BERKELEY, Calif. -- Behind a dominating performance from Abe Bobb and some late inning defensive heroics, the Dons beat No. 27 Arkansas 2-1 on Friday afternoon to begin the Cal Baseball Classic.
After a shaky first inning, Bobb (2-1) settled down and went seven innings to pick up his second straight decision and kept the Razorbacks off balance much of the afternoon. He threw five straight shutout innings, allowing one run on five hits and retired 10 straight batters between the first and fourth innings and 13 of 14 batters through the fifth.
"Abe was great," San Francisco head coach Nino Giarratano said. "He was sharp. The fastball was sharp, the slider was sharp. I though he was great all day… Had we played better defense, he would have been able to get a complete game out of that."
It is the team's second win over a top-30 team this season and the Dons (6-6) will return to action against host California on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Evans Diamond.
The Razorbacks had a golden opportunity in the eighth inning to tie the game. With USF up 2-1, Arkansas had runners on first and second with two outs and Wilkerson hit a bullet off the glove of Houston Hibberd. It was saved from going up the middle on a dive by Michael Eaton, who flipped it to Giarratano to end the inning.
"[Eaton] had a great day in an unsung hero kind of way," Giarratano said.
With two outs in the first, Arkansas started a rally that began with a single by Brian Anderson. After an infield single and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, Eric Fisher came to the plate but Bobb was able to get him to pop out to Bob Cruikshank to end the inning.
The game remained scoreless until the fourth when the Dons got on the board.
Nico Giarratano singled to lead off the inning and after a sacrifice bunt and walk set up first and second with one out, Zack Turner singled to left to score the freshman shortstop and give the Dons a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Bob Cruikshank ripped a single to center, scoring Turner, and gave USF a two-run lead.
"We put ourselves in a good situation," Giarratano said. "Zack put a good swing on both balls he had a chance to hit today. We were lucky enough Bob comes in and gets that second run for us. That's all it took today."
Arkansas starter Jalen Beeks had only given up one run in 17.2 innings entering the game on Friday and gave up two (one earned) against the Dons. Beeks (3-1), who threw 100 pitches, also threw the first complete game for Arkansas since 2011.
Arkansas finally broke through in the sixth. With two outs and a runner on first, Krisjon Wilkerson hit a double down the first base line to cut the Dons lead to 2-1.