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Baseball 'Big Series' Is Just That For Bears

May 13, 2021
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Cal baseball has a lot at stake in the four games this weekend, beginning Friday night. 

Like the whole season.

The Bears (24-21, 10-11 Pac-12) can give a boost to their flickering playoff hopes, or they can cost themselves any chance at extending their season. A sweep would do them a world of good, taking three games would be a help, a split leaves them gasping. If they get swept, well, see you in January.

The fact the games are against Stanford adds a little bit of spice to the mix.

The first three games are slated for Evans Diamond. The fourth, a non-league affair, will be in Palo Alto.

“Every series is big, and you want to put yourself in a good spot. We are not in a great spot but we’re also not in the worst spot either,” head coach Mike Neu said in an interview. “We’re in a place where we can make up some ground. We have an opportunity in the next three weeks but it starts on Friday, for sure.”

Twelfth-ranked Stanford (27-10, 12-6) won’t be easy, but then the Bears travel to UCLA (28-15, 14-10) for three next weekend and close out the regular season with three at home against Oregon (30-11, 14-7). 

The Bears, who had been inconsistent all season, seemed to have things straightened out earlier this month. They swept three games against Washington (April 30-May 2) in Seattle, then came home to win a non-league game with a major come-from-behind, nine runs down rally and win over SJSU and the opener of a series against ASU. Last Saturday they seemed headed for a sixth straight win, leading the Sun Devils 3-1 after six innings and pitcher Sean Sullivan cruising.

Then the wheels came off, Cal lost that one 6-3, and were stifled on Sunday.

“We lost the last two games of the series. We were pretty hot going into that,” Neu said. “Having won five in a row going into Saturday, we were close to winning that series. That was the most frustrating thing about last weekend.

“But I think we’re playing a lot better in general. Hopefully, we can turn the page on the end of Saturday’s game and Sunday and give ourselves a chance to win this weekend.”

What success the Bears have had is mostly due to their pitching. They are fourth in the league both in ERA (3.87) and opponents’ batting average (.247). 

“We haven’t had our full strength of pitching the whole year,” Neu said., “We had some injuries, but I think some guys have really stepped up and given us opportunities to win. That’s been really consistent for us. Even the games we lost we had a chance to win because our pitching has kept us in it.”

Robert Edwards/KLC fotos
Neu checks lineup with umpire
 

The exception to an inconsistent offense is second baseman Darren Baker, who leads the Bears with a .333 average. He has been above .300 virtually all season and has heated up recently. In the last seven games he is 13-for-27.

“He has been probably our most consistent offensive player,” Neu said. “And he’s been really good on the bases. Every time he gets on he is a threat to steal, he brings that element,”

Baker has 24 steals and has been caught just four times.

“Plus he’s a really solid defender at second base,” Neu said. “He is just a really well-rounded player.”

Going back four years, Cal has won just two of the last seven games against the Cardinal. This year’s edition seems to be a typical Stanford team.

They have a really balanced team. Their lineup is really solid,” Neu said. “ They have swung the bat really well. They cooled off a little bit as of late offensively, but they have really consistent lineup one through nine that puts some pressure on you. They and put themselves in positon to score with that lineup and they play really good defense.”

Notes

  • Stanford won a non-league game over Cal on April 6.
  • The game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunda and 6 p..m Monday at Stanford.
  • Right-hander Josh White, who starts Friday night for Cal, leads the Pac-12 with a 1.55 ERA.
  • Baker is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, given annually to an NCAA Division I senior with notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
  • Dylan Beavers is tied for the Pac-12 lead in home runs with 13. Cal’s 44 homers as a team rank third in the conference.

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Pac-12 announces George Kliavkoff as new Commissioner

Discussion from...

Baseball 'Big Series' Is Just That For Bears

1,100 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by 63Gaucho
calbearsfan
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As Jim Mora said as coach of Indianapolis, Playoffs?? Are you know doing me??? Don't talk about Playoffs.
Substitute NCAA's for playoffs
BearBones
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After losing the first game of the series 9-2, the Bears came back strong defeating Stanford yesterday 5-4 and today 9-5. The last game will be at 6 pm tomorrow at Stanford. Go Bears!

coachdeke
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Tomorrow's game will be a non conference game. I listened to some of the game on KALX and watched some on the Cal feed.
Both are embarrassing representations of the the program as well as the Athletic Department. The resolution is constantly changing on the feed and the announcer on KALX didn't have a clue about baseball.
Baller4
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coachdeke said:

Tomorrow's game will be a non conference game. I listened to some of the game on KALX and watched some on the Cal feed.
Both are embarrassing representations of the the program as well as the Athletic Department. The resolution is constantly changing on the feed and the announcer on KALX didn't have a clue about baseball.
I totally agree!!!! Ever since the program is privately funded, this falls under Neu responsibility, at least the stream and getting someone to announce. Not much can be done about the radio broadcast, but it has always been pathetic when it comes to getting someone who knows about baseball on the radio!
coachdeke
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Baller4 said:

coachdeke said:

Tomorrow's game will be a non conference game. I listened to some of the game on KALX and watched some on the Cal feed.
Both are embarrassing representations of the the program as well as the Athletic Department. The resolution is constantly changing on the feed and the announcer on KALX didn't have a clue about baseball.
I totally agree!!!! Ever since the program is privately funded, this falls under Neu responsibility, at least the stream and getting someone to announce. Not much can be done about the radio broadcast, but it has always been pathetic when it comes to getting someone who knows about baseball on the radio!

"Privately funded" has little to do with it. The decline of media relations and quality control by the department are culprits and need to be addressed. There's not enough attention to detail and few who would even know what to look for.
Baller4
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coachdeke said:

Baller4 said:

coachdeke said:

Tomorrow's game will be a non conference game. I listened to some of the game on KALX and watched some on the Cal feed.
Both are embarrassing representations of the the program as well as the Athletic Department. The resolution is constantly changing on the feed and the announcer on KALX didn't have a clue about baseball.
I totally agree!!!! Ever since the program is privately funded, this falls under Neu responsibility, at least the stream and getting someone to announce. Not much can be done about the radio broadcast, but it has always been pathetic when it comes to getting someone who knows about baseball on the radio!

"Privately funded" has little to do with it. The decline of media relations and quality control by the department are culprits and need to be addressed. There's not enough attention to detail and few who would even know what to look for.
Decline is an understatement. However, the head of the program should be the one paying attention to detail, department should be able to get the head of the program what he needs, but that is if the details are being paid attention to!
63Gaucho
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I asked my gold standard rep about the terrible quality of our live streaming along with not having an announcer calling the game, something every away game live stream manages to have. The rep told me our baseball streaming is managed by Learfield Sports not the baseball program, so don't put this on the Coach. In any case a really bad look for the University and the program.

Props to the players and coaches for taking 2 of 3 from the 12 ranked Furd. Good weekend for the Bears.
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