The junior Beavers righty tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout, striking out 13 – one off a career high set last year in the NCAA Regionals – and dealing Jefferies his third loss in his last three starts, dropping his record to 5-5, and dropping the Bears to 33-18 overall, and 17-11 in conference play.
“This was two good pitchers locking up on a Friday,” head coach David Esquer said. “We just weren’t able to muster anything tonight, their guy was really good and it is a Friday night in the Pac-12 and you should have two good pitchers locking up. I said it at the beginning of the year, you need to find ways to create some offense on a Friday night against some good pitchers, and we just weren’t able to do that tonight. You’ve got to just put this one behind you and get ready to go tomorrow against another good one, who has pitched very well this year. We’ve got to rebound and come back better tomorrow.”
For the first 5.0 innings, each team had just one hit, and the two teams had a total of three base runners. In the bottom of the sixth, though, Jefferies followed up a backdoor breaking ball for a strike with a fastball that catcher Logan Ice yanked through the right side for a single.
Ice was bunted over to third, and after Christian Donahue worked a seven-pitch at-bat from Jefferies -- who was clearly paying attention to Ice at second – en route to a groundout -- Jefferies allowed a first-pitch breaker to shortstop Caleb Hamilton to get pulled through the right side for an RBI single, breaking the 0-0 knot.
Hamilton then stole second on Jefferies’ first pitch to big-hitting Jeff Hendrix, again, clearly bothering Jefferies. The first-pitch strike to Hendrix was nearly turned into another runner gunned down for catcher Brett Cumberland, but his low throw to second – which beat Hamilton -- went in and out of shortstop Preston GrandPre’s mitt. Had GrandPre held on, the inning likely would have been over.
Instead, one pitch later, Hendrix flared a fastball down and in over third base for a bloop double, driving home another run to give the Beavers (37-15-1, 18-9-1 in Pac-12) a 2-0 lead.
That 2-0 lead might as well have been 8-0, the way that Moore was dealing. The 6-foot, 185-pounder faced the minimum the rest of the way, striking out five of the nine hitters he faced.
The semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award did give up a double to center fielder Aaron Knapp to start the top of the seventh, though, seemingly giving Cal some hope. Knapp became the Bears’ first base runner since the fourth inning, when a one-out single by Devin Pearson was negated when he was thrown out trying to steal second, as Lucas Erceg swung and missed at strike three to end the frame.
Once again, the Bears squandered their opportunity, as Pearson swung and missed at a curve for strike three, and Erceg flew out to right. As Erceg sent his liner to right – which was snared on a diving, tumbling grab by Cary Elliott -- Knapp started and stopped, appearing to bluff going to third before tagging up and getting a late break to third. That hesitation allowed for Knapp to get thrown out at third, 9-6-5, to end the inning.
Jefferies struck out Cary to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but went to three-ball counts on both Michael Howard and Kyle Nobach, walking Howard and getting Nobach to ground out, before being lifted for freshman righty Jeff Bain. Bain got out of the inning with a fly out to left after walking Ice, but surrendered a two-run homer to Hamilton in the bottom of the eighth for the final tallies.