BERKELEY -- On Sunday, California head coach David Esquer said he'd not seen a player as locked-in as freshman first baseman Andrew Vaughn in his 18 seasons in Berkeley. He said that Xavier Nady was the closest he'd seen.
Nady's name isn't mentioned lightly. The longtime Major Leaguer was a two-time All-American (1999, 2000), a Freshman All-American and national freshman of the year (1998) and a three-time All-Pac-10 selection at second base, the most decorated player in the history of the program.
Vaughn has just concluded arguably the most impactful week in the past decade of Cal baseball, capped by two walk-off home runs in the sweep of USC, with highlights in the video above. Vaughn is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak, his third streak of at least six games this season. Over the past four games, Vaughn went 7-for-15 (.467), with 12 RBIs, 3 home runs (including a grand slam), 6 walks and 3 intentional walks with 3 runs scored.
Vaughn paces the Pac-12 with 11 home runs, and his .371 batting average ranks sixth in the league. His 43 RBIs are second in the conference, behind Arizona's J.J. Matijevic.
Vaughn went 3-for-4 with a game-winning two-run home run on Sunday in the 10th inning, and while he was undoubtedly the star of the weekend, lost in his offensive barrage was the stellar outing of lefty Matt Ladrech. The junior southpaw ground through 7.1 innings, throwing 127 pitches in what would wind up being a hard-luck no-decision, as reliever Tanner Dodson gave up four runs in the top of the ninth to force the extra frame.
Ladrech scattered eight hits -- including a first-inning wind-aided pop fly triple that led to one of two earned runs he surrendered -- and struck out two, with two walks, delivering eight groundouts and getting 16 first-pitch strikes against the 31 batters he faced, lowering his ERA to 2.48 -- the best among Cal starting pitchers.
Ladrech also made two big defensive plays on grounders to the mound and first, and was aided by a diving grab in center by Dodson and a home run from freshman Max Flower -- his first career round-tripper.