March 30, 2013
BERKELEY - Sophomore third baseman Dylan Nelson (1-1) was also instrumental in the Golden Bears' win, throwing 4.0 innings with three hits, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Cal (16-12, 5-4 in the Pac-12) started its comeback when Paul hit a three-run homer off of Trojan (11-16, 4-5) starter Kyle Twomey (2-3, 6.0 innings, seven hits, eight runs, two walks, eight strikeouts) in the fifth inning to get the Bears back into the ballgame, 4-3, after Twomey had shutdown David Esquer's squad through the four innings. Cal then had back-to-back homers from junior first baseman Devon Rodriguez and junior catcher Andrew Knapp in the sixth inning off of Twomey to take a 5-4 lead.
The Bears then exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning to put the game away, getting singles from six of the first seven batters before Paul hit his grand slam off of USC reliever Matt Munson. Cal tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning - after a single by junior shortstop Mitchell Kranson - on Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to right field and junior right fielder Jacob Wark's RBI single through the middle of the infield for a 15-4 advantage.
USC scored a run in the top of the ninth inning for the final 15-5 margin.
A big key to the Bears win was the pitching of Nelson, who shutdown the Trojans in relief of starter Keaton Siomkin (4.0 innings, seven hits, four runs, three earned runs, one walk, five strikeouts), and allowing Cal to make its comeback. Besides Paul's monster day, Wark was 3-for-3 with two RBI and Ruevekamp, Rodriguez and Knapp all finished with two hits apiece. The Bears finished with 16 hits on the day.
"It was a big win for us, it turned the weekend around for us (after losing the first two games of the series, 4-3 and 9-5) in the middle of the game," said Esquer. "Our team showed some toughness by not going down without a fight. Dylan Nelson was huge for us when we were down 4-0 and we couldn't afford to give up any more runs. That was a big deal for us.
Cal will next travel to Bay Area rival Stanford for a non-conference game on Monday, April 1 at 7 p.m. at Sunken Diamond, in a game that will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.