April 1, 1999
BERKELEY, CA - Junior center fielder Curtis Johnson hit a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to help lead the University of California baseball team to a 14-12 win over UCLA Thursday in Berkeley. Johnson's grand slam gave Cal a 14-10 lead, but the Bruins Aldo Pinto hit a two-run homer off of Bear reliever David Cash in the top of the ninth to get UCLA within 14-12. Finally, Cal submariner Jon Cuccias was able to get the Bruins power hitter, Bill Scott, to fly to right field with runners on first and second to end the game. Cal improves to 14-21, 3-4 in the Pac-10, while UCLA falls to 15-21, 1-6 in league. The Bruins have lost seven games in a row.
The game saw both teams let big leads slip away. UCLA scored two runs in the first inning off of Cal starter Jon Shirley when Eric Reece hit a two-run homer to left field. The Bears countered by scoring a run in the second inning on an RBI double by Rob Meyer. The Bruins then jumped to a 4-1 lead on a solo home run by Scott in the third inning and an RBI by Brian Baron in the fourth inning.
But, Cal made its comeback by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run double by Preston Sharp to get within 4-3. The Bears added two more runs in the fifth inning on a two-run homer by sophomore first baseman Clint Hoover. Cal exploded for five more runs in the sixth inning off of UCLA reliever Paul Diaz. The Bears started the inning off with five straight hits, including an RBI double by Mike Tonis, an RBI single by David Sark and a three-run homer by Hoover.
Yet, as soon as Cal got its 10-4 lead, the Bruins rebounded with six runs in the seventh inning off of Bear starter Jon Shirley and reliever Jason Ball. Shirley allowed runs by a wild pitch and hitting Jason Green with the bases loaded. Ball proceeded to give up two-run double to Garrett Atkins and a two-run single by Baron to tie the game, 10-10, setting up Johnson's and Pinto's heroics in the eighth and ninth innings.
The winning pitcher for Cal was Cash (3-0, 1.7 innings, four hits, two runs, three walks, two strikeouts), while Cuccias earned his first save of the year. The losing pitcher for UCLA was reliever Tyler Dersom, who came in in the sixth inning (1-1, 2.7 innings, three hits, four runs, one walk, four strikeouts) and later gave up the grand slam to Johnson.
The Bears leading hitters included Hoover, who was 4-for-5, with two home runs and five RBI, Johnson (2-for-5, grand slam) and Sharp (3-for-6). Atkins was 3-for-5 with two RBI, and Jack Santora and Scott had two hits apiece for the Bruins. Scott had hit a Pac-10 record four home runs (two grand slams) with 11 RBI Tuesday at Washington.
Cal will next play the second game of the three-game conference series versus UCLA, Friday, April 2 at 2 p.m. at Evans Diamond on the Cal campus.
Home Runs: UCLA: Reece, two-run homer in the first. Scott, solo home run in the third. Pinto, two-run homer in the ninth. Cal: Hoover, two-run homer in the fifth. Hoover, three-run homer in the sixth. Johnson, grand slam home run in the eighth.