June 6, 2011
HOUSTON - Brooks Pinckard turned in a strong outing on the mound, but the Baylor offense was held in check as the Bears fell to California, 8-0, on Sunday night in NCAA Tournament action at Reckling Park.
Cal (34-21) upset No. 1 seed Rice on Sunday afternoon, 6-3, and with the win on Sunday night, the Golden Bears forced a winner-take-all rematch with Baylor (31-27) to decide the Houston Regional champion at 6 p.m. Monday.
The game was a 1-0 pitchers' duel until the eighth inning, but Chad Bunting hit his second home run of the night, a three-run shot to put Cal in front 5-0 and help the Golden Bears to a seven-run outburst in the frame.
"We didn't execute anything in this game," head coach Steve Smith said. "On the few chances we got we couldn't get a bunt down. We just didn't do a good job offensively and it would have taken a good job today, because we got very few opportunities."
Pinckard's (5-3) only run allowed came when Bunting hit a two-out solo homer in the sixth to break a scoreless tie, but that was enough to hand him a tough-luck loss. He allowed one run on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 6.0 innings.
Cal starting pitcher Kyle Porter (5-0) picked up the win by holding Baylor scoreless on three hits in a career-long 6.2 innings of work. He struck out nine, walked two and hit a pair of batters.
"I think Cal showed a tremendous, tremendous amount of heart to do what they did today," Smith said. "In these tournaments it seems every year for a team to really excel someone has to do something they haven't done before, and I thought that was what their starter did today."
Baylor had an opportunity to break the scoreless tie in the fourth when Max Muncy was hit by a pitch and Josh Ludy walked to give the Bears a pair of runners with no outs. Cal Towey's first bunt went just foul and likely would've been an infield single, and he popped up his second attempt for the first out.
Porter got a strikeout and a popout to escape that inning, and he worked around Landis Ware's two-out double in the fifth that was the Bears' first hit of the day.
Bunting's homer in the sixth gave Cal a 1-0 lead, but the Bears had a chance to respond in their next trip to the plate when Jake Miller led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Steve DalPorto hit a grounder to third that forced Miller to hold, and reliever Kevin Miller struck out Ware to keep Cal in front.
Dillon Newman worked a scoreless seventh inning on the mound for the Bears, but Cal broke the game open with a seven-run outburst in the eighth that started when Towey dropped a fly ball in right field for a two-base error. Devon Rodriguez's hit a RBI single, and after a sacrifice bunt, Bunting hit his second homer of the game to put Cal in front 5-0.
Justin Jones picked up his first save of the season by pitching the final 2.0 innings for Cal, allowing only Miller's two-out single in the ninth. Jones threw 93 pitches in 6.1 innings of relief to get the win against Alcorn State in Saturday's elimination game.
Miller had half of Baylor's four hits in a 2-for-4 effort, while Bunting went 3-for-3, with two runs and four RBI to lead Cal at the plate.
Baylor will get one more shot at its first Regional championship since 2005 when the teams meet again at 6 p.m. Monday night. Smith said Baylor will likely start senior right-handed pitcher Jon Ringenberg on the mound. If he takes the ball, it'll be the third straight season Ringenberg has started an elimination game in a Regional.