Bears drop two, get victory over UCLA


As has been the case much of the year, it’s not an effort to be disappointed with, but it’s not a great one either. I feel like I’ve said that every series Cal has played against a premier team; they got the one win they needed to not be a failure, but they never got the second one or a sweep. The case stays the same, as Cal takes one out of 3 against a good UCLA team.

The series started perfectly. Erik Johnson delivered one of his best performances of the season with a dominant 7 inning, 2 hit, 7 strikeout performance. Likely #1 pick Gerrit Cole was outpitched by Johnson, but not by much; Cole pitched a heck of a game, going 7 and only giving up a single run. It wasn’t enough, as the combined effort of Johnson and Kyle Porter kept UCLA runless. UCLA’s bullpen let their ace down, giving up 3 runs in the late innings. Cal took the lead on Tony Renda’s RBI single in the first inning, and they never looked back from there in their 4-0 victory.

The Saturday game was the story of Trevor Bauer. The eccentric right hander threw a complete game, 127 pitch, one run performance. The only crack in his armor was Chad Bunting’s fifth inning solo home run, which was the only run Cal pushed across. Dixon Anderson earned his way back into the Pac-10 rotation, as he did a solid job. Tony Renda’s error in the first allowed UCLA to take a quick 1-0 advantage, and then a run that falls on Anderson’s shoulder got across in the third. Otherwise, pitching dominated the show. Cal was able to get solid contact, getting 5 hits, including a pair of doubles and the home run, but was never able to sustain an attack on Bauer. That is, except for the post-game festivities where Bauer decided it was a good idea to yell at a Cal player after the game was over. The Bears took offense, and the benches cleared. A hard-fought 2-1 loss for the Bears still left them with a chance to take the series on Sunday.

Sunday’s game matched Justin Jones against Adam Plutko. Ultimately, the freshman got the better of the sophomore, as Jones lasted just 3 innings and gave up 3 runs. Meanwhile, Plutko dominated, yielding only 3 hits and 2 runs in his 8 solid innings of work. Cal’s offense just did not get the job done, with only 7 base runners all game. UCLA had 17 on base, and in the end deserved to win this game. A 5-2 result tells the true story of the game.

As has been the story of Pac-10 play, the Bears got a win over a good opponent, but nothing more. Hopefully the team can finish the season strong against the rival Cardinal and have success in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford should prove a solid gauge of how our team is performing against teams that don’t boast such a great starting rotation. Go Bears!