Bears come out flat in shutout to ASU

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Cal second baseman Tony Renda checked the runner at third before chasing after Arizona State third baseman Riccio Torrez in a rundown. Renda and shortstop Marcus Semien engaged in a short game of pickle before tagging Torrez out. The whole right side of the infield walked toward the dugout.

But that wasn't the third out, and the inning wasn't over. Because of their mental lapse, the runner at third had scored, putting the No. 9 Sun Devils up 5-0.

And that was the day in a nutshell for the Bears.

Coming off a 17-inning loss to ASU the day before, the No. 15 Cal baseball team practically slept its way through a 5-0 loss on Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond. It was the first time the Bears had been shut out all season.

"I don't think we've been beaten soundly very often this year," coach David Esquer said. "They outplayed us today."

Both starters, Justin Jones for Cal and Kramer Champlin for the Sun Devils, pitched complete games, but only Champlin went home happy. Jones didn't strike out a single batter, due in large part to an inability to locate his go-to strikeout pitch, the curveball.

Champlin, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of a lot of quick at-bats by the Bears. Cal (24-11, 9-5 in the Pac-10) led off the inning three times with first-pitch outs, and only got one runner into scoring position.

"We had a feel for what he was going to throw every pitch," Semien said. "He was tipping his pitches a little bit, and we were just too jumpy. We knew what was coming, but we were too jumpy out there."

Champlin's stuff wasn't overwhelming by any means. His fastball was average, although he did locate his off-speed pitches well enough to be effective. Cal struck out five times and got five hits. The Bears came into the series batting .303 as a team.

"I know a lot of us are a little tired, a little sore from yesterday's game, but we can't use that as an excuse," Semien said. "We've been coming out slow a lot lately, and that really hurt us today."

The Bears play the final game of their series against ASU (27-9, 10-4) tomorrow at 1 p.m. There will be no Sunday game this week due to Easter.


Katie Dowd covers baseball. Contact her at [email protected]

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