BERKELEY -- Freshman reliever Arman Sabouri (2.0 IP, 2 Ks, 0 H, 0 ER) may have gotten the win for California in Sunday's 9-5 win, but junior lefty Matt Ladrech was the headliner, returning to the weekend rotation for the first time since the first week of the season. The Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo alum was on a pitch count, coming back from a forearm injury, but the crafty southpaw got nine first-pitch strikes and threw 46 of his 66 pitches for strikes, going 4.0 innings and striking out four. Ladrech allowed just two hits and walked none, lowering his ERA to 0.68.
Cal's five pitchers on the afternoon benefitted from sparkling defense. Sophomore Jeffrey Mitchell hauling in a catch at the right field wall in the top of the second, and making a lay-out grab for the first out in the top of the eight, while sophomore second baseman Ripken Reyes snared a fading liner up the middle off the bat of Cougars first baseman James Rudkin in the top of the fifth.
Freshman shortstop Cameron Eden continued his birthday weekend with a 1-for-4 day, driving in two with a double in the bottom of the sixth.
The Bears (12-13, 4-5 in Pac-12) saw five of their eight leadoff men reach, with three of those being singles from sophomore catcher Tyrus Greene. Greene, hitting leadoff for the third straight game, went 3-for-4, with one run and one walk. The other two those leadoff hits came off the bat of Tanner Dodson, who went 4-for-5 on the day to raise his season average to .282. Dodson drove in three of Cal's runs, and scored another, slugging two doubles. Dodson also threw 2.0 innings, allowing two hits and two runs, both scoring on a disputed home run off the top of the wall in left field off the bat of Justin Harrer in the top of the eighth.
While reliever Zayne Patino struggled in his second outing in two days, allowing a walk and three straight singles in the top of the ninth, before the Bears called on junior closer Erik Martinez. Martinez got a groundball force at second before retiring shortstop Andres Alvarez on a grounder to first to end the game.
Martinez lowered his ERA to 2.03.
Cal next visits Stanford for a 5:05 p.m., Tuesday tilt at Sunken Diamond. The Cardinal (14-8, 2-3) are seventh in the Pac-12 in batting (.264), but fourth on the mound, with a 3.29 team ERA. Stanford is also one of the best fielding teams in the conference, coming in third with a .979 fielding percentage.
The Bears are fourth in hitting (.273), but eighth in pitching (4.18 ERA) and eighth in fielding (.967). Freshman first baseman Andrew Vaughn is 11th in the Pac-12 in batting (.356), ninth in slugging (.567), fourth in hits (37), ninth in RBIs (20) and first in home runs (7), while Cal paces the circuit in longballs with 18. In an unusual turn for a David Esquer-coached Bears squad, Cal is second in the Pac-12 in stolen bases, having swiped 26 bags on 37 attempts.
Stanford isn't going to knock the ball out of the park -- the Cardinal rank 10th in the league in homers with 9 -- but they don't strike out much, fanning 155 times (T7). Stanford also won't run much, with just 16 stolen bases on the season, meaning they won't be testing Greene, who's thrown out 7 of 14 would-be thieves on the basepaths. Greene is also 15th in the Pac-12 in hitting, with a .339 batting average (21-for-62). Mitchell, after a 4-for-12 weekend with five runs, is hitting .327.
SUNDAY RECAP: CAL SWEEPS WASHINGTON STATE
SATURDAY RECAP: CAL USES SIX-RUN SEVENTH TO DOWN WSU
FRIDAY RECAP: CAL CRUSHES COUGS 12-2