Garewal's Blast Lifts Golden Eagles to Walk-Off Win Over Cal, 9-8
The Golden Eagles (36-26) next face either Oklahoma or North Carolina in another elimination game at 1 p.m., Sunday. ORU needs three more wins to capture the Norman Regional title; a loss will end its season. Cal concludes its season with a 29-25 record.
With the game tied at 8-8, Garewal hit the first pitch from Cal’s Dixon Anderson (5-4) over the fence in left-centerfield, setting off a wild celebration at home plate. It was just ORU’s second walk-off win of the season.
Ironically, Garewal opened the scoring for ORU, coming home on a two-out wild pitch in the first inning to give ORU a 1-0 lead.
Seth Furmanek made it a 3-0 lead for the Golden Eagles when he connected for a two-run homer in the fourth. The blast was his 24th of the season, breaking the Summit League single-season record.
Cal cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Mitch Delfino. The damage could have been worse but Garewal ended the inning by throwing out Delfino at home after a base hit by Tony Renda. Chris Elder countered with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning as ORU took a 6-1 lead.
The five-run lead seemed comfortable, but ORU’s pitching staff couldn’t hold on to the advantage. Cal’s Brian Guinn led off the top of the sixth with a solo home against ORU starter Mark Guest, cutting the lead to 6-2.
Four batters later Chad Bunting cranked a two-run homer off reliever Dallas Beeler, pulling the Bears to within 6-4.
Cal tied the game with a pair of runs in the seventh. An RBI double by Renda made it 6-5, and a two-out error by ORU shortstop Tyler Saladino helped Cal tie the game at 6-6.
But ORU’s power was on display again in the bottom of the eighth. Cal reliever Matt Flemer plunked Elder with one out and Furmanek followed by crushing a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center, giving the Golden Eagles an 8-6 lead.
Cal, however, battled back in the top of the ninth, scoring two runs off relievers Jared Schlehuber and Sean Johnson (3-4). The damage could have been worse, though, as Cal loaded the bases with one out. But Johnson struck out the final two batters to end the inning and set up Garewal’s heroics.
The Golden Eagles won despite walking nine batters and committing two errors. ORU collected 10 hits, including four home runs, scoring all but one run via the long ball.
Garewal and Furmanek had two hits apiece, with Furmanek adding four RBI. Elder scored three times.
Renda and Bunting had three hits each for Cal.