- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

OMAHA, Neb. — California coach David Esquer called on all hands to save his baseball program, and he’s doing the same to keep his team playing in the College World Series.

Freshman utilityman Derek Campbell drove in two runs out of the No. 9 spot, closer Matt Flemer pitched three scoreless innings in his longest outing of the year and the Golden Bears kept up their improbable postseason run with a 7-3 victory over Texas A&M.

“I’m happy our guys kind of grinded it out, because that’s kind of how we do it. We don’t do it easy,” Esquer said.

The Bears (38-22) won their first CWS game in three appearances since 1980 and will play Virginia or South Carolina on Thursday in another elimination game.

The Big 12 regular-season and postseason champion Aggies (47-22) went two games and out and are 2-10 in five all-time CWS appearances.

Aggies coach Rob Childress said he told his players that they should expect to come back next year.

“We didn’t play like we’re capable of playing the two games that we were here,” Childress said. “It’s nobody’s fault.”

The Bears led 6-1 after scoring three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Campbell, a .255 hitter who came in with five RBI in 22 games, delivered RBI singles each inning.

Freshman left-hander Kyle Porter (6-0) allowed three runs in six innings. Flemer finished for his sixth save, giving up three singles and striking out five. They combined to stop an A&M club that had recorded 17 comeback victories this season.

Esquer wrote Campbell into the lineup at second base for the fourth straight game so Tony Renda - the Pac-10 player of the year and the sixth overall draft pick by the Washington Nationals on June 6 - could rest an injured quadriceps. Renda, who had lobbied Esquer for the start at second, had two hits and drove in a run as the designated hitter.

“Well, sometimes your best moves, you stumble into them,” Esquer said. “We were completely comfortable with Derek out at second base, the defense he can play, and he can chip in and help our offense. So we felt like let’s go with that lineup and let’s make it work.”

California would need three more wins to reach the best-of-three championship round next week. Then again, the Bears coaches and players believe anything is possible after the way their season has evolved.

The Cal administration last fall announced plans to cut the program in 2012 for budgetary reasons, but boosters and alumni raised $9 million.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide