Cal Baseball Video: No. 2 Stanford Tops Bears 5-2 in Series Finale

Cal coach Mike Neu (above) talks about the key inning when one error and one swing doomed the Bears

Cal cannot quite get over the hump.

This weekend, the Bears again proved they can play with the best teams in the country. But they have not yet found a way to take a series from the elite team.

After collecting 25 runs and 32 hits while spliting the first two games of the three-game series against No. 2-ranked Stanford, Cal’s bats were virtually silenced by Cardinal starter Erik Miller and the Stanford relievers.

One error and one swing of the bat in the second inning provided the difference as Stanford came away with a 5-2 victory over the Bears before a crowd of 1,031 at Cal's Evans Diamond on Sunday.

Cal (29-17, 14-10 Pac-12) outscored Stanford 27-17 over the three-game weekend series, but Stanford won two of the three games.

That's been the story for Cal, which won one of three games against 15th-ranked, LSU, one of three against No. 12 Oregon State, one of three against No. 1 UCLA, and now one of three against the nation's No. 2 team.

That's been the story for Cal, which won one of three games against 15th-ranked, LSU, one of three against No. 12 Oregon State, one of three against No. 1 UCLA, and now one of three against the nation's No. 2 team.

Cal lost the third game in all four of those series.

"We haven't got over the hump, but we know we are capable of playing against some of these top-tier teams," Cal head coach Mike Neu said. "We know we can win a series against LSU, UCLA, Oregon State. We just got to play a little cleaner over the course of the entire weekend.

"Any (postseason) regional we play in, it's going to be against teams like this."

(Click here for a video of Mike Neu talking about getting over the hump.)

The Bears seem to be in position to make the postseason for the firt time since 2015, but series against Arizona State and Washington will determine whether Cal continues playing past the regular season.

Winning Sunday's game against Stanford (37-9, 19-5) would have made a big impact on Cal's postseason positioning, but the second inning doomed the Bears and Cal starting pitcher Sam Stoutenborough.

Andrew Dauschback led off the Stanford second with a walk. Then Duke Kinamon hit a hard grounder to third baseman Quenin Selma that could have been a double play. Instead the ball skipped past Selma for an error, putting runners at first and second.

Tim Tawa, hitting out of the seventh hole for Stanford, then smacked a 1-2 pitch for a home run to make it 3-0 on just one hit.

Stoutenborough did not give up another run until the seventh.

"I thought (Stoutenborough) did an outstanding job," Neu said. "He made his pitches. We have a chance to turn that double play in the third inning (actually the second inning), then he hangs that breaking ball, the guy hits it out. If we make that play, then maybe it doesn't happen."

Meanwhile the Bears could do little against Miller, who improved to 7-1 by giving up just three hits and striking out eight in his 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Cal could not muster the offense it had on Saturday when it it collected 20 hits, including five homers, in an 18-2 rout of Stanford.

The Bears' lone runs on Sunday came in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by Andrew Vaughn, his 14th, against Stanford closer Jack Little.

Cal has not won a weekend series from Stanford since 2014, when the Bears took two of three, but the teams played a single game earlier that season that the Cardinal won, so the season series finished tied 2-2.

The last time Cal won a season series from Stanford was 2008, when Cal went 3-1-1 in five games against a Cardinal team that went on to win two games in the College World Series.

The Bears would have halted both those streaks with a win Sunday, but they could not get over the hump.

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