Bears Buck Broncos in Midweek Tilt

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SANTA CLARA, Calif -- Standing tall on the Schott Stadium rubber, Santa Clara lefty Max Deering became a big red target for the heart of the Cal order.

In the fourth inning alone, catcher Chadd Krist scorched a base hit over Deering's head, third baseman Mitch Delfino lined an offering past the pitcher's ankle and Marcus Semien sent a low fastball zooming through the pitcher's legs. Deering needed the third out before he ended up dead. In line with the rest of the Cal lineup, Louie Lechich sent a ball right back toward Deering. Surely, this would be the ball that finally bit him.

Kicking his left leg out, Deering kick saved Lechich's liner and tossed the ball to first to end the inning. For Santa Clara (15-26), the line drive barrage was finally over, but the Cal pitching staff would need no other help the rest of the night in Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Santa Clara.

"We've been squaring the ball up with not a lot to show for it," coach David Esquer said. "Even now guys can be frustrated because they are hitting the ball hard with not a whole lot of success but the talk of the dugout is that we're going to keep moving forward and getting our hits."

Despite scoring one-fifth of the runs that it did the last time these two squads squared off, the Cal baseball team (27-14) hit the ball sharply in the right situations and played stellar defense behind winning pitcher Kyle Porter. Porter recorded his longest outing of the year, pitching five innings and allowing one run on five hits.

After one inning of scoreless relief from Logan Scott, the Bears brought in weekend starter Justin Jones because of his recent struggles with his command. Though Jones did not allow any runs in his two innings of work, the lefty surrendered two sharp Bronco singles to open the seventh inning that didn't ease Esquer.

"I think he needs the work. I think he needs to be sharper," Esquer said. "Hopefully by getting him out there over and over and over again then we get that old Justin Jones knowing the lights out pitcher that he is.

Despite only going 1-5, second baseman Tony Renda continued his success out of the leadoff spot, driving in the first run of the game on a two-out, two-strike curveball off of losing pitcher Joe Supple. After failing to check his swing on a 3-1 breaking ball, Renda kept his weight back on Supple's roundhouse curveball and stroked it into left to drive in Lechich from second base. Renda made the defensive play of the night as well, diving across his body to spear the ball deep in the second base hole and make a deep throw for an out.

"The guy had a decent 12-6 curveball. I was just able to get one up in the zone and I got to nestle it into left field for a single," Renda said. "Plus that was the first time we had pitched with a lead in a while, so that was good for us."

Despite allowing a hard single to start the final frame, closer Matt Flemer retired the side to record his fifth save of the season.

The Bears now face their most difficult roadtrip of the season, as they travel to Corvallis, Ore., to face No. 3 Oregon State this weekend at Goss Stadium.


Contact Gabriel Baumgaertner at [email protected]

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