Cal junior Jared Horn was in line to start Cal's second game of the season, a February 16 game against Pepperdine in Phoenix. But on the way to Arizona, two days before his scheduled start, he started throwing up. He threw while on the bus, he threw up while on the plane, and he threw up while in the airport.
Turns out he needed his appendix removed, and he couldn't pitch for the a month. He slowly worked his way back into pitching shape, and his last two starts have been outstanding.
Horn pitched eight innings, giving up just one run in a 6-1 victory over Washington State on April 6, and he allowed three runs over eight innings in a 7-3 victory over Arizona on Saturday. That win was the last of eight straight victories for the Bears, their longest winning streak in three years. The streak ended the next day in a 4-2 loss to the Wildcats in Tucson, but Cal probably should have won that game too, outhitting Arizona 13-6 but leaving 12 runners on base.
Horn was a major component of the Bears' recent run, which gives Cal (19-12, 7-5 Pac-12) a head of steam heading into the three-game series against NO. 1 UCLA that begins Thursday in Los Angeles.
Horn's improvement from last season is significant, especially considering he started the season late. After going 5-5 with a 6.15 ERA last season, Horn this season is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA, which ranks fifth in the Pac-12. Horn explains the improvement in the video above, and he will need to keep UCLA's bats quiet in his start on Friday, because the Bruins are second in the nation in team ERA at 2.62.
UCLA has won seven straight, including two against No. 2-ranked Stanford, so Horn and the Bears have their work cut out for them.