TUCSON, AZ - It was business as usual for Cody Hamlin on Friday night.
Unfortunately that meant he received little run support despite another strong start.
California (24-14, 11-8 Pac-12) scored all it needed with a two-run fourth inning and then held on for a 3-1 victory over host Arizona before a crowd of 3,064 at Hi Corbett Field.
Daulton Jefferies (W, 5-2) outdueled Hamlin on the mound, scattering eight hits over seven shutout innings. The right-hander located his fastball well and sprinkled in a mix of off-speed pitches that kept the Wildcats off-balance, especially with runners on base.
Arizona (24-15, 9-10 Pac-12) stranded nine runners on the evening, collecting just one hit in 15 chances with men on base. The clutch hit never came as the home side went 0-for-9 batting with runners in scoring position.
Closer Dylan Nelson held off a rally in the ninth, an inning that saw a pair of close calls at first base.
With runners on the corners and one out, Justin Behnke hit sharply back to the mound. Nelson gathered himself, picked up the ball and started a potential double play, but Behnke was called safe at first.
California head coach David Esquer briefly chatted with first base umpire Carl Coles, but the call stood and the Wildcats had their first run on the board, trailing 3-1.
Scott Kingery followed, grounding to shortstop Preston Grand Pre in the hole on the left side. Grand Pre had a long throw across the diamond that Kingery appeared the beat, but he was called out to end the game.
The Golden Bears struggled much of the night against Hamlin, mustering only seven hits and striking out six times in 7.1 innings. But two runs in the fourth were enough for the win.
Chris Paul and Brett Cumblerland led off the decisive fourth frame with singles, and Mitchell Kranson bunted them each into scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Paul to score the initial run, and later Grand Pre dropped a sinking-liner in front of right fielder Zach Gibbons for a valuable two-out RBI.
California tacked on a key insurance run in the top of the ninth against Tyger Talley. Kranson's leadoff double was followed by Nick Halamandaris' two-out double, putting the Golden Bears in front 3-0.
The lack of run support for Hamlin (L, 4-3) has become a troubling issue for the Wildcats. Hamlin has not allowed more than four earned runs in any game this season, but he has received only seven total runs of support in his last four starts.
Arizona will look to even the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Bobby Dalbec had a 15-game hit streak snapped. However, he extended his reached base streak to 39 games with a walk … Jared Oliva hit a pair of doubles to extend Arizona's string of games with an extra base hit to 28-consecutive … For the second-straight game, Wildcat pitchers did not issue a walk. The club has only two other walk-free games this season. Arizona last turned in consecutive games without a loss last season, doing so three games in a row from March 12-15 … Cody Hamlin matched his season high with six strikeouts … Arizona was charged with two errors, its first contest with multiple miscues since April 3 against USC … Scott Kingery posted his 20th multiple-hit game and the junior has reached base in 15-consecutive starts.