Cal (6-3) got some relief help from senior closer Dylan Nelson, who earned his first save by throwing the final two frames, allowing two hits, one unearned run, one walk and one strikeout.
Senior first baseman Chris Paul continues his white-hot start, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, upping his average to .417 (15-for-36).
Junior shortstop Max Dutto had a productive day at the dish, as well, starting as the designated hitter, going 2-for-2 and reaching base all four times he came to the plate, crucially singling to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the second, setting up an RBI fielder's choice by true freshman shortstop Preston GrandPre to tie the game at 1-1.
The Wildcats (4-5) scored a run in the first inning on an RBI double by Shane Conlon, extending his hitting streak to seven games, but Cal came battling back with a run in the second inning on the fielder’s choice RBI by Grand Pre, then took the lead in the fourth inning when Paul led off with a double and later scored on senior Brian Celsi’s RBI bunt single. Cal upped its lead with two runs in the seventh inning, thanks to a one-out bunt by Aaron Knapp that chased starter Nate Griep (who dropped to 1-1), a single to center by junior right fielder Devin Pearson and an RBI single by sophomore third baseman Lucas Erceg. A wild pitch with Brett Cumberland at the dish brought Pearson home to score to give the Bears a 4-1 lead.
A bases load walk by Nelson in the ninth inning gave Kansas State its second run, but Nelson was able to get Conlon to fly out to left field to end the game.
“It was another strong outing by Daulton Jefferies against an aggressive hitting team,” said head coach David Esquer. “Daulton gave us a chance like he always does. We also got some clutch hitting from Celsi and Erceg that gave us some important RBI.”
The Bears will next play Kansas State in the second game of the three-game series Sunday, March 1 at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond. Game three of the series will by Monday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at Evans Diamond.