BERKELEY, Calif. – Mike Reuvekamp delivered a bases-loaded single with nobody out in the 12th inning for the University of California baseball team, which walked off with a 7-6 victory in a seesaw battle with Arizona on a windy Saturday evening at Evans Diamond.
California (22-26, 10-16 Pac-12) squandered a three-run lead and needed to score with two outs in the ninth to force extra innings. The Golden Bears did just that, then dodged a Wildcat rally in the top of the 12th, before finally breaking through against reliever Bobby Dalbec in the bottom of the decisive frame.
Pinch-hitter Jacob Walk was hit by a Dalbec pitch to open the 12th. Instead of bunting, Brian Celsi slapped a hit-and-run single through the left side, advancing pinch-runner Chris Paul to second base. Aaron Knapp did try to advance the runners with a bunt, and reached when third baseman Willie Calhoun unsuccessfully tried to throw out Paul, who slide in safely at third base.
Dalbec (L, 3-5) took the loss, but turned in a gritty relief effort despite blowing the save in the ninth and being charged for the decision. The freshman right-hander pitched five complete innings, with the 12th representing his sixth inning on the mound.
Arizona (20-31, 9-20 Pac-12) took its first lead of the game with a three-run seventh inning, which chased starter Kyle Porter from the game. Riley Moore and Dalbec, the starting designated hitter, both singled, before Joseph Maggi reached on an error when third baseman Lucas Erceg could not come up cleanly with the ball.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, the Golden Bears brought in closer Trevor Hildenberger to face the top of the Wildcats’ lineup. Zach Gibbons promptly drove in a pair of runs to tie the game on a single up the middle, and, one out later, Trent Gilbert hit a sacrifice fly to hand Arizona a 6-5 advantage.
That nearly proved to be enough to win it, but California had a ninth-inning comeback in mind.
After pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings, Dalbec ran into trouble when he walked Brenden Farney with one out in the ninth. After Erceg struck out, pinch-runner Devin Pearson stole second to get into scoring position with two outs, and Derek Campbell drew a walk.
Now with the winning run on base, Vince Bruno hit a sharp grounder past a diving Trent Gilbert at second base, which drove in Pearson with the tying run.
Arizona was hitless over the ninth, 10th and 11th innings against Hildenberger, but mounted a scoring threat against the rest of the Calfiornia bullpen. Right-hander Dylan Davis issued a one-out walk to Scott Kingery, before lefty Chris Muse-Fisher sandwiched a popout around two walks, which loaded the bases.
Jordan Talbot (W, 1-0) entered with two outs, the bases loaded and inherited a 2-0 count against Riley Moore. But an inning-ending lineout to left field stranded three and sent the Golden Bears to bat in the bottom of the 12th.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arizona’s Cody Hamlin tossed 5.2 and gave up five runs – four earned – on nine hits. Porter turned in six complete with six runs – four earned – on seven hits for California.
The Golden Bears struck for three runs off Hamlin in the first inning. Knapp drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Devon Rodriguez’s infield single. Farney then bounced a ball back to Hamlin, who three wildly to first base, which allowed Rodriguez to score all the way from first.
Later in the first, Campbell doubled to left-center and drove in Erceg to spot Porter a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats would not get their first base runner until Moore led off the third with a double. He scored on Dalbec’s single, and the designated hitter was later driven in on Kingery’s groundout to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Arizona tied the game with a run in top of the sixth. A two-out single from Gilbert was followed by another single by Tyler Krause. A passed ball advanced both runners, before Porter was called for a balk, allowing to Gilbert to cross the plate with the tying run.
California surged ahead with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, chasing Hamlin from the contest. Celsi collected a pair of RBI with a single to left field, and the damage could have been worse when Hamlin left the game with the bases loaded. However, Cody Moffett coaxed a foul out from Rodriguez, stranding three.
The rubber game of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday. Pac-12 Arizona will have a live television broadcast, and a live radio broadcast can be heard on 1290 AM in Tucson, Ariz.