April 5, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF -Down 4-0, Cal scored five runs in the last four innings, highlighted by Mitch Delfino's game-tying single and Tony Renda's game-winning double, as the Golden Bears defeated USC, 5-4, Thursday night at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. After Delfino's and Renda's heroics, senior right-hander Joey Donofrio earned his first collegiate save by striking out the side in the Trojan's bottom of the ninth.
It was a dramatic comeback for Cal (17-10, 2-5 in Pac-12) as it had given up single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth inning to USC (17-10, 3-6). Down 4-3, junior left fielder Vince Bruno had started the Bears' ninth inning rally with a one-out single off of Trojan closer Wyatt Strahan (2-1, 1.0 inning, three hits, two runs). Bruno then stole second base and scored on junior third baseman Delfino's RBI single to center field. Junior second baseman Renda followed with an RBI double to give Cal the 5-4 advantage.
The Bears' freshman left-hander, Chris Muse-Fisher, earned his first collegiate win in relief, pitching the eighth inning with no hits, no runs, no walks and two strikeouts.
After the Trojans had scored four runs off of Cal's sophomore left-hander Michael Theofanopoulos in 5.0 innings (nine hits, three earned runs), the Bears' receiving corps of freshman Keaton Siomkin (2.0 innings, one hit, one walk), Muse-Fisher and Donofrio shutdown USC.
The Bears started their comeback in the sixth inning when Trojan starter Stephen Tarpley (5.2 innings, two hits, two runs, no earned runs, four walks, three strikeouts) ran into control problems. Tarpley walked both Renda and senior right fielder Chad Bunting with the bases loaded to give Cal its first two runs.
The Bears added a run in the seventh inning when senior Danny Oh had a pinch hit single to right field and was sacrificed to second base by Darrel Matthews. Bruno proceeded to drive in Oh with a RBI single through the middle of the infield to get Cal within 4-3.
Bruno finished the evening 3-for-5 with an RBI while extending his hitting streak to six games. The left-handed hitting Bruno has had three-hit games in three of his last five games.
"It was a great comeback win," said Cal coach David Esquer. "I have to hand it to our guys for hanging in there. We did not play well early, but hung around and gave ourselves a chance late. The big hits by (Mitch) Delfino and (Tony) Renda were key to the win. (Keaton) Siomkin and (Chris) Muse-Fisher held the line to give us a chance, and Joey Donofrio was great in the ninth inning."
The Bears will next play USC in the second game of the three-game conference series, Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. The Cal-USC series will be broadcasted on both KALX 90.7 FM and KNEW 960 AM April 6-7.