SEATTLE – Washington sent eight men to the plate and scored three times in the eighth to break open a 1-1 tie and hold on for a 4-3 win over California at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif. Thursday night in game one of a three-game series.
Trevor Mitsui drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run, to help Washington, ranked sixth in College Baseball News and seventh by Baseball America, move to 13-3 in Pac-12 action and maintain a 1 ½ game lead over idle Oregon State.
The Huskies improved to 26-7-1 overall on the season, while the Bears dropped to 15-18, 4-9 in Conference.
All four of Washington’s runs came with two outs and all nine hits were singles.
In the decisive eighth, Braden Bishop drew a lead-off walk from Cal starter Daulton Jefferies (2-4) but it appeared as if Washington was going to waste a golden opportunity as the next two batters were retired.
Jefferies left the game in favor of Chris Muse-Fisher, who proceeded to walk the Pac-12’s leading hitter Brian Wolfe. Trevor Hildenberg came into the game to face Mitsui to set up the righty on righty matchup, but the move did not pay off. Mitsui delivered a single, his third hit of the game and the first of three-consecutive run-scoring singles for the Huskies.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Huskies almost saw their three-run lead completely evaporate. After reliever Will Ballowe got two quick outs, he gave up a single and double before giving way to Troy Rallings.
Rallings uncorked a wild pitch that scored one run and then gave up a RBI double to cut the lead to one run before getting Lucas Erceg to ground out to end the threat.
Rallings allowed a two-out hit in the ninth, but got the Pac-12 home run leader Derek Campbell to fly out to right to end the game. Rallings picked up his fifth save of the season, while Ballowe moved to 3-0 on the season.
Washington, who is 23-3 over their last 26 games, got on the board first, piecing together three-straight singles to take the 1-0 lead in the fourth. Robert Pehl extended his personal hit streak to 11 games and notched the first Huskies’ hit of the game. Wolfe followed with a hit of his own to put runners on first and second. Mitsui drove Pehl in with a single to right field to draw first blood.
California evened the score at 1-1 in the fifth on a home run by Erceg that almost was an out. Erceg drove the ball deep to right field where Wolfe tracked the ball to the fence. He leaped to grab it and nearly made an excellent play, but the ball popped out of his glove and over the fence for Cal’s first tally of the game.
Both starting pitchers threw brilliantly, but ultimately Jeffries was tagged with an unlucky loss.
UW’s Jared Fisher lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up just the one run on Erceg’s homer and four total hits. He struck out two and walked a pair of batters.
Jeffries was equally strong. The freshman went 7 2/3 innings and gave up six hits, two runs, struck out two and walked one.
Mitsui (3), Schmidt (2) and Wolfe (2) all recorded multi-hit games for the Huskies. Wolfe raised his Pac-12 leading batting average to .412.
The Huskies and Cal face off in game two of the three-game series Friday at 7:00 p.m. Washington will send right-hander Tyler Davis (7-1, 1.38) to the hill against Cal lefty Kyle Porter (4-3, 2.68).
#7 Washington 4, California 3
WASH 000 100 030 –- 4 9 0
CAL 000 010 020 –- 3 8 1
Jared Fisher, Will Ballowe (7), Troy Rallings (8) and Austin Rei. Daulton Jeffries, Chris Muse-Fisher (8), Trevor Hildenberger (8), Dylan Nelson (9) and Mitchell Kranson. W – Ballowe (3-0). L – Jeffries (2-4). Sv – Rallings (5). HR – CAL, Lucas Erceg (1). 3B – none. 2B – CAL, Aaron Knapp, Nic Halamandaris, Brenden Farney. Time – 2:45. Attendance – 432.