Griffin Conine is no stranger to walk-offs. His father, Jeff, was on the 1997 Florida Marlins team that took home the World Series on a walk-off Texas Leaguer by Edgar Renteria. Of course, Griffin was just barely three months old, at the time, but on Sunday, he sent Duke home a winner, with a hard one-out grounder up the first base line in the bottom of the ninth to bring home Zack Kone and the 5-4 win over California.
Golden Bears sophomore Jeff Bain -- a Freshman All-American in 2015 -- was the hard-luck loser, after throwing 4.0 innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen.
Bain had retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he'd faced, after retiring Jalen Phillips to lead off the ninth. He induced a weak grounder to short from Kone, but Cal shortstop Preston GrandPre was slow to make the throw, allowing Kone to reach. Bain's second walk of the day -- to Saturday's hero Evan Dougherty -- set the stage for Conine, who punched the second pitch he saw inside the first base line for the winning tally.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1644326-halamandaris-s-big... Senior left fielder Nick Halamandaris had another big day for the Bears, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, one RBI and two doubles, making him 6-for-13 on the season with three extra-base hits and five RBIs.
Senior designated hitter Devin Pearson also went 2-for-4, after going 1-for-8 in his first two games. Pearson put the Bears ahead early, sending a hard grounder up the middle for an RBI single in the top of the first, driving home leadoff man Aaron Knapp, who extended his personal five-game hitting streak with a leadoff single.
Duke stormed back to take the lead with three runs in the second off of Bears starter Matt Ladrech, who served up a sky-high double to center from Jack Labosky, a line-drive single to left by catcher Cris Perez, and then a three-run home run to right by Phillips for his first hit of the young season.
Ladrech bounced back for a four-pitch third, but walked the first two batters of the fourth on 13 pitches, before being pulled for senior righty Keaton Siomkin. Siomkin, who had pitched 1.1 scoreless innings on Friday out of the pen, once again held the line for the Bears.
Siomkin got a fly out by Phillips, but then allowed a bleeding single from Kone to load the bases, before falling behind 3-0 to Dougherty. Siomkin, though, battled back to get Dougherty swinging, and then got a bouncer back to the box from Conine to end the inning.
Halamandaris led off the top of the fifth with an opposite field double high off the Blue Monster in left field, and then moved to third on a well-placed grounder from senior right fielder Brian Celsi.
Second baseman Robbie Tenerowicz then sent a first-pitch pop fly down the right field line. Peter Zyla came charging in, second baseman Max Miller went out, and Miller made an over-the-shoulder grab, but stumbled on the bullpen mound. His throw home was off line, allowing Halamandaris to score after tagging up, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Blue Devils, though, came right back with a run in th ebottom of the fifth on an RBI single from Zyla, but Cal wasn't done.
The Bears chipped away at starting pitcher and Cornell transfer Brent McAfee, with catcher Brett Cumberland knocking the grad transfer's 71st pitch through the right side for a single to lead off the seventh inning. Halamandaris then stepped up with a big double again, sending a high fly ball off the top of the scoreboard in left field, and kicking between the center fielder Dougherty and the left fielder Zyla, allowing Cumberland to come around to score.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1644173-farney-shows-no-ru... Halamandaris would come around to score on a squeeze bunt by GrandPre, as the throw home from McAfee tipped off of Perez's mitt, tying the game at 4-4.
Cal got the leadoff man on in the top of the eighth, when third baseman Mitchell Kranson sent a grounder off the heel of Phillips's glove. The ball was barehanded by Miller and thrown to reliever Karl Blum, but wide.
But, Bears first baseman Brenden Farney, who came into the game 3-for-6 over the previous two games with two doubles, grounded into a double play, and Cumberland grounded to short. Cal went down in order in the top of the ninth.
The Bears return home for a Tuesday tilt at Evans Diamond against San Francisco at 7 p.m., before hosting a three-game set with Purdue (0-2) over the weekend, and undefeated Michigan (4-0) a week from Monday.
With junior righty Alex Schick expected to miss time with a knee injury suffered while playing long toss, and Bain having gone on Sunday, freshmen Aaron Shortridge and Joey Matulovich are candidates to start the game against the Dons.