No. 13 Bears finding groove as Pacific visits Evans

Photo: Third baseman Mitch Delfino is second among starters with a .353 batting average.
Kevin Foote/Staff
Third baseman Mitch Delfino is second among starters with a .353 batting average.

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Before the season, Cal baseball coach David Esquer said that pitching and defense would be his team's calling cards this year.

Turns out the No. 13 Bears have a fuller deck.

The team has been more than solid in both those facets 25 games in - it ranks second in the Pac-10 in opposing batting average and in the top four in both fielding percentage and double plays.

But when Pacific visits Evans Diamond at 2:30 p.m. today, they'll have to deal with more than midweek starter Kevin Miller's 0.46 ERA.

Against USC on Sunday, pitcher Dixon Anderson wasn't his usual self as he allowed four runs in the game's first 4 1/3 innings.

So the Bears looked elsewhere.

They were aggressive when batting, with catcher Chadd Krist hacking out foul balls until he connected on his first home run of the season.

They showed some fire when needed, as third baseman Mitch Delfino exchanged a few choice words with the Trojans' Brandon Garcia; the designated hitter had just been tagged out at second as he slid in, but had left Tony Renda crumpled in the dirt.

Not quite the usual college small ball, but now Cal (19-6, 5-1 in the Pac-10) knows it has a couple more weapons.

"This team is so close-knit," said center fielder Darrel Matthews, who had three RBI against the Trojans. "We know we have to pick each other up. When the hitters aren't hitting, (pitchers) have to pick us up and vice versa."

The Bears have also shown more versatility at the plate. The middle of the batting order struggled against the Trojans Sunday, with shortstop Marcus Semien and second baseman Tony Renda - first and second on the team in RBI - combining to go 2-for-9.

Instead, other bats woke up. Matthews and left fielder Austin Booker paced the bottom of the order with 2-for-4 and 2-for-3 performances, respectively. Not a single Cal batter struck out.

"It's a sign of a great team that our big hitters don't have to always tear it up in order for us to put up a lot of runs," catcher Chadd Krist said. "Our six through nine hitters, everybody, every other game is stepping up."

Pacific (8-16) hasn't performed nearly as well lately. Last Friday, the Tigers were blown out 20-0 by Long Beach State before closing the three-game series with two close contests.

The Bears, meanwhile, are tied for the Pac-10 lead with Arizona State and UCLA. Will they still be there in June?

"It's too early to look at things like that," Esquer said. "We're just taking every single win we can get. Every single win gets us closer to where we want to be."


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

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Bears drop weekend series in Corvallis
Sundays haven't been kind to Cal's starting pitchers lately. A week ago, O...Read More»
Image Cal tops Ducks in fifth walk-off win
Two days ago, the Cal baseball team couldn't scratch its way back from a 4-...Read More»
Image Cal hungry as Ducks arrive in Berkeley
The last two weeks haven't just been rough for the Cal baseball team. They'...Read More»
Image Bears down Ducks in fourth walk-off victory of the...
Freshman Michael Theofanopoulos swung at the first pitch h...Read More»
Image ASU shuts out Cal to sweep series
Cal baseball coach David Esquer stormed out of the dugout, livid after pitc...Read More»
Image Extra, extra: Bears fall in 17 to ASU
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Cal baseball team turned their hats ...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space