BERKELEY, Calif. – Tyler Stromsborg tossed six strong innings and Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek hit a pinch-hit go-ahead homer in the fifth as the USC baseball team took down California, 5-3, to open a three-game set.
Two insurance runs in the ninth proved crucial for the visiting Trojans as Cal got a homer to start the final frame, but Garrett Clarke came in and got the final three outs to hold off the home team. USC moves to 9-7-1 overall and 3-1 in Pac-12 play. Cal falls to 8-7 overall and 0-3 in conference action.
The two lone runs Stromsborg gave up came with two outs in the third following a controversial safe call at third base that allowed Cal to get two runners in scoring position and plate both. The Golden Bears would not get a hit the rest of the way against Stromsborg as he cruised through the next three innings.
Caden Connolly tossed the next two innings, retiring all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth, and then gave way to Clarke. Clarke would allow a bloop single that fell in left, but that was it as he picked up his third save of the year.
Cal took the 2-0 lead into the fifth, but after USC got a pair of runners on, Martin-Grudzielanek got the call to pinch hit and sent the first pitch he saw on a line over the left field wall. It was his second homer of the year.
USC would tack on what seemed to be just a couple insurance runs in the top of the ninth, scoring on a passed ball and an RBI single…
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