In game 1 of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Beavers were looking to rebound from a spanking by Oregon on Tuesday night at home. The Beavers were hitless the first 6 innings but got the hits when they needed them and pulled out a 3-0 win behind clutch hitting and great pitching.
The Beavers were able to break through first in the game. In the bottom of the second the Beavers got the first two guys on base. Kavin Keyes was hit by a pitch and then Jared Norris walked against Cal starter Erik Johnson. Carter Bell then sacrificed both of them over. With runners on second and third and 1 out Parker Berberet stepped up to try to give the Beavers an early lead. After some pretty bad swings he was able to hit a sacrifice fly to center field and gave the Beavers an early 1-0 lead without the benefit of a hit.
Sam Gaviglio had the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and Cal threatened to take the lead, but he was able to strikeout Marcus Semien to get out of trouble. Tony Renda got on board with a two out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch in the fifth, but Sam Gaviglio struck out Danny Oh to escape another jam and the Beavers still led 1-0 after 4 1/2 innings despite not having a hit. He cruised through the 6th inning and had 10 strikeouts through 6. Johnson trailed 1-0 through 6 even though he still hadn’t given up a hit.
In the 7th, with 1 out Sam Gaviglio gives up a single to Marcus Semien and a double by Louie Lechich, which almost allowed Semien to score but Stamps’ speed in center field got to quickly and got it into the infield in time to hold Semien at third base. This would end up being a pretty big play. Pat Casey would bring in Matt Boyd out of the bullpen, who had issues with a similar circumstance their last conference game against UCLA. Boyd got Austin Booker to tap a ball back to him and Boyd got the runner Semien in a rundown and eventually Semien was tagged out for out two. Boyd would then intentionally walk Tony Renda to face the left hander Danny Oh. After a pretty good battle he got Oh to ground out to second and Boyd yet again pulled the Houdini act and escaped without allowing a run. It was the biggest half inning of the game.
The Beavers would capitalize on Cal blowing their opportunity. Carter Bell led off the bottom of the 7th by hitting a single up the middle and ending Johnson’s quest for a no hitter. Berberet sacrificed Bell to second base and Ryan Dunn would then flyout. Tyler Smith was able to work a walk and set up a clutch opportunity for Brian Stamps. It was his first at-bat of the game and he didn’t disappoint. He hit a hanging slider off the wall in left field and nearly cleared it for a home run. Carter Bell and Tyler Smith would score on the two run double to make it 3-0 Beavers.
In the top of the 8th with Matt Boyd still on the hill, Cal got runners on first and second with 1 out for Vince Bruno. Bruno hit a ground ball to second and Smith flipped it to Dunn for one out but they weren’t quite able to turn the double play. Boyd would finish off the inning himself. He struck out Marcus Semien to end the Cal threat in the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th Kavin Keyes nearly went into the right field seats for a home run but Danny Oh leaped and caught it in front of the wall. As a result Kavin Keyes still hasn’t hit a home run in his college career. It will happen soon.
Pinch-hitter Chad Bunting led the 9th off with a single off Boyd. Austin Booker then tried to bunt for a base hit but was thrown out. Bunting advanced to second on the play. Renda would then single to left and put runners on first and third with 1 out. and Pat Casey decided to go to his closer Tony Bryant to try to finish the game off. Cal brought up Mich Thefofanopoulos to face and Bryant struck him out with his devastating changeup. Bryant would then get Chadd Krist to pop out to Ryan Dunn, the Beavers shortstop to give the Beavers a 3-0 win.
The Beavers won despite having two hits compared to Cal’s 9. Difference in the game was the Beavers ability to be fundamentally sound and come through in the clutch. Cal couldn’t execute in fundamental situations and couldn’t get a clutch hit all afternoon.
Sam Gaviglio picked his 9th win, as he went 6 1/3 innings, struck out 10 and gave up 5 hits while not allowing a run. Matt Boyd didn’t get the save or the win but he came up with the most clutch performance. With runners on second and third and 1 out and having a 1-0 lead to protect, found a way to get out the jam and preserve the win. Doesn’t get much better than that. Tony Bryant picked up his 8th save and got out of a jam himself in the ninth. The hitting hero would have to be Brian Stamps. He had 1 of the two hits by the Beavers and that was a two run double in the 7th to give the pitchers some breathing room.
Erik Johnson got the loss for the Bears and fell to 5-2, even though he gave up just two hits. He did give up 3 runs and walked 6, but struck out 9. He was mostly effectively wild until the 7th.
With the win the Beavers improved to 33-10 and 13-3 in conference play. Cal fell to 27-15 on the year and 11-8 in conference play.