RECAP: Cal freshman Andrew Vaughn nearly clears the scoreboard in five-run sixth as Cal takes Gonzaga finale

Cal wins a seesaw series finale with a five run sixth, powered by freshman Andrew Vaughn.

BERKELEY -- After going 1-for-7 and scoring the winning run in California's 13-inning marathon on Saturday, Bears freshman Andrew Vaughn didn't wait four-plus hours to make his presence felt in Cal's 9-5 comeback win on Sunday afternoon.

Vaughn lined a first-pitch RBI single to center in the bottom of the fifth to break a 2-2 tie, and put the capper on a five-run sixth with a titanic two-run home run just to the left of the top of the scoreboard in left field.

"It's been a transition coming into college baseball," said Vaughn. "Getting the opportunity to hit in the lineup, where I do, and play the field, I'm just trying to get acclimated to college baseball."

"He's starting to get more comfortable," head coach David Esquer said of Vaughn, who went 2-for-5. "We stuck him in a tough spot. The first freshman since Tony Renda, and the only freshman other than Tony Renda, that I had starting hitting in the three hole. That's a tall order. Early on, it was just that baseball at this level is really hard, and right now, he's starting to relax and play up to his ability." Cal (4-7) rattled out 13 hits on the afternoon, led by sophomore center fielder Jonah Davis, who finished the day 4-for-4, with one walk, two runs and three RBIs at the top of the lineup.

"Honestly, I wasn't trying to do too much; I was just hunting the ball up," said Davis, who came into the series finale hitting .231. "I've been seeing all the off speed lately. I wasn't trying to do too much with the pitch. The last couple series, I've tried to get a little too big, and instead of letting the power come to me, I've been trying to provide the power myself. I've got to let my hands work."

Cal split its four-game series with Gonzaga (5-6) amid bouts of sun showers, and did it behind a strong effort from freshman righty Rogelio Reyes, who went a season-high 5.1 innings, throwing 80 pitches, walking three, striking out three and allowing two earned runs.

"He got through five, and I think with both guys, you saw even with their pitcher, [Casey Legumina], their pitcher showed a good arm, and right around the fifth or sixth, a little of that petroleum burns off, and now you're ordinary," Esquer said. "Both guys did a good job for the first five innings, and when they got a little lighter, then the offense started going."

Gonzaga struck first, scoring a run in the top of the second, as Reyes surrendered a first-pitch home run into the wind by second baseman Justin Jacobs. The Bears responded with a run in the bottom of the third, thanks to a Cameron Eden pop fly double to right, a Davis single through the left side and a run-scoring double play, rolled into by Jeffrey Mitchell.

The Bulldogs crept ahead again in the top of the fourth. After catcher Tyrus Greene threw out Jake Bohling, erasing a leadoff walk, Tyler Frost sent a double into the right field corner. A line-drive single to center by Jacobs easily brought Frost around, but left fielder Jeffrey Mitchell was able to limit the damage, coming in to make a sliding grab on a sinking fly ball by Vieth. The next man up -- Daniel Fredrickson -- lined a single over Eden at short, which would have brought a would-be runner home. Instead, Fredrickson was stranded, as Reyes got Gunnar Schubert to ground out to third to end the inning.

Reyes got two quick outs in the top of the fourth, but then allowed an infield single to Sam Brown -- a ball up the middle stopped by a sprawling Ripken Reyes -- and a five-pitch walk to Bohling.

With Ian Lutz warming in the bullpen, pitching coach Thomas Eager made a trip to the mound for a service call. After a short conversation, Reyes got Frost to fly out to center, ending the threat.

"He just told me to stay within myself, and just stay calm," Rogelio Reyes said. "He told me to trust my stuff."

In the bottom of the fifth, Eden  delivered a second-pitch single up the middle with one out, followed by a first-pitch double crushed to left center by Davis, tying the game up at 2-2.  Mitchell then came up and sent a second-pitch roller to the right side, where it bounced up into Jacobs's chest. Unable to do anything with it, Jacobs ate the play as both runners arrived safely. Vaughn then lined his first-pitch single to center to break the knot.

