Gaels Hand Cal Its Third Loss





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MORAGA - They were swinging the bats and hitting the ball all over the field, scoring at will and taking advantage of whatever the opposing pitchers threw at them.

Their own hurlers were clearly flustering their opponents, forcing their batters into grounders and pop flies while taking away the slightest chance of any comeback.

Unfortunately for the Cal baseball team, the Bears were not the ballclub that was clicking at the plate and in the field. Instead, it was St. Mary's that prevailed over Cal yesterday afternoon, hitting two homers in its 8-3 win over the Bears.

And the worst part for the Bears (3-3) is that they failed to make the most of the opportunities they had to change the momentum of the game.

"We weren't as successful as we wanted to be," Cal catcher Mike Tonis said. "We weren't getting those big hits that win ball games."

Tonis was referring to the much-needed clutch hitting that never materialized for Cal, which left 14 runners stranded. The lack of production on offense was compounded by the poor effort given by the Bears' pitching staff.

"We're getting behind batters," Tonis said. "We happen to give them fastballs down the middle and they were hitting it. That's the way it goes when you don't get ahead. We've just got to get ahead of people."

On the other side of the spectrum, the Gaels (5-5) received strong production from freshmen standouts Mark Teahen and Matt Yourkin. Teahen went 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored to pace the St. Mary's hitting attack while Yourkin registered a home run of his own.

The Gaels opened the game with a 3-0 lead after two innings against Cal starting pitcher Kevin Johnson. Sophomore Brett Wayne belted a double past third base in the bottom of the second to drive in sophomore B. J. Vesce. Yourkin expanded the Gaels' lead when he knocked a two-run homer over the center field fence.

The hard-throwing Johnson appeared to be unsettled at times after allowing St. Mary's to go on top early on.

"I should've overpowered them in the beginning instead of letting them hit it," said Johnson, who was tagged with the loss. "But I should've mixed (the pitches) a little bit more. We didn't do that well on the mound and on the plate."

The real story of the game,

however, was the Gaels' strong outing on the mound.

Despite giving up 10 hits, St. Mary's found a way to halt the Bears' consistency at the plate, something that has been routine for Cal in the early going this season.

Starting pitcher Eric Wilcox and reliever Eric Bowden each lasted three innings with one earned run to stifle their opponents.

Bowden, who earned the win, was able to close out the fourth inning by striking out Tonis with the bases loaded.

The Bears had three men on base earlier in the same inning, but they could only muster a single run off of a sacrifice fly by senior Sam Petke.

The only highlight of Cal's offense was Tonis, who managed to go 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Freshman Brent Cooke and junior Jason Williams added two hits apiece.

Meanwhile, Bears junior Xavier Nady was frustrated with the lack of hittable fastballs coming his way.

Nady was batting with runners on first and second on two occasions, but the third baseman forced a double-play and popped out to end the sixth and eighth innings, respectively.

"I was frustrated by not seeing a whole lot of strikes," said Nady, who went 0-for-3 with two walks. "I had a good series against (Loyola Marymount) and I felt good coming into (the game), but I guess it wasn't my day."

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