Bears Handle Santa Clara

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If the Cal baseball team ever decides to hold a hitting clinic, it will wish it videotaped yesterday's game at Santa Clara.

Facing a young, inexperienced Broncos squad, the Bears (2-0) hammered five home runs and 18 hits en route to a 15-7 win over Santa Clara (0-2) at Buck Shaw Stadium.

"The bats really came alive," Cal assistant coach Dan Hubbs said. "Offensively, we came to play (and) our guys really picked it up."

Trailing, 6-3, the Bears exploded in the seventh inning with seven runs, and junior shortstop Jason Williams led the barrage with a solo shot off Broncos pitcher Dave Mallen. Mallen was relieved by senior Mike Detrick, but the change did nothing to hamper the Bears' bats.

Freshman left fielder Brent Cook knocked a double before scoring on a single by second baseman Tommy Callen. Junior Xavier Nady culminated the outburst with a two-run shot to center giving Cal its first lead.

After Nady's blast, the Bears got two more home runs from Clint Hoover and Sam Perke, giving the ballclub a school-record four round-trippers in one inning.

But the smoke didn't clear after the seventh. In the eighth, the squad notched five more runs, giving the game a football score and putting away any possibility for a Broncos comeback.

"It says a lot about our team in general," Hubbs said. "Even though we were down, we didn't give up. We put up five runs to put the other team out of the game."

Despite the seventh-inning comeback, Cal coach David Esquer was critical of his team's slow start, especially with a three-game series against No. 17 Loyola Marymount coming up this weekend.

"We missed some opportunities early in the game," Esquer said. "But we stayed with it. The (players) had good at-bats. We could've had some more runs, but we're pleased."

In the game's opening innings, starting pitcher Kevin Johnson was just one among eight players who took the mound for the Bears. Esquer used the rotation to give his fresh pitchers some game experience before the season gets into full swing.

"It was to see how they go," Esquer said. "We can't extend someone too far yet. We just wanted them to get game-experienced because you just don't know when you're going to need them."

The pitching, however, was erratic early on - Cal gave up four runs in the fourth. Fortunately for Cal, it managed to cool down Santa Clara's offense, allowing one run in the ninth.

Cal senior Brad Steele earned the win in his second appearance this year, while Detrick was tagged with the loss.

"Control was a problem in one inning," Hubbs said. "But the guys shut (Santa Clara) down when we were up. On the whole, we were pleased."

The Bears also received a strong defensive performance late in the game.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, junior pitcher Rob Meyer jammed the Broncos' Matt Queen into hitting a pop-up, and Williams was able to make an over the shoulder catch.

"We're pleased as far as effort is concerned," Esquer said. "The players are energetic and focused on winning. Although we feel good (about the win), we still have our work cut out for us."


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