Cal ace Jared Horn made the potent offense of the nation's second-ranked team look feeble on Saturday afternoon.
On Friday night, No. 2 Stanford belted five home runs while scoring 10 runs in its 10-7 win over Cal, but it was a very different story against Horn a day later.
Horn did not allow a hit until two were out in the fifth inning, and his teammates provided him with plenty of offense in the Bears’ 18-2 shellacking of the Cardinal at Cal’s Evans Diamond.
It was Cal's largest margin of victory since blasting Cal State Bakersfield in February of 2018, and it was Stanford's largest margin of defeat since 2012, when it also lost by 16 runs in 17-1 loss to Florida State in a Super Regional.
Cal belted out 20 hits, including five homers, on Saturday against a Stanford pitching staff that ranked fifth in the nation in ERA entering this weekend's series.
"Offensively, defensively, and obviously Jared on the mound was outstanding," Cal coach Mike Neu said. "I don't think we could have drawn it up much better than we did today."
Horn threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits. Horn lowered his earned-run average to 1.79 and improved his record 5-1 for the season.
Neu said it was his best game of the season.
"I think it was the most polished he's been," Neu said. "Velocity was up a little bit, all his secondary stuff was really good. Last four, five weeks he's been outstanding."
Horn admitted the thought of a no-hitter was starting to creep in around the fourth inning.
"It's always in the back of your mind," he said, "But I was more focused on just making my pitches."
Neu said Horn could have continued, but he was replaced by Carson Olson to start the eighth inning with the Bears holding a 15-0 lead.
So after a tough loss on Friday, when the Bears let a 6-4 lead get away, the series is now tied at a game apiece.
"For us to have a rough one yesterday and come back the way we did was outstanding," Neu said. "It was good to see the way our guys responded after a tough loss."
If Cal (29-16, 14-9 Pac-12) manages to win the final game of the three-game set on Sunday, the Bears will win a weekend series against Stanford for the first time since 2014 and would take the season series from the Cardinal for the first time since 2008.
"It's been a while since we won a series with Stanford," Horn said above the roar of machinery working on the field in the background. "It would be nice to win the series tomorrow, just win a series in general. We always talk about winning a series in the weekend."
Cal’s Sam Stoutenborough (7-3, 4.02 ERA) is expected to get the start in Sunday’s noon game against Stanford’s Erik Miller (6-1, 2.64).
The Bears are 18-5 over their last 23 games, and Saturday’s game was virtually over after Cal scored four runs in the bottom of the first. Darren Baker’s two-run double was the big blow in that frame, and Baker’s father, Dusty, was in the stands to watch his son have a productive day with two hits and two RBIs.
Quentin Selma, who had two homers Friday, had another homer Saturday for Cal, and Sam Wezniak, Max Flower, John Lagattuta and Hance Smith also went deep for the Bears.
The Cardinal (36-9, 18-5) could get nothing going against Horn. Through four innings, Cal had 12 hits, and Stanford had none.
Cal knocked Stanford starter Will Matthiessen out of the game as a pitcher in the third inning, although he remained in the game as a designated hitter.
Run-scoring doubles by Andrew Vaughn and Flower gave Cal a 2-0 lead in the first before Baker added his two-run shot.
Cal scored four more runs in the third, with Wezniak’s two-run homer being the big blow.
The Bears blew the game open with a six-run sixth inning that made it a 15-0 game.
A lot of bench players got playing time for both team in the late innings.