Cal Baseball: Darren Baker’s Amazing Streak Comes to an End
It ended when Cal’s Darren Baker grounded out to the first baseman with one out in the bottom of the ninth in Sunday’s game against Washington State.
It wasn’t the game that ended; that came one out later, wrapping up the Cougars’ 4-3 victory over the Golden Bears, putting a severe crimp into Cal’s postseason hopes.
What did end with Baker’s groundout was an impressive streak that had gone under the radar this season.
Until that out, which completed an 0-for-4 evening, Baker had reached base on 42 consecutive games. He had reached base at least once in all 37 previous games this season as well as the final five games of the 2020 season.
Baker had at least one hit in 33 of those 42 games, had at least one walk in eight other games along the way and was hit by a pitch in that one other game.
Before Sunday, the last time Baker failed to reach base was on March 1, 2020, in a 6-1 loss to 21st-ranked TCU. And Baker had a sacrifice bunt in that game.
His on-base streak this season had been built with him hitting from the leadoff spot, but head coach Mike Neu shuffled the lineup a bit on Sunday because the Bears were having trouble scoring runs. Baker was dropped to the No. 3 spot in the batting order, and it did not pay off as Baker failed to reach base for the first time this season.
Sunday’s defeat was the Bears’ sixth loss in their last seven games and dropped their record to 19-19 overall and 6-9 in the conference, tied with USC for seventh place.
Cover photo of Darren Baker by Rob Edwards, KLC Fotos
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