Baylor wasn't counting on having to face California again in the University of San Diego Tournament, but rains and travel schedules conspired to bring the two old foes back together for a second bout, and once again, the Golden Bears came out on top, edging the Baylor Bears, 5-3, to win their fifth straight.
Sophomore first baseman Nick Halamandaris and junior Chris Paul got things going in the top of the second, with Halamandaris singling the other way to left and Paul tallying his first hit of 2013 with a double to left, putting two men in scoring position for Brenden Farney. The junior infielder rolled out to second, but plated Halamandaris, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Mitchell Kranson staked freshman starting pitcher Alex Schick to a 2-0 lead.
Devon Rodriguez cooled off, going 0-for-3. Paul scored both times he reached base.
Schick, struggled for his second straight outing, lasting just 2.1 innings, before loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the third. He allowed one hit and five walks, with one wild pitch and one strikeout. It took a Herculean relief effort from fellow freshman Alex Martinez (3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 K, 0 BB), sophomore Ryan Mason (2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 K) and closer Trevor Hildenberger (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) to hold the line, as the offense ground out three more tough runs, capped by an RBI double by Farney with one out in the top of the eighth to break the 3-3 tie, and a Kranson RBI single to center.
Farney got his first start of the season at second base, and finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs, including what proved to be the game-winner in the eighth against Drew Tolson -- the first of four pitchers who came on for Baylor in the frame to try and stop the bleeding and keep the game close.
"Man, I messed up on D, and coach (David Esquer) laid into me, and lit a fire under me," Farney said. "I had to make up for my mistake, and it helped a lot that my whole team was telling me, 'Short memory, do what you do.'"
"It's just about being resilient," Esquer said. "Our guys know that our emotion is nothing more than begin competitive, and trying to push them to be better than even they think they are, so our team's tough enough to handle and emotional response, and he did. He stepped up and he won the game with a hit."
Mason earned his second win of the season, and Hildenberger his third save, as Cal moved to 7-2 on the year. Schick gave up a single and a one-out walk in the bottom of the first, and another walk in the second before a well-timed 6-4-3 double play bailed him out. He then walked three of the first four hitters in the third, before being pulled for Martinez. The freshman right uncorked a wild pitch to Lawton Langford, allowing Baylor to get on the board, before tallying a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat and leave two men in scoring position.
The Bears scored their third run the hard way in the top of the sixth, when they put two on with one out against starter Daniel Castano. Tolson then entered and promptly got Paul to send a grounder to second, but after second baseman Tunnell West touched the bag, he uncorked a throw to first, allowing Derek Campbell to come around to score.
Baylor responded in the bottom of the frame, thanks to back-to-back one-out doubles by Grayson Porter and first baseman Mitch Price. After getting designated hitter Aaron Dodson to ground out to third, Martinez was lifted for Mason, who got the final out of the inning, but allowed a two-out RBI single by Langford in the next frame to tie things up.
Hildenberger took over after Mason gave up two one-out singles and then a grounder to Adam Toth, which moved two men into scoring position for pinch hitter Duncan Wendel, who promptly grounded out weakly to first. Hildenberger then tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Bears Win Fifth Straight
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