California Baseball Falls to San Francisco in Season Opener
January 26, 1999
BERKELEY, CA - The University of California baseball team fell to San Francisco, 10-9, in its 1999 season opener Tuesday at Evans Diamond. The Bears go to 0-1 on the year, while the Dons improve to 2-2. Cal was playing without head coach Bob Milano, who had triple bypass heart surgery Tuesday morning.
With Cal leading 6-5, San Francisco scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning for the come-from-behind win over the Bears. Sophomore right fielder Rob Meyer (0-1) came in to pitch for Cal in the eighth, but was unable to get an out, giving up a lead-off walk, a hit and then hitting a batter to load the bases. Bear reliever Jon Cuccias replaced Meyer, and after a fielder's choice by USF's Tony Hurtado tied the game, 6-6, Cuccias had a crucial throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Pat Walsh that allowed two more runs to score. Gregg Omori got the Don's fourth run of the inning on a sacrifice fly, scoring Walsh.
San Francisco added an insurance run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Jason Howard. The Dons ended up needing the cushion as Cal got with-in one run on a three-run homer in the ninth by sophomore catcher Mike Tonis. USF reliever Chad Soares was able to get Meyer to ground out to end the game.
The winning pitcher for San Francisco was reliever Trip Humphrey (1-1), who replaced starter Chris Gossert (5.0 innings, eight hits, five runs, one walk, four strikeouts) in the sixth inning and went 3.0 innings with four hits, one unearned run, one walk and two strikeouts. Cal starter Ryan Atkinson threw well, going 4.0 innings with seven hits, two runs, no walks and four strikeouts.
The game was well-played until the sloppy eighth inning. San Francisco received an impressive hitting performance from sophomore first baseman Taggert Bozied, who went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI. Bozied had a solo home run in the fourth and seventh inning. Senior right fielder Jeff Pritchard was also impressive, going 4-for-5. Cal was led at the plate by Tonis, who was 2-4 with the three-run homer; sophomore third baseman Xavier Nady, who was 3-4 and had a solo home run in the third inning and junior left fielder Curtis Johnson, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Bear center fielder Juan Hernandez had a lead-off home run in his first at bat of the 1999 season in the bottom of the first inning.
Cal will next travel to Hawaii for a three-game series, beginning Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:35 p.m. HST at Rainbow Stadium in Honolulu, HI.
Home Runs: San Francisco: Walsh, solo home run in the first. Bozied, solo home run in the fourth. Bozied, solo home run in the seventh. Cal: Hernandez, solo home run in the first. Nady, solo home run in the third. Tonis, three-run homer in the ninth.