March 12, 2012
LINCOLN, NEB. -Junior second baseman Tony Renda gave No. 25 California a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning, but the Golden Bears yielded eight runs in the bottom of the fifth in a 9-5 loss at Nebraska Monday (March 12) in the final game of a four-game series at Hawks Field in Lincoln. Cal ended the series, 2-2, winning Friday's contest, 11-8 in 11 innings; losing Saturday, 12-5; and shutting out the Cornhuskers, 4-0, Sunday.
The Bears are now 11-4 overall and Nebraska improves to 10-6. Renda finished Monday's game 3-for-5 with two RBI, while senior right fielder Danny Oh was 2-for-3 with a two-run single in the sixth inning.
Other top hitters for Cal Monday was junior left fielder Darrel Matthews, who went 2-for-3, and junior Vince Bruno, who had a pinch hit RBI single that scored sophomore first baseman Andrew Knapp. Knapp had led off the sixth inning with a double - his team-leading eighth double of the season.
After Renda had given the Bears their 2-0 lead, Cal's sophomore left-hander Michael Theofanopoulos faltered in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up a bases loaded walk, a three-run triple and an RBI single. Theofanopoulos had thrown well the first four innings, but saw he record drop to 0-2 (4.1 innings, four hits, five earned runs, three walks, three strikeouts). Sophomore right-hander Trevor Hildenberger relieved Theofanopoulos and ended up giving up a three-run homer following a Bear fielding error.
Nebraska added an insurance run in the seventh inning off of sophomore right-hander Michael Lowden for the final 9-5 score.
Despite splitting the series with the Cornhuskers, Cal had several highlights. Junior third baseman Mitch Delfino was 8-for-14 (.571) in the series with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI. Matthews was 8-for-20 (.400) with three RBI, and senior catcher Chadd Krist and Oh had seven hits apiece in the series.
The Bear pitchers were outstanding in the 4-0 shutout on Sunday as six different hurlers limited Nebraska to three hits. After sophomore left-hander Kyle Porter's four no-hit innings, Hildenberger, sophomore left-hander Matt Evanoff, freshman right-hander Keaton Siomkin, freshman left-hander Chris Muse-Fisher and senior right-hander Joey Donofrio all kept the Cornhuskers off the scoreboard. Porter is now 2-0 in 2012 after going 6-0 during the 2011 campaign, including defeating Texas A&M (7-3) in the College World Series.
"It was a good series in a regional atmosphere," said Cal coach David Esquer. "Nebraska is a regional caliber team and we played them tough. We gave them too much today, but it was a positive series on the whole for us."
Cal will next open Pac-12 play hosting Oregon State (11-5), March 16-18, at Evans Diamond. Game times are 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 16; 1 p.m. Saturday, March 17 and 12 p.m. Sunday, March 18.