LOS ANGELES – Senior first baseman Devon Rodriguez hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a two-run homer in the seventh inning and finished with a career-high six RBI as Cal baseball defeated USC, 11-4, Saturday at Dedeaux Field. With the win, the Golden Bears (20-25, 8-15) tied their Pac-12 series with the Trojans (26-21, 14-12), 1-1, with the rubber match to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. Cal had dropped a 2-1 decision to USC Friday night.
The winning pitcher for the Bears was senior left-hander Kyle Porter (5-5), who went 5.0 innings with six hits, three earned runs, three walks and a strikeout. Senior closer Trevor Hildenberger earned his ninth save of the season by pitching the final 3.0 innings with two hits, no runs, one walk and six strikeouts. Hildenberger’s nine saves ties four other players for the second-most single season saves in school history. Jesse Ingram holds the school record with 10 single season saves, set in 2004.
Junior Dylan Nelson pitched the sixth inning for Cal (no hits, no runs, one walk, one strikeout) before Hildenberger came in to close the game. The Bears' 11 runs were the most scored by the team this season.
USC had gotten within 5-4 with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning before Cal put the game away with three runs in the top of the seventh inning and three runs in the top of the ninth.
Besides Rodriguez's hitting exploits, junior shortstop Derek Campbell was 2-for-4 and freshman third baseman Lucas Erceg and sophomore right fielder Devin Pearson doubled.
"It was a hard-fought win for us after a heartbreaking loss last night," said Cal coach David Esquer. "Kyle Porter was victimized by some defensive lapses, but pitched solidly. Devon Rodriguez was a key for us with his two home runs and Trevor Hildenberger was outstanding for three innings."