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Bears Walk Off to Season Opening Win Over Pacific

February 19, 2021
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BERKELEY, CA -The skies cleared in Berkeley just in time to usher in the new season as the Bears took the field in their season opener against Pacific at Evans Diamond this evening. And just in the nick of time, the Bears did just enough at the plate to claw out a come-from-behind 4-3 walk-off victory over Pacific.

“I thought our guys did a great job of keeping the same approach the whole game,” said Cal head coach Mike Neu. “They remained focused and didn’t panic when we fell behind after we had some excitement with Dylan Beavers’ home run early.

“I thought that outside of one inning – defensively and on the mound – we did a great job as a whole. Our guys stayed in the moment and got it done in the late innings. We started to get guys on base and finally broke through in the ninth (inning). It was big to get the win.”

As Neu referenced, the Bears got out of the gate quickly, with leadoff man Darren Baker singling in the Bears’ first at bat and Dylan Beavers going deep to center field to put the Bears up right away, 2-0.

Their bats went dormant for most of the nine innings after Pacific got to junior pitcher Sam Stountenborough for three runs in the third after two stellar innings to start the game from starter Ian Villers, normally a reliever for the Bears. It was expected that staff ace Grant Holman would start the opener but the junior righty was not 100% for the game.

Stoutenborough and the Bears staff settled down ofter the rough third inning and held Pacific at bay while barely showing signs of life themselves from the plate until late.

Reliever Nick Proctor was especially impressive, throwing 4 1/3 innings of hitless ball, striking out five for the win.

“Nick kept us in the game and eventually won us the game,” said Neu. “We didn’t implement our original game plan on the mound today, so we needed someone to step up in that spot and he did it. Nick had a great outing. We were getting quick outs defensively with him on the mound and that made a big difference.”

In the 9th inning, the Bears loaded the bases on Pacific closer Nick Swanson on an Keshawn Ogans HBP, a Baker single, an intentional walk to Beavers, followed by a game-tying double play grounder by Quentin Selma, plating Ogans for the tie.

Enter CF Connor Mack, who singled to center with two outs for the winning run, knocking in Baker for the walk-off victory.

“I thought Connor did a great job tonight,” said Neu. “He had the three hits, but also made a couple great plays defensively in right field.

“He came to the plate in a big moment and got it done – that’s what you want to see out of one of your older guys. It was exciting to see him in that spot and rise to the occasion. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, that’s a big spot. I’m happy to see him come through.”

The Bears will face off against Pacific tommorrow at Evans at 5 pm before moving to Pacific for the final two games in Stockton at Pacific’s Klein Family Field.

Related:

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Bears Walk Off to Season Opening Win Over Pacific

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