Baseball: Brian Celsi’s Steal Of Home Lifts Cal Golden Bears To Sweep Of Arkansas


Pinch-runner Brian Celsi stole home in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday, helping the Cal Golden Bears to a 2-1 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks and a sweep of a doubleheader in the final day of the Cal Baseball Classic at Evans Diamond.

Cal (10-5) took the opener 4-3 behind a three-RBI day by Devon Rodriguez.

Michael Theofanopoulos pitched six shutout innings for the Golden Bears in the nightcap, leaving with a 1-0 lead after walking two and striking out four.

The Golden Bears took a 1-0 lead in the third when Brenden Farney doubled to lead off the inning, went to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Reuvekamp.

But Arkansas (8-5) got to reliever Lucas Erceg in the eighth to tie the game. After Erceg surrendered a double and a single to put runners at the corners, Keaton Siomkin (1-0) took over on the mound and got Brett McAfee to foul out to right field, but it was deep enough to score Tyler Spoon and tie the game.

Siomkin got the win, retiring all six batters he faced, while Farney had three of Cal’s five hits.

In the opener, Cal got on the board in the bottom of the first when Devin Pearson was hit by a pitch to open the game, was sacrificed to second, moved up to third on a groundout and scored on an infield single by Derek Campbell.

Arkansas got the run back in the top of the third off starter Kyle Porter (2-0). With two outs and the bases loaded, first baseman Nick Halamandaris couldn’t make a play on Tyler Spoon’s grounder. That was the only run Porter allowed in 5.2 innings, unearned, on four hits with two walks and three Ks.

The Golden Bears reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third. Pearson walked and Vince Bruno singled, with both runners moving up an extra base when Razorbacks left fielder Joe Serrano bobbled the ball. Rodriguez cracked a double into the gap in right-center to score both runners and give Cal a 3-1 lead.

The Bears made it 4-1 in the seventh. Reuvekamp drew a leadoff walk and moved up on a wild pitch by Arkansas starter Chris Oliver (1-2). Landon Simpson came on in relief and gave up a single to Pearson. That brought another call to the pen for Michael Gunn, who promptly gave up a stolen base to Pearson and walked Bruno and Rodriguez to force in a run.

Trevor Hildenberger worked the final three innings to earn the save, his fourth of the season, despite surrendering a two-run homer to Eric Fisher in the top of the eighth.

Chris Paul had two of Cal’s seven hits in the opener.

The Golden Bears return to the field on Friday when they open a three-game Pac-12 opening series at Evans Diamond against the UCLA Bruins at 7 p.m.