For the last month, no pitcher has been more reliable for the Washington baseball team than junior Jordan Jones. Entering Friday, the Huskies had won four of his previous five starts, with the only loss coming in an eight-inning gem he threw against No. 1 UCLA.
So when the Washington ace started dealing against California, it wasn’t much of a surprise.
“I was impressed by the way Jordan pitched,” head coach Lindsay Meggs said. “I thought he did everything he could do to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win.”
Jones (4-6) went 5.2 innings against the Golden Bears (32-18, 17-11 Pac-12) on Friday, allowing four runs and four hits. He also fanned eight, including reigning Golden Spikes winner Andrew Vaughn twice. Jones also grabbed sole ownership of sixth all-time in strikeouts, passing former teammate Noah Bremer.
But just like Jones’ outing against the Bruins, it wasn’t enough as the Dawgs lost to the Bears, 3-2. Friday’s result extends Washington’s losing streak to five games and also drops the UW to 4-1 against Cal over the past two seasons, even though the Huskies (28-24, 12-17 Pac-12) led for the first five innings and outhit the Bears, 6-4.
“It’s always tough, especially when you give up a lead late in the game,” Jones said. “You always want to be able to make the perfect pitch, but it just takes one to give it up. I feel fine after this outing because I know I gave everything I had. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way that you want it but you always have to compete.”
The teams exchanged blows early, with the Huskies grabbing the lead in the second after an errant throw by Bears shortstop Sam Wezniak. A home run by Cal freshman Hance Smith tied the game in the top of the third before Washington reclaimed the lead in the bottom half.
Cal re-tied the game when Wezniak doubled home a run to make up for his error, but Washington drew a bases loaded walk to take its third lead of the game in the fifth.
But the top of the sixth, with two outs, two on, and Jones nearing 90 pitches, the lack of insurance caught up with the Huskies. Cal sophomore John Lagattuta launched a ball deep to the base of the wall in right. Wezniak and junior Korey Lee scored after senior Mason Cerrillo bobbled the ball, and the Bears took their first lead of the game, 4-3.
“I should have gotten (Jones) out of there before he gives up the double to the lefty,” Meggs said. “That’s my fault, that’s the only mistake he really made other than the home run all game long, and I was really impressed with him.”
That was all either team would get as both bullpens clamped down. Cal reliever Mitchell Scott (1-2) picked up the win for his punchout to escape the bases loaded jam in the fifth while junior Rogelio Reyes picked up the save. For Washington, the combination of sophomore Jack Enger, junior Chris Micheles, and sophomore Stevie Emanuels pitched a hitless final three frames to end to keep the Huskies close until the end.
Though Cal threw six different pitchers, Washington just couldn’t find any offense. Sophomore Braiden Ward was the only Husky with a multi-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a run scored, and a stolen base.
Washington will try to win its final game at the Diamond on Montlake on Saturday at 12 p.m. The Huskies will honor their seniors before the game at 11:40 a.m.
Reach reporter Andy Yamashita at email@example.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita
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