BERKELEY, Calif. – California freshman Michael Theofanopoulos had just eight at-bats heading into Friday’s series opener, but he drove the first pitch offered from Oregon reliever Kellen Moen
down the right field line as the walk-off double scored the game-winning run.
The 20th-ranked Bears (25-13, 10-6) snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating Oregon, 2-1, in the series opener on Friday afternoon, while the Ducks (21-19, 4-9) have now dropped two in a row.
With the game even at one run apiece, Oregon right-hander Scott McGough
had runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth with one out after a leadoff walk was issued to Devon Rodriguez and Dwight Tanaka singled.
The Ducks went to Moen while the Bears brought Theofanopoulos to the plate. The rookie took Moen’s first pitch and drove it down the right field line as Mitch Delfino scored the game-winning run.
McGough (1-5) was credited with the loss after allowing one run on one hit and one walk.
The game was a pitchers’ duel between two starters who both delivered spectacular outings.
Oregon left-hander Tyler Anderson recorded the 10th quality start of his season in his 11th start, allowing one run on six hits and one walk. In seven and 2/3 innings on the hill, Anderson dealt eight strikeouts.
The southpaw retired the first two batters of the bottom of the eighth before surrendering a two-out single to Tony Renda. McGough then took over on the hill to strike out Chadd Krist for the final out of the eighth.
Cal’s Erik Johnson was commanding on the hill as well, holding the Ducks to one run on four hits and three walks while striking out 11 in eight innings of work. After the top of the fourth, Johnson issued one walk and surrendered a double before Kyle Porter took over in the top of the ninth.
Porter (4-0) picked up the win as he retired the Oregon side in order in the top of the ninth to set up Theofanopoulos’ walk-off.
Anderson got himself out of jams in both the sixth and the seventh to give Oregon the opportunity to grasp the lead.
Oregon had that chance in the eighth as Danny Pulfer
led off the eighth with a double down the left field line, but Johnson struck out Brett Thomas
before Stefan Sabol
’s groundout moved Pulfer to third. With two outs and the go-ahead run 90 feet away, Johnson coaxed Aaron Jones
into a groundout to end the top of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Anderson issued Krist a leadoff walk before Rodriguez singled through the right side to put runners on first and second with no outs. Delfino, who was 2-for-2 leading into the at-bat, sacrificed the runners to second and third. Tanaka then pinch-hit and was plunked by Anderson to load the bases.
Pinch hitter Paul Toboni drew a full count and fouled off a pitch before Anderson dealt his eighth strikeout of the day. Austin Booker, who was 2-for-2 approaching the plate with the bases and loaded, hit into a fielder’s choice as Tanaka was out at second.
Booker also led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to left field and was sacrificed to third by Vince Bruno as Cal had the go-ahead run just 90 feet away with only one out on the scoreboard. Anderson recovered to strike out both Marcus Semien and Tony Renda.
Oregon stranded two runners each in both the third and fourth innings as Johnson recovered in both innings to strike out UO’s final two batters. After five innings on the mound, Johnson had dealt nine strikeouts and had fanned five of the last six batters he had faced heading to the top of the sixth.
Oregon attacked Johnson early in the top if the first as the right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Pulfer. He moved to second on a sac bunt and to third on an infield that hit was headed to the outfield before taking a deflection off Delfino’s glove and the third base umpire. With runners on the corners and one out, Jones plated Pulfer with a sacrifice fly to right.
Delfino evened the game in the bottom of the second, taking a two-out offering over the wall in left. It was Delfino’s fourth home run of the season and just the second round tripper surrendered by Anderson in 2011.
Booker and Delfino led Cal with two hits apiece, while Pulfer singled and was issued a walk to reach base twice for Oregon.
Oregon and California will play the second game of this weekend’s series at 1 p.m., Saturday from Evans Diamond.
has reached safely in 26 consecutive games and has recorded hits in 23 of those contests...the Ducks have started at least four freshmen in their last seven games…Oregon is 9-7 when starting at least four freshmen on the year…the Ducks are 6-5 when Anderson pitches and 3-5 when an opponent hits a home run…Oregon is 3-9 in one-run games.