EUGENE, Ore. – California’s Justin Jones gave an incredible effort on the mound, and for the second straight game, No. 21 Oregon left the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth game as the Ducks fell 4-3 on Friday night at PK Park.
Oregon has now lost two consecutive one-run games, and falls to 37-21 on the season and 12-13 in Pac-10 play. The Golden Bears end a seven-game slide and improve to 28-22 on the season and 12-13 in league action.
Cal and Oregon are now tied for fifth in the Pac-10 Conference standings heading into the second game of the series tomorrow.
Jones improved to 10-5 on the season, as the freshman lefty tossed seven innings and allowed two runs – only one earned – on six hits, one walk and one error while striking out six.
Oregon sophomore left-hander Tyler Anderson (7-4) was credited with the loss after allowing four runs on six hits and one walk in six and 1/3 innings on the mound. Anderson struck out seven and retired nine consecutive batters to start the game, but ran into trouble in sixth inning.
The loss marked Anderson’s first since April 1, when he threw a complete game, holding then No. 1 Arizona State to one run in the Ducks’ 1-0 loss.
Oregon and Cal each totaled seven hits, but the Ducks stranded seven base runners compared to four for the Golden Bears.
Freshman Andrew Mendenhall had three of Oregon’s seven hits – a double and two single - tying a career high for the native of Kennewick, Wash. KC Serna finished his night 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
California took a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth after Mitch Delfino nailed a one-out single up the middle. Tony Renda then drew a full count walk, putting runners on first and second. Anderson coaxed a pop out in foul territory from Brian Guinn, but then Mark Canha drove a two-out, RBI single into left as Delfino crossed the plate to break the scoreless tie.
A wild pitch moved Renda to third and Canha to second, setting up Chadd Krist’s two-run double that was driven down the left field line as the Golden Bears took a 3-0 advantage.
The Ducks responded in the bottom of the sixth as Serna led things off with a single to center. Two at-bats later, Jack Marder drove a one-out single to right and Serna took off for third. The relay throw from Cal shortstop Marcus Semien went wide of Delfino at third, allowing Serna to score on the error and Marder to move to third.
But California responded in the top of the seventh as Chad Bunting sent Anderson’s first pitch of the inning over the wall in left to put Cal ahead 4-2. Anderson retired Danny Oh for the first out of the seventh, but surrendered a one-out single to Semien before his night was ended and right-hander Joey Housey was called in from the bullpen.
Housey retired Delfino on a sacrifice bunt, and struck out Renda to end the inning. He then returned to the mound in the eighth, striking out the side.
Cal closer Erik Johnson came on in the bottom eighth for the save, but struggled with his control early. Johnson walked Serna before Danny Pulfer doubled to right as the Ducks had runners on second and third. Marder struck out swinging for Johnson’s first out, but a wild pitch allowed Serna to score and Pulfer to move to third as the Ducks closed 4-3.
Johnson recovered and struck out Eddie Rodriguez, before walking pinch-hitter Steven Packard. With runners on the corners and two outs, Mitch Karraker came to the plate to pinch-hit for Oregon, but Johnson recorded his third strike out to keep Cal’s 4-3 lead intact.
Housey retired his sixth consecutive batter in the top of the ninth when Devin Rodriguez grounded out to short, but Bunting singled to left and the Ducks brought left-hander Christian Jones out of the bullpen.
Housey held the Golden Bears scoreless on one hit while striking out four and facing just one batter over the minimum in two innings on the mound.
Bunting moved to second on a passed ball, but Christian Jones coaxed Oh to fly out to left for the second out of the inning. Oregon brought Scott McGough out of the bullpen to strike out Semien for the third out of the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth J.J. Altobelli reached first on fielding error from Delfino at third, and moved to second on Mendenhall’s sacrifice bunt. But with the tying run at second and only one out, Johnson got Marcus Piazzisi to pop up, and Serna to strike out swinging to end the game.
Johnson earned his first save of the season allowing one run on one hit and two walks in two innings of work.
The second game of the series will begin at 6 p.m., Saturday from PK Park. Bleacher seats for the entire California-Oregon series are available for $5. Saturday’s game will also be televised by the Oregon Sports Network on Comcast SportsNet Northwest.
NOTES: Oregon left-hander Tyler Anderson suffered his first loss since April 1…Anderson’s 101 strikeouts are a new Oregon single-season record…the Ducks are now 4-11 in one-run games this season…seven of Oregon’s 13 Pac-10 losses have been by one run.
Movie Night - The Sandlot
All children ages 12 and under will be admitted to Saturday’s game for free when they bring their glove to the game and present it at the ticket office window. All fans are encouraged to stay after the game to watch The Sandlot on the PK Park video board. Popcorn will also be free on Saturday at the park.
A reminder that single-game tickets are still available. Duck fans can purchase tickets online by clicking HERE, over the phone by calling 1-800-WEB-FOOT
Sunday vs. California • 1 p.m.
Fan Appreciation Party at PK Park
The first 750 fans through the gates will receive the third and final set of Oregon baseball cards presented by PEPSI. Prior to the game, Oregon will honor its senior class playing its final game at PK Park.
Fans are invited to stay after Sunday’s game for a postgame party on the field which will include an autograph session with the Oregon baseball team.