April 14, 2012
BERKELEY -- The Cal baseball team will go for the series sweep over Washington on Sunday at 1 PM at Evans Diamond, with junior lefty Justin Jones on the hill against an as-yet-unnamed Huskies starter.
"Big one tomorrow," said Saturday's winner Matt Flemer. "I mean, it feels great, but we've got a chance to jump in the standings tomorrow, and if we come out like we did today, we have a real good shot of winning tomorrow, and we've got to get it."
Jones (2-4, 4.97 ERA) had struggled at the start of the campaign after recovering from a nerve injury in his left biceps, suffered at the end of the 2011 season, but made a big stride towards returning to form last Saturday.
"Tomorrow's going to be big for us," said head coach David Esquer. "I hope it's just coming full-circle, where he's ready to be the old Justin Jones. We're going to give him time. We're not faulting him. He didn't pitch all fall. He didn't pitch all summer. Baseball's not that easy. It's just not that easy, and it's no fault of his, it's just that baseball's difficult, and to get the feel and the competitive edge back, it takes a while."
In his last outing against USC, Jones went 7.0 innings, allowing five hits and two runs while walking two and striking out four.
"I think he's finally kind of maybe turned the corner a little bit," said pitching coach Mike Neu. "His arm's feeling good. I don't know if he's as sharp as he wants to be right now, but I think for the first time this year, the ball's coming out of his hand more the way he wants it, and that's a step in the right direction. I think he's going to give us a chance to win. If we can keep building on that, he's going to be solid. Last outing at USC was the best he's thrown all year."
After the game on Saturday, Jones responded to a tough-act-to-follow quip with one of his own: "I've got this."