June 5, 2010
NORMAN, OKLA. - The California baseball team (29-25) saw its 2010 season come to an end, losing a 9-8 heartbreaker to Oral Roberts (36-26) at the NCAA Regional in Norman, Okla. The Golden Bears came back from deficits of 6-1 and 8-6 behind home runs from Brian Guinn and Chad Bunting, and a 3-for-5 day from Tony Renda. Unfortunately for the Cal, Tyler Garewal hit the game winning homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off Cal sophomore right-hander Dixon Anderson (5-4, 0.2 innings, one hit, one run) to end the game.
The Golden Eagles had originally jumped out to a 3-0 lead after scoring a run in the first inning off Bear junior right-hander Erik Johnson's (5.0 innings, eight hits, six runs, one walk, three strikeouts) wild pitch, and tallied two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on Seth Furmanek's two-run homer to center field.
Cal was finally able to get on the scoreboard with a run in the top of fifth inning when freshman third baseman Mitch Delfino gave the Bears their first hit of the day, an RBI double to the left center field gap with two outs off Oral Roberts left-hander Mark Guest.
The Golden Eagles upped their lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning on Chris Elder's three-run homer off Johnson.
Cal did not quit, however, and began the first of its two comebacks. Junior second baseman Guinn started the sixth inning with a home run down the left field line. Junior first baseman Mark Canha followed with walk and later scored when sophomore center fielder Bunting hit a two-out, two-run homer to left field off Oral Roberts reliever Dallas Beeler.
The Bears were able to tie the game, 6-6, in the seventh inning when freshman right fielder Renda pounded an RBI double to left field, scoring sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien, and eventually scored himself on a fielding error by Golden Eagle shortstop Tyler Saladino on a hard-hit ball by Canha.
Oral Roberts answered with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Furmanek's second home run of the day, this time a two-run shot to center field off Cal sophomore Matt Flemer.
But yet again Cal rallied. Renda started the top of the ninth inning with a single down the right field line. Guinn followed with another single to right field. With one out, sophomore Chadd Krist scored Renda with an RBI single to left field, followed by freshman designated hitter Devin Rodriguez drawing a walk. Bunting produced another clutch hit with an RBI single off Golden Eagle reliever Sean Johnson to right field to score Guinn and tie the game, 8-8.
However, the Bears were not able to take advantage of an opportunity to score more runs as Johnson (3-4, 1.0 inning, two hits, one walk, three strikeouts) was able to strikeout Danny Oh and Semien to end the top of ninth inning. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Anderson was able to get the first batter to ground out to the pitcher, before yielding the game-ending shot to Garewal.
"That was a great ball game," said Cal coach David Esquer, who has led the Bears to an NCAA berth two of the last three years. "We fought back hard. I thought our team grew up a lot from being down 6-1, and then finding a way to get the score even. Our dugout was tremendous, our kids just fought hard, and that was kind of indicative of our season. I think the team learned a lot about resolve and coming back from adversity and that's what this game is about."
Cal: Guinn, solo home run in the sixth inning. Bunting, two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Oral Roberts: Furmanek, two-run homer in the fourth inning. Elder, three-run homer in the fifth inning. Furmanek, two-run homer in the eighth inning. Garewal, solo home run in the ninth inning.