninth inning to tie San Francisco. It was the shortstop's second homer of the season.

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Evans Diamond was begging for another miracle win. Shortstop Marcus Semien's three-run homer had knotted the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth. The No. 15 Cal baseball team, playing in the 15th game of its final season, seemed destined for its third comeback stunner of the season.

But the Bears' hopes against San Francisco faded along with a crowd of 127 too impatient to sit through two extra innings. After retiring three straight in the 10th, Cal reliever Matt Flemer gave up four consecutive singles in the 11th for the go-ahead run.

With runners on first and third in the bottom of the final inning, catcher Chadd Krist grounded into a double play and the Dons escaped Berkeley with a 7-6 victory.

"It's easy to get a negative energy from the game, but the fact of the matter is they played good and they thought they should have beat us by more," left fielder Vince Bruno said. "We made it a close game for them.

"It showed a lot of our team that we can come in at any inning ... We've got the type of guys that can do that."

They couldn't do much through the first five innings.

After the top of the sixth, USF was outhitting Cal, 6-1, and held on to a 2-0 lead. Dons starting pitcher Jordan Remer struck out five in 5 1/3 innings of work, and solid fielding behind him kept the home team off the bases.

"We stung balls. We hit balls hard, right at guys," Bruno said. "Didn't get guys over, didn't get guys in when we should have, but I guess you could say they had a good arm out there."

It was only after Remer was replaced - and a succession of seven different pitchers began - that the Bears' bats began to show signs of life.

Cameron Love, the first reliever lasted just one at-bat before being pulled. A walk, double, and two singles scored two runs that same inning.

The Bears (10-5) had their share of just-misses on defense as well.

A number of the Dons' hits skidded under diving players. Senior Dwight Tanaka - making his first start of the season in place of injured center fielder Chad Bunting, who is out six weeks after surgery for a Grade 3 thumb sprain - made a throw to home plate that nearly caught USF's Jason Mahood in the fifth. Second baseman Tony Renda, primed to tag a runner out and throw to first for a double play in the eighth, instead bobbled the ball.

A disputed call in the fifth inning also may have altered the outcome of the game. Bruno had slid safely into second on Semien's groundball, allowing right fielder Danny Oh to score. After some protest from the San Francisco (9-8) dugout, the umpire reversed course and said Bruno had been tagged to end the inning.

"He should have stood by his call," Bruno said. "Instead, he got a little passive there and felt that he should get an extra look - and the extra look was a guy who was 30 feet away from the play itself."


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

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