The 2012 college baseball season has finally arrived. Over the weekend, the No. 22 California Golden Bears hosted the Pacific Tigers and swept their opponents right out of town, winning all three games handily.
On Friday, left-handed pitcher Justin Jones returned from a biceps strain that forced him to miss Cal's appearance in the 2011 College World Series. His first start of 2012 was as solid as the team could have hoped for. He threw 5.0 innings with four hits, one run, one walk and six strikeouts. The run was the only one that the Bears would allow, as Tony Renda, Andrew Knapp and Chad Bunting collected two hits each in an easy 9-1 Opening Day victory.
The second game of the series took place in Stockton on Saturday, as a four-run fourth inning resulted in a 6-3 win for Cal. The Golden Bears saw their second strong pitching return in as many days, as senior right-hander Matt Flemer made his first start since his freshman season in 2009. Flemer ended up throwing 8.0 solid innings, giving up eight hits and three runs, while allowing no walks and picking up three strikeouts. Cal's four runs in the decisive fourth inning included a two-run homer from first baseman Andrew Knapp. Catcher Chadd Krist hit his 48th career double in the ninth inning, tying him with current St. Louis Cardinals star Allen Craig for 7th on the all-time Cal doubles list.
Back in Berkeley on Sunday, Cal completed the sweep with a 9-3 win fueled by another big inning. The Golden Bears snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including RBI hits from Derek Campbell, Darrel Matthews, Chadd Krist and Andrew Knapp. Krist's RBI hit was his 49th career double, bumping him up to sixth on the Cal all-time list and tying him with Reid Neumann. The double capped a three-hit day for Krist, who is a doubles machine; his 27 doubles in 2011 led the Pac-10.
The Bears will next travel to Long Beach State for another three-game series against the 49ers, Feb. 24-26.
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