Feb. 20, 1998
BERKELEY, Calif. - The University of California baseball team dropped another close game, this time 8-7 to No. 8 ranked Arizona State Friday at Evans Diamond. The Bears have now gone 1-4 in one-run games on the season and have been involved in one-run games in their last three contests.
Cal goes to 2-7-1 on the season and 0-3 in the Pacific-10 Conference Southern Division. Arizona State improves to 11-3 overall and 1-0 in league play.
In a game in which the lead changed six times, the Sun Devils finally won when they scored two runs in the eighth inning off of Bear freshman reliever Ryan Atkinson. Atkinson got a groundout to start the eighth and struck out Richy Leon, but Leon reached first on a wild pitch on the third strike. Then catcher Greg Halvorson chopped a grounder to Cal third baseman Preston Sharp. Sharp's throw to second baseman Xavier Nady was dropped, allowing runners on first and second. Michael Collins followed with and RBI single to left field, scoring Leon and tieing the game, 7-7. Willie Bloomquist next had the game-winning RBI with a single up the middle, scoring Halvorson.
Atkinson falls to 0-1 on the season, pitching 2.7 innings with two hits, one earned run, no walks and two strikeouts.
The winning pitcher for the Arizona State was reliever Chuck Crumpton (1-0), who pitched the final 4.0 innings with two hits, one earned run two walks and four strikeouts.
Top hitters for the Sun Devils were Bloomquist, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI; Collins, 2-for-3 with an RBI and Andrew Beinbrink had a two-run double in the third. Leon had a solo home run in the fourth inning off of Cal starter Jason Dennis.
For the Bears, a top hitter was sophomore center fielder Curtis Johnson, who went 3-fot-4 with a double. Jason Hill (2-for-3, double, RBI) and David Sark (2-for-5, double, two RBI) had two hits apiece. Cal outhit Arizona State, 11-10.
The two teams will play the second game of the three-game series, Saturday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.
ASU: Leon, solo home run in the fourth.