"I was just looking for the ball to come over the plate, and put my swing on it, just stay simple, not trying to do too much, and hit it where it needs to go," Vaughn said. Reyes hit the first man he faced in the top of the sixth, and after getting Vieth to fly out to center and walking Fredrickson, was pulled for Lutz. The senior, who came to Cal by way of San Diego Mesa and Miami-Ohio, fanned Schubert and got Patrick Chung to fly out to Davis at the warning track in dead center field.

Freshman right fielder Max Flower led off the bottom of the sixth with his first of two infield singles on the day, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Anthony WaltersTanner Dodson was called on to pinch hit, and was promptly intentionally walked, and then lifted for pinch runner Cole Lemmel.

Eden came up with a perfectly-placed bunt up the ridge of the grass on the third base line to load the bases.

Then, Davis, who had seen no more than two pitches in any previous at-bat, flicked the fifth pitch he saw from Bulldogs starter Legumina over shortstop for a two-run single, advancing to second on the throw. 

"I've been hunting away a little bit, because they were throwing it on the corner, not too much inside, and just waiting on that pitch and driving it the other way," Davis said. "I think my approach mixed up there a little bit. Bases loaded, I was expecting and looking for a fastball instead of a breaking pitch -- runners in scoring position, they're probably not going to give me too much to hit -- so in that two-strike situation, I was more ready for that curveball. I was trying to fight it off, and I wasn't expecting to get a hit right there. I was expecting a foul ball."

A sacrifice fly from Mitchell plated another run, and Vaughn's blow to left finished the barrage.

"I was sitting dead red," Vaughn said. "I got in a hitter's count, 3-1, and the guy had a firm fastball, so I put my good swing on it."

The seventh saw a more dangerous weather phenomenon than the day's early sun showers, as hail began pelting the field as Lutz walked Frost to put two men on with two outs. Jacobs sent the second pitch he saw in the midst of the hail into left, and the throw home from Mitchell skipped past third baseman Denis Karas, and then by Greene, allowing a run to score.

"I think it was just a mental mistake," Esquer said. "When they're holding the runner there, Denis has got to square that ball up. There's no reason to try to field it to the side. The ball gets by him, all heck breaks loose and a run scores."

Greene -- who allowed two delayed steals in the previous two innings -- was pulled after the inning ended, due to a cut on his finger that had been examined in the open, on the field, at the start of the seventh.

"He cut his finger somewhere in the dugout, but I didn't see how it happened," Esquer said. "He taped it up, and I think he's fine, but it wasn't worth the risk. I think he was going to a knee maybe a little bit early, and maybe they saw something there. I think they kind of exploited us a little bit, which is good to know, now." The Bears added a run on a wild pitch on strike three to Eden in the seventh, but couldn't cash in on a bases-loaded opportunity, when Mitchell -- hitting .308 with runners in scoring position -- struck out against reliever Justin Blatner.

"We were one hit away from that knockout blow," Esquer said. "With the bases loaded, we'd hit into a double play, or another first and third, double play, we just couldn't get that knockout punch, but we got enough runs to win."

Gonzaga pushed across a run in the top of the eighth, thanks to a mis-handled bouncer to the mound by reliever Andrew Buckley. Coming on with a man on and no outs in relief or Lutz (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks), Buckley walked pinch hitter Troy Johnston, and then took a two-hopper to the mound by catcher Hayden Hastings and fired it into center field, trying to turn a double play, allowing Fredrickson -- aboard with a leadoff single -- to score.

Appropriately enough, Cal ended the day with Vaughn, who allowed a no-doubt home run to right by Frost to lead off the ninth, but then made quick work of Jacobs, Vieth and Fredrickson, needing just 12 more pitches to retire the side.

The Bears will drive down to Malibu, Calif., this weekend, for a three-game set against Esquer's old team, Pepperdine, at Eddy D. Field. Top Stories