California freshman Cameron Eden had his fingerprints all over the Bears' 3-1 win over Pepperdine on Sunday, starting an unlikely rally in the top of the sixth to tie things up, and then giving Cal the lead with his first collegiate home run in the seventh.
The Bears (7-7) swept the Waves (6-7) for their first road series win of the young season, rattling out nine hits in support of sophomore righty Joey Matulovich, making his second start of the season.
Matulovich -- who tossed 6.0 innings and allowed two runs in a win against Gonzaga last weekend -- went the full 9.0, striking out a career-high 10, the first Cal pitcher since Ryan Mason on May 14 of last year against Northwestern Wildcats to fan 10 or more Mason did it in 6.0 innings and gave up three hits and no runs. Matulovich gave up five hits, and one earned run, but like Mason, didn't walk a batter. After a 12-7 slugfest on Friday and a pitcher's duel on Saturday, Matulovich didn't quite know what to expect.
"I honestly wasn't sure," Matulovich said. "I knew they were a really aggressive team, sort of like Gonzaga, and they were going to swing at a lot of stuff, which was a big reason I got 10 strikeouts, because they were going to swing. Anything around the zone, they wanted to hit."
Matulovich's effort was the first complete game of the season for the Bears, and the first since Mason, again, in a 12-2 win over Oregon on April 8, 2016, in Eugene, Ore.
"I think he'd be happy; he kind of liked me," Matulovich laughed. "It worked out."
Cal trailed 1-0 after four, thanks to a pair of doubles by Qsar and Lambert, and an RBI groundout by first baseman Ben Rodriguez, but the Bears tied things up in the top of the sixth, thanks to a Waves error.
Eden led off the sixth against Wil Jensen with a grounder to third on the first pitch he saw. The ball got by third baseman Nick Costello, and then shortstop Quincy McAfee backhanded the grounder, turned and fired, short to first, allowing Eden to reach.
With Jonah Davis at the plate, Eden bluffed to second, drawing a back pick to first from catcher Joe Caparis, but was able to get back easily.
"I was just trying to get a good secondary," Eden said.
After Davis flied out, Eden swiped second -- Cal's league-leading 16th in 20 attempts, and Eden's first -- with a 1-1 count on Jeffrey Mitchell.
Two pitches later, Jensen -- with Eden clearly on his mind -- balked Eden over to third. After Mitchell was retired on strikes, first baseman Andrew Vaughn got his second hit of the day, an RBI single on a 1-1 inside-out rocket to right. Vaughn extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
During that streak, Vaughn has gone 20-for-49 (.408), with nine RBIs and three home runs.
"I know they paid attention, had an eye on me every time I got on base," Eden said. "I knew they were going to keep a close eye on me, and I think they were paying a little too much attention, and I stressed the pitcher."
With two outs in the seventh, second baseman Ripken Reyes popped a first-pitch single to right, and Eden followed that up with a first-pitch rip of his own, slugging the first pitch he saw for a two-run home run over the left field fence and into the palm trees at Eddy D. Field Stadium in picturesque Malibu, Calif., for the eventual winning margin.
"My first two at-bats, I swung first pitch, got a fastball on my first at-bat, popped out to right, and my second at-bat, I got a curveball and I grounded to third," Eden said. "My third at-bat, coming up, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't completely sure, but I knew if I got a fastball, I was going to try to do something with it. He threw me a low fastball, middle-in, and I ended up hitting it over the fence."
Eden has now hit safely in five straight games, going 10-for-20 with a double, a home run and four RBIs.
Matulovich fired out of the dugout in the top of the nine with his slider as sharp as it was at the start, fanning Lambert for his 10th K of the day, before getting a first-pitch liner to Reyes at second for the second out, and getting a foul pop to end his first career complete game. Matulovich had never gone a full nine before, and was "right around 110" pitches, but he did have several complete games in high school, where games are seven innings long.
"That's not bad for nine innings, and I'm capable of throwing a lot of pitches," Matulovich said. "I went fastball-slider today, and I went fastball-changeup last weekend, and didn't throw many sliders. This week, I went all sliders, no change ups. I just got really comfortable with it throughout the game, and was able to locate where I wanted it. It was working."
Also working for Matulovich was the mid-70s sunshine, without a hint of wind at the idyllic seaside Eddy D. Field Stadium.
"It was incredible," Matulovich said. "It looked like I was hot, but I was feeling great out there. It was beautiful getting the sweat going early, and you don't have to try to stay loose, because you're loose all the time."
The Bears come home to face Minnesota on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., at Evans Diamond, before the start of Pac-12 play on Friday. Cal will host Oregon (11-4), with the opener set for 7:05 p.m., at Evans Diamond.