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Cal Loses Late-Night Game to Oregon State in Pac-12 Baseball Tournament

Golden Bears face UCLA in an elimination game on Friday

For the second straight day Cal played a game in the Pac-12 baseball tournament that ended after 1 a.m., but this time the Bears did not come out on the winning end.

Second-seeded Oregon State, ranked No. 3 in the country in this week's USA Today coaches poll, defeated Cal 3-1 in a game that ended at 1:16.a.m. Friday morning in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The loss to the Beavers (43-13) ended Cal's seven-game winning streak, and the Bears will face UCLA again in an elimination game on Friday at approximately 7 p.m.

The Golden Bears (29-26) beat UCLA 4-1 in their opening game of the tournament, and UCLA stayed alive in the double-elimination event by beating and eliminating Washington 14-8 Thursday afternoon. Oregon State is 2-0 in the tournament and will have a day off Friday. The Beavers then will meet the survivor of the Cal-UCLA game on Saturday, and the Cal-UCLA winner would have to beat Oregon State twice that day to get to Sunday's championship game.

Oregon State and third-seeded UCLA are both expected to earn berths in the NCAA tournament regardless of how they fare in the conference tournament, but Cal has to win this Pac-12 tournament to get into the NCAA event.

So Cal now must win four games in a row to get to the NCAA tournament.

After scoring 82 runs over their final six regular-season games, the Bears have been limited to five runs over their two conference tournament games. And Oregon State ace Cooper Hjerpe (10-2) and reliever Reid Sebby held the Bears to just one run. The Bears have not been shut out in a game this season, and this was just the third time they were limited to a single run.

The Bears collected six hits and a walk, and they had plenty of opportunities, but Cal left eight runners on base.

Cal right-hander Steven Zobac (4-4) got the start and continued to pitch well. He had allowed no runs in five of his previous seven appearances and had a 1.35 ERA in that seven-game span. He held the Beavers without a run for the first three innings, running his scoreless-innings streak to 16.

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Oregon State jumped on top in the top of the fourth inning when Greg Fuchs hit a sacrifice fly, but Cal freshman Caleb Lomavita tied it 1-1 by hitting a home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Beavers went back in front by scoring twice in the top of the fifth, and the rally started with two outs and no one on base. Wade Meckler put Oregon State ahead 2-1 with an RBI triple, and the next batter, Garret Forrester, delivered a run-scoring single to make it 3-1.

That ended the night for Zobac, who went 4 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out two. He was replaced by Ian May, who struck out Pac-12 player of the year Jacob Melton to end the inning.

Hjerpe lasted five innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk, and Sebby went the final four innings, allowing just one hit and no runs.

Cal's Nathan Martorella went 0-for-4, ending his 19-game hitting streak. Rodney Green Jr. and Hance Smith had two hits apiece for the Bears.

In Division One results, Arizona State knocked Oregon out of the tournament with a 4-2 victory, and the Sun Devils will play a 3 p.m. elimination game on Friday against Arizona, which lost to top-seeded Stanford 15-8. The Cardinal are 2-0 and will have Friday off.

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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