March 16, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - Powered by junior first baseman Devon Rodriguez's grand slam in the second inning and solid pitching from senior left-hander Justin Jones, the Cal baseball team won its second game of a three-game Pac-12 series at Utah, 9-5, Saturday (March 16) in Salt Lake City. The Golden Bears, who also defeated the Utes, 9-5, on Friday, improved to 12-7 on the year and are now 2-0 in league play. Utah dropped to 8-8 on 0-2 in conference.
Jones earned his first win of the season (1-1), throwing 5.0 innings with six hits, two runs, no walks and three strikeouts. He now has 24 career victories, tied for fourth with Travis Willis (1987-89) on the Cal all-time wins list. Jones has also thrown 322.2 career innings, sixth on the Bears' all-time list.
Sophomore right-hander Dylan Nelson earned his first career save for the Bears - throwing the final 4.0 innings with three hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts - after coming in the game with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Cal scored its first run of the game in the top of the first inning on junior catcher Andrew Knapp's RBI double off of Utah starter Joe Pond (2-2, 5.0 innings, nine hits, seven runs, three earned runs, five walks, five strikeouts). Then in the second inning the Bears took advantage of an error by Ute second baseman Kody Davis that loaded the bases, allowing Rodriguez to drive a two-out Pond pitch over the right center field wall for his second career grand slam.
Cal added a run in the fourth inning when freshman center fielder Devin Pearson led off with a double and eventually scored on a Utah wild pitch, and another run in the fifth inning on freshman left fielder Grant Diede's RBI single to shortstop. Pearson and Diede again contributed for the Bears in the seventh inning, knocking in back-to-back RBI singles through the left side of the infield.
Besides Rodriguez's grand slam, top hitters for Cal were newcomers Diede (3-for-4, two RBI) and Pearson (2-for-5, double, RBI), and junior designated hitter Michael Theofanopoulos (2-for-4, double).
"The game was much closer than the final score," said Cal coach David Esquer. "Dylan Nelson did a nice job in relief and Devon Rodriguez's grand slam gave us some early breathing room. Utah plays hard and will definitely battle us tough tomorrow."
The Bears will attempt to sweep the three-game series at Utah when they play game three Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m. MT at Spring Mobile Park in Salt Lake City.