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Cal Sweeps Utah, Earns No. 6 Seed in Pac-12 Baseball Tournament

Bears will face UCLA in their first game of the conference tournament on Wednesday in Scottsdale

Dom Souto, who began the day as the Pac-12's leading hitter, knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Cal its sixth straight win, a 9-8 victory over Utah on Saturday.

It also gave Cal the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.  The Bears will open tournament play against No. 3 seed UCLA on Wednesday in a game that will start at about 8:30 p.m. in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Cal and Arizona State began the day tied for seventh place in the Pac-12, a half game behind Washington. But Arizona State lost to Washington State on Saturday while Cal won, lifting the Bears (28-25, 14-16 Pac-12) into a tie with Washington for sixth place. (The Huskies played a nonconference game against Northern Colorado Saturday.) Cal earned the tiebreaker with the Huskies because the Bears won two of three games against Washington during the regular season.

The Pac-12 tournament is split into two divisions, much like the College World Series. Cal, UCLA, Oregon State and Washington are in Division Two, while No. 1 seed Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon and Arizona are in Division One. The winner of each division in double-elimination play will meet in the Pac-12 championship game on Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Cal must win the tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, while Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA seem to be assured at-large berths to the NCAA tournament, and Arizona and Oregon are good bets to receive at-large bids as well.

Cal is probably in the tougher division, with UCLA and Oregon State. The Beavers are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, although they are likely to drop a few spots in this week's rankings.

However, the Bears are feeling pretty good about their chances.  Cal came into this final series against Utah needing to win two of the three games to get into the Pac-12 tournament.  The Bears ended up winning all three and are riding a six-game winning streak in which they outscored their opponents 82-16.

Souto, the Bears' No. 9 hitter, started the day hitting .376, one point better than Stanford's Brett Barrera. Both went 1-for-4 Saturday, but Souto's one hit was more important, because it came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a runner at third. Souto is now batting .372.

Also, Cal's Nathan Martorella went 3-for-5 to lift his average to .344, and Rodney Green Jr. went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Here are the opening-day matchups in the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday:

DIVISION ONE

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9 a.m. -- No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 5 Arizona

Approximately 1:45 p.m. -- No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 8 Arizona State

DIVISION TWO

4:45 p.m. -- No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 7 Washington

Approximately 8:30 p.m. -- No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 6 Cal

Click here for the entire Pac-12 baseball tournament bracket and schedule 

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Cover photo of Nathan Manning

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

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