Anderson puts down Huskies

Photo: Cal shortstop Marus Semien hit his team-leading fourth home run on Sunday.
Ashley Chen/File
Cal shortstop Marus Semien hit his team-leading fourth home run on Sunday.

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Last June, Dixon Anderson was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Orioles. On Sunday, as he stood on the mound for the No. 16 Cal baseball team, he must have remembered why he rejected big money for a chance at another go-round with the Bears.

It took Washington seven full innings to get two hits off Anderson, who earned his first Pac-10 win of the year as the Bears completed their sweep of the Huskies with a 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Husky Ballpark.

With the win, Cal (23-9, 9-3 in the Pac-10) maintains its hold on second place in the conference, behind only 27-7 Oregon State.

The game shook a bit of a slump for Anderson. He came into the contest with a 6.91 ERA in three conference starts, and batters were teeing off him to the tune of .357.

But woeful Washington (10-23, 2-7) could be an antidote for anyone. The Huskies came into the contest batting .183 as a team in Pac-10 games - unsurprisingly the worst in the conference - and they were no match for Anderson's lively fastball. He came out firing, striking out three of his first five batters. Washington didn't get a hit until the third inning and it took five more innings to get another one.

After sailing through 6-2 and 8-2 victories on Friday and Saturday, though, matters got considerably more dicey for the Bears in the last two frames of the final contest. Anderson retired 14 straight batters before the Huskies started to figure him out. Back-to-back singles and a walk left the bases loaded with no outs for reliever/midweek starter Kevin Miller.

The wheels looked like they were falling off the bus when Miller came in to immediately give up a hit to designated hitter Brendan Gardner-Young.

But clinging to a 3-1 lead, Cal's bullpen and defense, two areas that have really made the difference this season, came through.

As Gardner-Young sprinted to first with an eye on second, second baseman Tony Renda's quick feet enabled him to stop the ball from rolling into center field. The move saved a run and, ultimately, the game. The runner at third had to hold up, and Miller forced a double play and grounder to second to end the inning.

Shortstop Marcus Semien took a pitch to left for a solo shot in the top of the ninth, putting the Bears up 4-2. That insurance run became the winning run by the bottom of the frame.

Miller came in to seal the win, but was pulled after giving up a single to shortstop Jacob Lamb. Freshman Kyle Porter did no better, surrendering a double to third baseman Troy Scott. With runners on second and third, coach David Esquer brought in his closer, Matt Flemer.

Flemer let one run score on a grounder and hit a batter, but earned the save by striking out second baseman Reggie Jones on a game-ending check swing.


Katie Dowd covers baseball.

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