March 15, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - Led by back-to-back two-out doubles from junior standouts Devon Rodriguez and Andrew Knapp in the seventh inning, the Cal baseball team came back from a 5-4 deficit to produce a 9-5 victory over host Utah in the Pac-12 opener Friday (March 15) night in Salt Lake City.
The Golden Bears have now won six games in a row to improve their record to 11-7. The Utes dropped to 8-7 on the year. Junior reliever Trevor Hildenberger picked up his fourth win of the season, while sophomore right-hander Keaton Siomkin earned his first save of the year by pitching the final three innings.
Cal had owned a 4-0 lead until freshman right-hander Ryan Mason (5.1 innings, six hits, three runs, no walks, three strikeouts) and Hildenberger (4-1, 0.2 innings, three hits, two runs, one walk) yielded five runs to Utah in the bottom of the sixth inning.
But in the top of the seventh inning the Bears responded. With two outs, junior shortstop Mike Reuvekamp was hit by a pitch. Then Rodriguez and Knapp followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to give Cal back the lead, 6-5.
From there, Siomkin was stellar, shutting the Utes down by throwing 3.0 perfect innings with no hits, no runs, no walks and five strikeouts. Offensively, the Bears added three more runs in the top of the eighth inning on a pinch-hit RBI triple from freshman Max Dutto and a two-run single up the middle by Rodriguez.
Rodriguez finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBI, including a homer to right center field in the first inning. Cal scored two more runs in the fourth inning on an RBI single by junior right fielder Jacob Wark and a sacrifice fly by junior designated hitter Michael Theofanopoulos. Theofanopoulos added an RBI single in the sixth inning to give the Bears their 4-0 lead.
Knapp also finished with three hits on the day, going 3-for-5 with an RBI double. Wark and sophomore third baseman Chris Paul added two hits apiece for Cal.
"It was a good win for us tonight," said Cal coach David Esquer. "The offense did a good job of continuing to score and our team did not overreact to giving up the lead. Ryan Mason was solid, but ran out of gas in the sixth inning. Keaton Siomkin was outstanding in relief and Devon Rodriguez had a couple of huge RBI hits."
Cal will next play the second game of the three-game series at Utah, Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m. MT at Spring Mobile Park in Salt Lake City.