Andy Lopez didn't think the Arizona Wildcats were playing bad baseball the first two weeks of the Pac-12 season despite a 0-6 start.
The young squad was just getting used to the conference and now the results are showing.
Arizona (21-11, 6-6 Pac-12) completed a three-game sweep of Cal with a 5-4 win at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday in front of 2,819. It was the team's second straight sweep.
It also put the Wildcats at .500 in Pac-12 play and back in the mix. They are tied for fifth place and three games behind first-place Oregon.
"It's not like we played bad baseball the first two weekends but when you're an older team you're used to this," Lopez said. "We've got a lot of young guys that this is their first time through this conference so we're getting adjusted to it."
The UA jumped out to early leads in the first two games of the series against Cal (16-16, 5-7) but went down to the wire in the finale.
With Arizona up 5-2 in the top of the ninth, sophomore closer Mathew Troupe loaded the bases with no outs. He gave up an RBI single and then traded another run for a double play before inducing pinch hitter Andrew Knapp to ground out on a hard ball to first baseman Ryan Koziol to end the game.
"Today was a lot more of a grind, our pitching held us throughout the game in keeping us up," Koziol said. We hit the ball but didn't put up the runs like we have the last couple of days."
The Wildcats finished with 15 hits and had a couple chances to break the game open early but only had a 2-0 lead after five innings. They went 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
"If we were a bunch of juniors I'd be more concerned but we got enough to win," Lopez said. "It's not ice skating. If we get one more than them, we go home happy."
Cal tied the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth, but UA sophomore Joseph Maggi put the Wildcats back out front when he led off the bottom of the inning with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Arizona never trailed again.
Starter Tyler Crawford limited Cal to five hits in 5 1/3 innings. The lefty retired 10 straight batters at one point.
"I did a pretty good job getting ahead of hitters and locating all three pitches and getting them out front with that off-speed," he said.
Freshman right-hander Tyger Talley (4-0) replaced Crawford, giving up a hit in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Arizona travels to Washington State for a three-game series starting Friday.
"We've got to do what we've been doing the last two weekends," Lopez said. "We've been pitching good, we've been executing very good, we've been getting timely hitting."