Baseball Falls 7-5 in Close Battle at Cal

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Mark Winkelman
Courtesy: Eric Francis

BERKELEY, Calif. - Creighton scored first and put together a pair of comebacks, including a ninth inning bid, but fell to California 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon.  The Bluejays drop to 5-4 on the season, while the Cal Bears remain undefeated at home (7-0) and improve to 9-2 on the season.

Creighton rallied for a pair of runs in the second and sixth innings, and had runners on first and third in the top of the ninth, but the ballgame ended with a fly ball to right field. 

Nick Judkins led the way offensively for the Bluejays on the day, going 3-5 from the plate.  Chance Ross had a pair of hits and scored two runs in the loss.

For the first time in four games, the Bluejays got on the board first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning.  Chance Ross fell behind 1-2 in the count, but then drove a ball down the right field line, landing just beyond Danny Oh's dive in right field and rolling to the 320 fence.  A ground out to second by Nick Judkins drove in Ross, giving Creighton the 1-0 lead.

The Bluejays struck again in the top of the second inning, this time pushing across a pair of runs on two hits and a Cal error.  With two outs, Brennan Murphy beat out an infield single and Ross singled to left field before Jake Peter loaded the bases by drawing a walk.  Judkins one hopped a ball off Andrew Knapp's glove, scoring Murphy.  An errant throw by the Cal first baseman Knapp allowed Ross to score.

But the Bears evened the game in the bottom of the first, and added another run in the second.  In the first, the Bears used a leadoff single by Tony Renda and a two-out single by Knapp off Bluejay starter Nick Musec to put the game at 1-1.  They used three back-to-back-to-back singles in the second to score their second run

The Bears took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of a two-out hit batter.  After Knapp was hit by a pitch, Chad Bunting drove out his first home run of the season to give the Bears a 4-3 lead after three innings.

Creighton brought in Chase Webb to pitch after Musec allowed a leadoff single to start the fifth inning.  A four pitch walk to followed by a single up the middle from Chadd Krist put the Bears up 5-3 and left Bears on second and third.  Mark Winkelman came into the game and ended the Bear threat, striking out Knapp, forcing Bunting out on a fielders choice and fanning Vince Bruno to end the frame.

A pair of Cal errors along with Mike Gerber's solo home run tied the game back up in the top of the sixth inning.  With one out and a full count, Gerber drove a ball to left center, clearing the fence just left of the 365 wall sign.  Brad McKewon then walked on four straight pitches and stole second, advancing to third on a wild pitch. 

After a Brennan Murphy strikeout, it looked as if the inning would end when Ross hit a ball to the shortstop.  A catcher's interference call put Ross safely on first and McKewon on third.  A wild pitch by Joey Donofrio allowed McKewon to score, tying the game at 5-5.

Cal regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring a single run off reliever Reese McGraw and added another run in the bottom of the eight inning to get the win.

Creighton will take on Sacramento State tomorrow at 4:00 pm Central.  The two teams will be meeting for the first time in program history.

NOTES: Nick Musec threw into the fifth inning in his first start of the 2012 season.  He finished his outing with 4.0 innings of work, allowing seven hits and five earned runs ... After pulling a ball above the lone light pole at Evans Field and into the wind in his first at bat, Mike Gerber drove his first home run of the season to the opposite field in the top of the sixth ... Mark Winkelman again made a solid appearance on the mound, throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit and striking out two of the eight batters he faced ...

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