March 11, 2010
HOUSTON, TEXAS - The California baseball team - behind the stellar pitching of sophomore right-hander Erik Johnson and home runs from sophomore catcher Chadd Krist, freshman third baseman Tony Renda and junior first baseman Mark Canha - upended No. 9 Rice, 8-6, Thursday night at Reckling Park in Houston. The Golden Bears improved to 8-3, while the Owls dropped to 8-6.
Johnson finished the game pitching 6.0 innings with two hits, no runs, one walk and six strikeouts. For the year he is now 3-0 and has not given up an earned run in 19.0 innings. In those 19.0 innings, Johnson has recorded 20 strikeouts with only four walks.
Cal junior right-hander Brian Diemer (2.2 innings, four hits, two runs, three walks, one strikeout) was able to earn his second save of the season when he got Chad Monzingo to line-out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
The Bears had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sophomore right fielder Danny Oh hit a one-out double down the right field line off Rice starter Taylor Wall (0-3, 5.2 innings, four hits, six runs, two walks, five strikeouts). Junior first baseman Canha followed with a single to third base and then Krist knocked his fifth home run of the season over the left field fence.
Cal added three more runs in the sixth inning. Junior second baseman Brian Guinn led-off the inning with a walk and was advanced to second on Oh's sacrifice bunt. The Owls then selected to intentionally walk Krist to face freshman third baseman Tony Renda. Renda proceeded to hit his first collegiate homer - a three-run shot to left-center field.
Rice came back with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off Cal senior right-hander Daniel Wolford (two unearned runs) to make the score, 6-4. But the Bears tallied two runs in the top of the eighth. With one out, Canha hit a homer to left field. Then with two outs, Renda hit a triple to center field and later scored on a bunt single by sophomore left fielder Chad Bunting to give Cal an 8-4 advantage.
The Owls responded in the bottom of the eighth when Anthony Rendon hit a lead-off homer off Diemer to make the contest, 8-5. It then got interesting as Rice scored another run in the bottom of the ninth on a bases loaded walk before Diemer got Monzigo to line out to Guinn at second base. Guinn immediately threw to first base, but that throw was not in time, yet Canha was able to throw pinch runner Abe Gonzalez out at second base to end the game.
The Bears continue their series against No. 9-ranked (Baseball America) Rice in the second game of the four-game series, Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. CT in Houston.
Cal: Krist, three-run homer in the first inning. Renda, three-run homer in the sixth inning. Canha, solo home run in the eighth inning.
Rice: Rendon, solo home run in the eighth inning.