Bears Salvage Series, Win Against Long Beach State





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Truthfully speaking, it was impractical for No. 21 Long Beach State to seek to finish a sweep of the Cal baseball team at Evans Diamond Sunday. After all, brooms don't exactly serve as the most functional tools on rainy days.

Following a rain delay that halted the game for nearly 40 minutes, the Bears (5-6) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 victory and avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the 49ers (4-2).

Senior second baseman Carson White came through in the bottom of the ninth by hitting a walk-off RBI-single to bring home David Nicholson with the game-winning run.

Cal dropped Friday's game 8-1, before being shutout 9-0 on Saturday.

"The guys showed a lot of character, especially after we didn't play well at all in the first two games," said sophomore outfielder David Weiner, who finished the day with two hits, two stolen bases, and two runs scored.

Prior to Sunday's comeback win, Long Beach pitchers had allowed one run, despite surrendering 17 hits on Friday and Saturday.

The Bears' inability to hit with runners in scoring position has become a recurring theme early in the season, one that coach David Esquer is well aware of.

"We've definitely struggled with that," Esquer said. "These games would have been a completely different story if we got some big hits."

On Sunday Cal finally showed up in the clutch, but not without the help of a series of crucial errors by the 49ers defense and pitching.

The Bears had been struggling to get runners on base off starter Jared Weaver (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER), until Weaver hit Brian Horwitz with a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

Shortstop Jeff Dragicevich capitalized on the scoring opportunity by smacking a 2-1 fastball over the left field fence to bring Cal to within 3-2.

After the Bears tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh on a Conor Jackson RBI single, Long Beach received another self-inflicted wound in the final inning of the game.

David Nicholson led off the bottom of the ninth by legging out an infield single, and advanced to second on a throwing error by the 49ers shortstop.

Another throwing error-the 49ers stumbled to six on the game-allowed Weiner to reach first, while Nicholson was able to advance to third. White followed with his heroics in the next at-bat.

"This win was a huge plus for the team," Esquer said. "We're still looking for something to get us started, but hopefully that'll come soon."

Matt Brown provided a much- needed boost for the team, giving up eight hits and three runs in seven gutsy innings before being replaced by winning pitcher Jesse Ingram (2-2).

"He was huge for us," Weiner said of Brown. "We always know we can count on Brownie when he's on the mound."

Sunday's victory was especially important for Cal, as the team was able to bounce back from its two convincing losses on Friday and Saturday.

Starter Brian Montalbo (0-2) was charged with six runs on seven hits and left the game after five rough innings of work.

Chris Wright provided the exclamation point with his three-run blast in the top of the eighth inning, which gave Long Beach State a 9-0 edge.

In the series' opener, the Bears took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, largely on the strength of starter Trevor Hutchinson's arm.

The senior ace had a no-hitter through five, and kept his team in the game until the eighth.

With the score tied at 1-1, Hutchinson (2-1) finally began to show signs of fatigue and was roughed up for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Bears travel to San Francisco today at 2 p.m., before hosting a three-game set this weekend versus Boston College.

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