The Golden Bears visited #15 Oregon to begin the last series of their season tonight. It was highly competitive in typical PAC-12 fashion, leaving the team that would make the least amount of mistakes to take home the win. And that team was Oregon. Left-handed pitcher Tommy Thorpe recorded the win for the Ducks, joining the 10-win club after pitching a complete game.
Cal starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies entered the 5th with a no hitter, facing 17 batters without giving up a hit. But he walked Mitchell Tolman in the 5th, who made it to third after a botched rundown from a fielder’s choice. And with runners in scoring position, Oregon ran a straight suicide that let Tolman evade a close tag and slide home safely for the first run. Visibly shaken, the freshman gave up three more runs that inning on four hits.
A shame, too, considering he had pitched a great game up to that point.
“Jefferies pitches beyond his years,” Head coach David Esquer said during the game. “He gives us a chance every Friday night. We just need to give him more support.”
Devon Rodriguez followed up his four-for-five performance against San Francisco with another multiple-hit game, but the rest of the team struggled mightily at the plate. The Golden Bears entered tonight’s game batting just .239 as a team with only a .315 on base percentage.
In the bottom of the seventh the Ducks padded their lead with a fifth run from A.J. Balta. He scored in entertaining fashion by stealing two bases, flipping off his helmet and somersaulting on the way home. The freshman from Valencia did not, however, earn extra points for the originality.
Cal’s lone run came in the top of the ninth, after Ducks head coach Greg Horton decided to leave his pitcher on the mound in spite of exceeding 100 pitches. Cal’s offense was of course too little, too late.
The Golden Bears (24-27, 11-17 Pac-12) and Ducks (42-16, 18-10 Pac-12) play Game 2 of the conference series at 7p.m. tomorrow night.