Bears’ ace Tyson Ross threw seven solid innings to help the Bears defeat the Huskies on Friday.
I finally made it out to my first game of the Cal baseball season the other day. I’ve totally been meaning to go several times before, but something always came up. However, as if the prospect of spending a sunny afternoon watching baseball (with CBKWit’s delightful company, no less) wasn’t enticement enough, we managed to snag some free hot dogs and ice cream! (Don’t ask me how, I don’t even know. All I can say is that I was offered free food, and I rarely question such things.)
Now, while any day watching baseball is better than a day at the office, I must personally recommend, if you can, skipping out on a Friday to catch the Bears’ #1 starter (and pre-season All-American) Tyson Ross. After Friday’s 10-5 win over Washington, Ross is now 6-1 on the year, sporting an ERA of 3.56 and 41 strikeouts in 43 innings. Opponents are batting a paltry .231 against him. Catch him while you can; though he’s only a junior, at least one mock draft has him being taken in the first round of the upcoming MLB draft. I certainly expect this to be his final year as an amateur.
Ross winds and delivers. Kind of a funky delivery, if you ask me. He kind of slings the ball towards the plate. Whatever, it’s plenty effective.
So how’d he look? On Friday against the University of Washington, he looked good, but not great. Certainly good enough to get another win behind the Bears’ potent offense, but definitely short of ‘lights out’. Perhaps, once he was given a big lead, he simply dialed it down and went on cruise control. He only gave up one hit through three innings, but then, after being staked to a 5-run lead, gave up a run in each of the next four. Yes, he picked up five strikeouts on the day, but he sure looked hittable to me. Not that I personally would have a prayer of hitting off him, of course, but UW’s hitters looked pretty comfortable. Lots of loud outs and well-hit balls right at defenders. It was enough, but I definitely wouldn’t call his performance ‘dominant’.
In fact, the most impressive pitching performance of the day came from the Bears’ closer, Matt Gorgen. THe Huskies staged a rally in the top of the 8th, pushing across a run to pull within 9-5, then loading the bases with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. In comes Gorgen from the bullpen, who gets the next Washington hitter to line the first pitch to the first baseman, nearly catching the runner off base and ending the inning right there. Gorgen then strikes out the next hitter on four pitches, ending the threat. The ninth inning was a breeze, and Gorgen picked up his 7th save.
Closer Matt Gorgen retired all 5 batters he faced in stifling the Husky rally and nailing down the save.
Still, this year’s edition of the Bears is not built on pitching. No, the Bears will go pretty much as far as their hitting will take them. Ross gives them a great chance to open every series with a win, and if they can merely split the weekend games, they’ll win every series from here on out. This year, they’re hitting at a brisk .318 clip, with 55 homers in 38 games, scoring over 7 runs per game. That’s good, because although the Bears are 26-10-2 this year, they’re just 2-6 in games where they score 4 or fewer runs.
David Cooper, a transfer from CSU Fullerton, leads the Bears with 16 homers and is second with a .392 average. Here, he singles in the sixth inning.
All in all, nice victory for the Bears. If you haven’t made it down to Evans Diamond yet this year, you’re missing a great way to spend an afternoon and a really, really good college baseball team, Cal’s best in years.
UW’s Kyle Conley strikes out to end the game.
Another victory, 10-5 over the Huskies. High-fives all around!