When is a home run not a home run?
Nathan Manning began Sunday as the Pac-12's leading hitter, and Cal's sophomore left fielder thought he had hit a grand slam for his first career home run in the third inning of the Golden Bears' 9-1 victory over No. 22 Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday afternoon.
The specifications fit the definition of a grand slam. Bases were loaded, and Manning hit a ball over the right-center field fence. That's a grand slam, right?
Well, no. Manning inadvertently passed Cal baserunner Darren Baker while rounding second. So when Manning arrived home celebrating what was believed to be a four-run blast, the umpires noted the blunder. Officially, Manning's hit was ruled a three-run single, which nonetheless proved to be the big hit of the game since it gave the Bears a 4-0 lead. Manning was ruled out on the play, but that was the first out of the inning.
Manning began the day hitting .453, tops in the conference, and his 1-for-4 day dropped him to .436, but he still leads the Pac-12 in hitting.
A Cal hitter did hit an official grand slam later in Sunday's game, though, as Dylan Beavers hit a home run with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. It was Beavers' ninth homer of the season, leaving him one long ball behind Pac-12 leader Brock Jones of Stanford.
Cal's winning pitcher Sunday was Paulshawn Pasqualotto, who gave up just four hits and no runs in his six innings, improving his record to 4-3.
And even though the Bears lost two of the three games at Arizona over the weekend, Cal finds itself in the middle of a wide-open conference title race.
Stanford and Oregon are tied for first place at 6-3. Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State are all 7-5, and next comes Cal at 5-4, tied with USC, just one game behind first-place Stanford and Oregon.
Preseason favorite UCLA is right behind at 6-6.
The Bears (17-13 overall) play at Saint Mary's on Tuesday then play an important three-game series at Oregon State Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Cover photo of Nathan Manning by Robert Edwards/KLC Fotos
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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