Michael Theofanopoulos pitched six strong innings and Vince Bruno had a homer and a career-high four RBI as the Cal Golden Bears completed a three-game sweep of the Tiger Classic Sunday morning with an 8-3 win over the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Auburn, Ala.
The Golden Bears (5-2) wasted no time taking the lead, putting up a three-spot in the bottom of the first. Devin Pearson led off with a walk and Bruno followed with a blast to right field, the Bears’ first home run of the year, to make it 2-0. Devon Rodriguez followed that up with a solo blast off Felix Baez Pool to make it a 3-0 game.
The Golden Lions (0-9) got a couple of runs back in the third on a strange sequence. Kirby Campbell led off the inning with a double to left and Mitch Bruckshaw followed with a four-pitch walk. After Rashawn Tillman sacrificed the runners up a base, things got a little … weird.
Theofanpoulos uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Campbell to score, but catcher Mitchell Kranson recovered the ball and thought he had a play on Bruckshaw at third. However, his throw got away and Bruckshaw wound up scoring on the same play to cut Cal’s lead to 3-2.
The Golden Bears broke it open with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth. Lucas Erceg laced a one-out single to right and Kranson followed with a double down the line in right. Mike Reuvekamp walked to load the bases and after a strikeout, Bruno singled to right center to chase home two more runs and put Cal up 5-2.
The Golden Bears went up 6-2 on a double steal, with Bruno swiping second while Reuvekamp scored. Rodriguez drove in Bruno with a single to center.
The Golden Lions got their only other tally in the sixth on an RBI ground out by Isias Alcantar. Cal closed the scoring in the bottom of the same frame. Kranson smacked his second double of the game, advanced to third on a sacrifice by Reuvekamp and scored on a single by Pearson.
Theofanopoulos improved to 1-1 on the season with six innings of work, allowing three runs, two earned, on just two hits. He walked two and struck out nine.
Dylan Nelson, Alex Martinez and Erceg each worked a scoreless inning of relief to close it out.
Bruno, Kranson and Rodriguez all had two hits on the day.
The Golden Bears are idle until Friday, when they head to San Diego to take on Baylor at 11 a.m. in the first game of the three-game University of San Diego Tournament. Cal will play UNC Wilmington on Saturday and host San Diego on Sunday in the three-day event.