Nady Blasts Way to Bears' Win

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As Xavier Nady stepped on home plate to complete the coveted trek around the bases yesterday afternoon, he was congratulated by his teammates for hitting his 50th career home run at Cal in the bottom of the fifth inning, tying Troy Penix' eight-year-old mark.

Oddly enough, Nady was oblivious to his recent accomplishment at the time.

"It was nice to get it over with," Nady said. "(But) it wasn't on my mind. To tell you the truth, I forgot about it until I crossed home plate and some guy said congratulations. You put two and two together and I remembered."

With the victory, Cal (18-19, 6-6 in the Pac-10) is now one win away from the .500 mark. And for the team to open a non-alcoholic beverage to celebrate its first postseason invitation in five years, it must ascend over that hump.

"Every game is important for us," Bears coach David Esquer said. "To get where we want to be, obviously we have to finish well. We have to be over .500 to have a chance."

Buoyed by its playoff prospects, Cal relied on the long ball to put the game away against the Broncos.

After Santa Clara (13-27) opened up the first inning with a 1-0 lead on Joe Diefenderfer's sacrifice fly to drive in designated hitter Todd Hughes, Bears catcher Mike Tonis answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run that landed in front of the scoreboard in right field to knot the score at one apiece. Tonis' homer was his ninth of the year.

Both squads didn't score until shortstop Jason Williams belted a two-run dinger to left field to put the Bears up, 3-1, in the fourth.

"I've been feeling the ball well at the plate," said Williams, who followed up his 4-for-4, two RBI effort against Texas Sunday with a 1-for-3 outing yesterday. "I've been seeing the ball well this season. It's just a matter of putting a good swing on it."

Nady followed Williams with his heralded homer - his 11th of the season - in the next inning to secure the win.

The Broncos made a few attempts to threaten in the game, but Cal's strong outing on the mound hindered any Santa Clara comeback.

The Bears utilized five pitchers for the midday game in order to prep the bullpen for their upcoming series against USC (23-13, 6-3) this weekend. Sproul (2-2) recorded the win.

For many of the Cal players, the pressure for qualifying for the NCAA Regionals has heated up, especially with the possibility of many upperclassmen leaving for graduation or the professional ranks.

"We have a lot of seniors and juniors that might not be back next year," Williams said. "This might be a whole new team next year. This is our last run of us together and we know it's now or never. We have all this talent and it's about time we start winning."

The Bears' record-tying slugger concurs.

"There's gonna be a lot of guys that are going to be gone this year," Nady said. "Every game is a must win here on out if we're going to make Regionals. It's crucial now, these next 15 games."


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