After starter Collin Monsour allowed a run in the bottom of the first on three straight one-out singles, the Bears pulled ahead with solo home runs from Mitchell Kranson and Chris Paul in the second and sixth.
After a trio of Bears pitchers allowed seven hits over the first six innings, reliever Erik Martinez allowed a softly-hit groundball single up the middle to left fielder Austin Guibor with one out in the seventh. Pinch hitter Torin Goldstein -- a powerful, 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman – got behind 0-2, before sending a tapper to the mound. Martinez bobbled the would-be double play ball and nearly threw it away to first, but Lucas Erceg -- flipping places with Paul and playing first – was able to save the throw and tag out Goldstein. Guibor, though, moved into scoring position as the tying run.
After a brief pitching conference, Martinez pitched around and walked catcher Taylor Ward -- who came into the game with a .337 batting average and a team-high six home runs, keeping the inning-ending force in order.
Martinez then delivered an 0-1 pitch to Manny Argomaniz in the dirt and all the way to the screen past catcher Brett Cumberland, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Two pitches later, Martinez allowed a line-drive double one foot inside the foul line into the left field corner, scoring two and putting Fresno State ahead for good.
Next up was Aaron Arruda -- who, before the seventh, had the only hit against Martinez. With the count 3-1, Arruda sent a ground ball which, again, could have ended the inning, to short. Freshman shortstop Preston GrandPre didn’t set his feet on the two-hopper, and threw low to Erceg. The ball rolled into the Cal dugout, and another run came around to score.
That spelled the end for Martinez, who gave way to converted catcher Jesse Kay. Kay pitched around Mountain West Hitter of the Week Kevin Viers to put two men on, and then, after getting ahead 1-2 on designated hitter Jake Stone, hung a curve which Stone obligingly slugged to right field for his first home run at Fresno State, a three-run job that completed a six-run, two-out rally.
The Bulldogs (15-11) out-hit the Bears (18-6) 13-5 on the game, and won for the second straight time in Fresno against Cal. Four different Fresno State hitters tallied multi-hit days, while only Kranson – with a home run and a double – turned the trick for the Bears. Kranson’s circuit shot was his first of the season. Paul’s solo job was his sixth of the season, tying Erceg for the team lead.
Cal now heads to Salt Lake City for a three-game Pac-12 series against Utah, which has yet to host a conference series this season. The Utes are 8-15 overall, and 2-3 in the Pac-12, and will send righty Bret Helton to the hill on Friday at 6 p.m., MT, against freshman Jeff Bain.
The series will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, called by familiar voice Roxy Bernstein, and Randy Flores.
Saturday will see junior righty Dalton Carroll against the Bears’ junior Ryan Mason at 5 p.m., MT, and on Sunday, Cal will send freshman lefty Matt Ladrech against freshman righty Jayson Rose.