For the second straight Friday, California freshman righty Daulton Jefferies went mining for gems, and for the second straight Friday, he found a whopper.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder out of Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony spun his second straight shutout of the season, this time against East Tennessee State, as the Bears came away with a 3-0 win to kick off the Tiger Classic in Auburn, Ala.
"I knew he was capable of doing really well, but you don't expect it to be this many shutout innings," said Cal pitching coach Mike Neu. "He's competitive and he's working through his routine, and that's just what he does. The results have been good. It doesn't surprise me. When it's all added up, you look at it and go, ‘That's good. That's solid.'"
Jefferies went a season-long 7.0 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out a career-high eight Buccaneers and retiring 13 in a row between a two-out second-inning single and a one-out seventh inning double.
"His fastball was good, he located his fastball well and threw in and up when he needed to," Neu said. "He mixed in some breaking balls and change ups, but for the most part, just did really well with his fastball command."
With a three-run top of the sixth staking him to a lead, Jefferies got a little loose coming around the final turn. After clutching up with a three-pitch strikeout following the double, Jefferies then walked shortstop Chris Riopedre on five pitches, missing on a 3-1 offering.
With two on and two out, Jefferies got ahead 1-2, but then lost the zone and walked left fielder Zach Thompson -- hitting .333 with two outs – to load the bases. Then, on a 1-0 count to freshman third baseman Chris Cook, Jefferies got a fly-out to end the inning and escape his first real jam of his career.
"He got in a situation where they had a chance to put up some runs, and he made some good pitches," Neu said. "The guys played well behind him. It was just solid all around."
Jefferies – who threw 86 pitches -- has now started his career with 13.0 shutout innings. The program record for not giving up an earned run to start a career belongs to 2011 MVP Kevin Miller, who tossed 44.0 straight without an earnie in 2008 en route to a Freshman All-American season.
"We probably could have gone back out there with him for another inning, but he battled a little bit in the seventh, and did a really good job, and we had Trevor (Hildenberger) fresh, and ready to go," Neu said.
Cal was bolstered by the first two true clutch hits of the season from Devon Rodriguez and Nick Halamandaris, who started the season 5-for-33 before they came up in the top of the sixth.
The frame started off simply enough, with Mike Reuvekamp -- on board with an infield single – being moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Derek Campbell.
No. 2 hitter Vince Bruno reached base the hard way, taking a dose from senior lefty Clinton Freeman on the first pitch he saw. Sophomore Devin Pearson didn't waste much time, flying out to center on the first pitch from Freeman, leaving it up to Rodriguez and Halamandaris.
Rodriguez took the first two pitches from Freeman to make the count 1-1, and then sent a single bounding into center to score Reuvekamp easily to break a 0-0 tie.
Next up was Halamandaris, who socked an 0-2 pitch from Freeman to deep right center, bringing around Bruno and Rodriguez for the final two tallies of the game.
After Jefferies wriggled off the hook in the seventh, senior side-armer Trevor Hildenberger tossed two scoreless innings of relief for his first save of the season, striking out four of the seven batters he faced, and allowing just one man to reach – senior Dylan Tritsch on an error in the bottom of the ninth.
"Trevor, it was good to get him in that situation and he did really well the last two innings and finished out the shutout," Neu said.
On Saturday at 4 p.m. (PT), the Bears will send senior lefty Kyle Porter to the mound to face host Auburn.
"I think he learned a lot from his first outing," Neu said of Porter. "He was a little bit amped up and maybe just tried to overdo it for a few innings. I think he hopefully can settle in to his role. He had a good week of workout and preparation, and I think he's ready to go. He's just going through his routine, and if he's able to throw his off-speed for strikes, I think that's the key for him."
Jefferies Spins Second Straight Shutout
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