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Controversial call reversal leads to a big win for Cal against Washington State

Apr. 14—PULLMAN — A big collision at the plate, a shouting match in front of a dugout, a lengthy review, multiple ejections and a controversial call reversal.

That long, bizarre sequence was the turning point that defined a Pac-12 baseball game between Washington State and California on Saturday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

The umpires overturned an out at the plate after a long review, giving a one-run lead to the Golden Bears in the eighth inning. The Cougars (17-16, 7-10 Pac-12) never regained their composure and Cal (19-14, 7-10) went on to rout them 13-5 after WSU led 2-1 going into the eighth.

Here's what happened:

With the game tied at 2-2 and runners on first and third, Cal's Jarren Advincula put the ball in play and teammate Jag Burden got caught in a pickle between third base and home plate.

WSU pitcher Spencer Jones caught the ball in front of the plate on the third toss of the back-and-forth and Burden at the last second lowered himself into the legs of Jones.

Both fell to the turf and the umpire immediately called Burden out on malicious contact.

Then the drama started.

Cal third base coach Chad Highberger huffed his way down the third base line, displeased with the call, and later had a verbal exchange face-to-face with a Washington State coach in front of the Cougars' dugout.

Players and coaches on both sides were quickly separated.

After a review that lasted about 15 minutes, the umpires overturned the call at the plate and a run was awarded to Cal on obstruction by WSU's Jones, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Cal 3, WSU 2.

"Obviously just a very unusual play and a lot of heated things going on there, so you never like to see that," Cal coach Mike Neu said. "But everybody's out here competing. I thought they competed really hard and we were too and sometimes when it goes that way, you hate to see it, but the tempers flare a little bit."

There was some confusion on the ejections during the kerfuffle.

A WSU statistician said Burden was initially ejected from the game, but Neu said his player was not ejected.

Cal assistant coach Highberger and WSU head coach Nathan Choate were both ejected. Neu said he believed two WSU coaches were ejected but the second one could not be confirmed. WSU coaches declined to talk after the game.

After the controversy

After the big call reversal, the game was all Cal.

Cal catcher Ryan Tayman roped a double to the left-field corner to score a run in the top of the ninth for a 4-2 lead. That hit kickstarted a 10-run inning for Cal as it pulled away in the final frame.

Tayman also had a home run to right-center to tie the game at 2 in the eighth before all the drama ensued.

First baseman Peyton Schulze added a double and three RBI for the Golden Bears.

Wilford's arm a bright spot for WSU

Cougar starter Connor Wilford went 7 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and three earned runs. The right-hander was a dominant presence on the mound until he started to run out of gas in the eighth.

Right fielder Alan Shibley knocked a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth but the game was already out of reach at that point.

Center fielder Nate Swarts added a pair of hits and a pair of runs on the day.

Up next

The teams close out the three-game series at noon today.

"I know they're going to be ready to go," Neu said. "They're going to come out tough. They played hard. I think they're a really good team and have played hard all weekend ... so I don't think there's anything easy about tomorrow for us."

California 000 000 128—13 13 1

WSU 001 000 103—5 9 1

May, Boone (4), Stasiowski (7), Piper (7), Becerra (8) and Tayman; Wilford, Jones (8), Grillo (8), Wickersham (9), Baughn (9) and Cresswell. W—Piper. L—Wilford.

California hits — Tayman 3 (HR, 2B), Green 2 (2B), Moutzouridis 2, Schulze (2B), Gwynn (2B), Advincula, Handron, Burden.

Washington State hits — Swarts 2, Parke 2, Shibley (3B), Hartman (2B), Cramer (2B), Ponce, Weise.

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, swiebe@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @StephanSports.