Feb. 3, 2001
BERKELEY, Calif. - The California baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, highlighted by freshman pinch-hitter Noah Jackson's bases loaded one-out RBI single down the right field line, to defeat Santa Clara, 4-3, Saturday at Evans Diamond. Jackson, a redshirt freshman transfer from Arkansas, is the godson of San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker. The Bears improved to 2-0, while the Broncos fell to 0-3.
Cal was down, 3-2, entering the bottom of the ninth after the Broncos Pat Peavey hit a solo home run against the Bears David Cash in the top of the ninth. Cal was able to mount its comeback when freshman pinch hitter Brian Horwitz led off the ninth with a single to left field off of Santa Clara reliever A.J. Ampi. After Rob Meyer sacrifice bunt advanced Horwitz to second, senior left fielder Curtis Johnson hit a single down the third base line, scoring Horwitz and advancing to second. Santa Clara then intentionally walked freshman pinch hitter James Holder. With Johnson on second and Holder on first, Johnson stoled third base. The Broncos then intentionally walked David Weiner, loading the bases and setting up Noah Jackson's heroics.
David Cash ended up earning the win for the Bears (1.0 innings, two hits, one run, one strikeout). But, the pitching star for Cal was junior right-hander Ryan Atkinson, who made his first appearance since the 1999 season after sitting out all of the 2000 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Atkinson went 7.0 innings with three hits, two runs, no walks and six strikeouts. Senior Andrew Sproul pitched a perfect eighth inning for the Bears before Cash came in in the ninth.
The losing pitcher for Santa Clara was Ampi (0.2 innings, three hits, two runs, two walks).
Cal had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI double by sophomore catcher John Baker off of Bronco starter Kellan McConnell (5.0 innings, six hits, one run, one walk, three strikeouts). Santa Clara responded with two runs in the third on back-to-back doubles by Matt Miller and Joe Diefenderfer and an RBI by Jack Headley. The Bears were able to tie the game, 2-2, in the seventh inning on a lead-off homer by senior right fielder Rob Meyer. Meyer also had an outstanding defensive play in the top of the ninth when he threw out Headley at first base after Headley had led-off the ninth with a single and had rounded first base too far.
"The key for us today was Ryan Atkinson giving us seven strong innings," said Cal coach David Esquer. "Santa Clara did a good job of holding us down offensively, and when you do that, you are capable of beating anyone. We did have some guys come off the bench and produce. Brian Horwitz and Noah Jackson got big hits for us, as well as Curtis Johnson getting a key hit and a stolen base."
Santa Clara: Peavey solo home run in the ninth.
Cal: Meyer solo home run in the seventh.