I didn’t get a chance to proofread, so stay with me on any issues.
I don’t know what to say about this Cal team. They say battling through adversity determines character; then these Golden Bears have it everywhere. Falling behind 7-1 might be the definition of adversity, but just like every other obstacle this season, Cal overcame it.
Cal opened the scoring in the first, with a Marcus Semien double driving in Tony Renda from first to give the Bears an early 1-0 edge. Let’s just say that 1-0 lead would be the last one the Bears would have for a looong time.
Erik Johnson cruised through the first 3 innings, allowing 3 baserunners but not letting them get anywhere. The fourth is where it all began to fall apart for the Bears. First, Brooks Pinckard walked and stole second. Then, Max Muncy and Josh Ludy walked, uncharacteristic of the ace right hander. Joey Hainsfurther hit what looked to be a for sure grand slam, as Chad Bunting had to bring it back into the field. He didn’t catch it, so two runs still came in and runners remained on second and third. Josh Miller continued the hit parade, singling and driving in two to make it 4-1. Mercifully, Erik Johnson departed, replaced by Logan Scott.
Click on Continue Reading This Post to see the rest of the recap and video of the KALX announcer’s call of the Walkoff hit.
It didn’t get much better for the Bear pitching. Miller would come around to score on Scott, and another run would be tacked on. The Bears now trailed 6-1 going into the bottom of the fourth, and the season looked to be lost.
Louie Lechich, an occasional starting center fielder, kept the game tight with finishing the painful fourth and a shut out fifth. He could not hold it together in the sixth, though, as a pair got on and then a sac bunt moved them to second and third. An intentional walk loaded the bases with 1 out. An error led to a run scoring on a potential double play ball and no outs recorded, but the bases remained loaded. Lechich got the double play to Renda, and they throw out the speedy Pinckard to finish the inning with the damage limited to 7-1.
Cal got that run back and little bit more in the bottom half, with Semien driving in a run on a single and Chad Delfino recording a sacrifice fly to bring in the second run of the inning. 7-3 was not as insurmountable as before, but still a huge slope to climb for the Bears.
A scoreless seventh and top of the eighth opened the door for even more ground to be made up in the bottom half. The Bears did just that. Devon Rodriguez, who’s had his share of problems in the late innings this year, hammered a home run to drive in him and Semien to make it a 7-5 ballgame. That prompted the entrance of Logan Verrett, who got the win on Friday. He got the final out in the eighth to keep it 7-5.
The ninth started with a botched play by Semien, which would later cost the Bears. Logan Vick singled to bring in the unearned run, and the score was now 8-5. The Bears would need 3 to tie the game now and 4 to win.
Chad Bunting continued his hot play with a single to open the inning. Then Darrel Mathews hit a for sure double play ball, and hope was lost. The second base men Billy Buckner’d it, and new life was given. Then a ground ball advanced runners, but Bunting got caught in a run down. Improbably, he escaped to score a run, and all of a sudden it’s 8-6 with a runner on first. A bean ball to Booker moved up the runner. A Renda single scored a run, and a Krist walk loaded the bases for Marcus Semien, already 4-4, with 1 out. He struck out. It was up to Devon Rodriguez.
1-2 count, bases loaded, down 1, ninth inning, berth to the super regionals on the line. No pressure right? But Rodriguez came through. A single scored two, and the Golden Bears moved on with an amazing 9-8 victory.
Heroes will be remembered, goats will be on the other side. This is a game that will be remembered for a long time, and I sure won’t forget it anytime. For now: thanks to everyone on the team for a thrilling season and game.
With all the hubbub surrounding this game, it’s important to remember there is still another series to be played next week. Dallas Baptist awaits. What an incredible game. Go Bears!
To finish off this post, here is the walkoff call from the KALX announcer:
(courtesy of tjeme230 on youtube)