No. 7 Cal Baseball Tops Fresno State, 5-4

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

BERKELEY, CALIF.Sophomore right fielder/pitcher Blake Smith hit a clutch grand slam in the sixth inning and junior closer Matt Gorgen notched his fifth save of the season as the No. 7-ranked California baseball team edged Fresno State, 5-4, Wednesday at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears improved to 19-6-1 overall and the Bulldogs dropped to 16-14.

The game was a 0-0 tie through the first five innings as Fresno State left-hander Justin Wilson (2-4, 6.0 innings, five hits, five runs, four earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts) and Cal pitchers Todd Fitzgerald (4.0 innings, one hit, no runs, four walks, three strikeouts) and Kevin Miller (2.0 innings, no hits, no runs, one walk, two strikeouts) engaged in the pitching duel.

Finally in the bottom of the sixth inning the Bears broke through against Wilson on sophomore center fielder Brett Jackson’s looping RBI single, and later in the inning, Smith’s first career grand slam, a shot over the left field fence to give Cal a 5-0 advantage.

The Bulldogs were not done, however. After hitting the grand slam, Smith came in to pitch and gave up two singles and an RBI double to Steve Detwiler to start the top of the seventh. Then Danny Grubb’s grounder to Bear third baseman Jeff Kobernus was thrown away, allowing two more runs to score (after Cal right fielder Charlie Cutler lost the handle on a throw to the infield). Finally, Danny Muno’s RBI groundout to second allowed Fresno State to get within 5-4, before Gorgen was able to get the final two outs of the seventh.

Gorgen proceeded to throw the next two innings to earn his fifth save of the year (3.0 innings, one hit, no runs, one walk, four strikeouts), and his 16th career save, placing him tied for fourth (with Matt Brown, 2001-04) on the Bears’ all-time career save list.

Freshman right-hander Miller ended up with the win for Cal to improve his record to 4-0. In 12 appearances and 32.0 innings of action this season, Miller has 31 strikeouts and has yet to give up an earned run.

The Bears will next return to Pac-10 action when they host two-time defending NCAA champions Oregon State in a three-game conference series at Evans Diamond, beginning on Friday, Apr. 4 at 2:30 p.m. The Saturday, Apr. 5, and the Sunday, Apr. 6, contest against the Beavers will begin at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.