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Under the lights at Evans Diamond for the first time, Cal Bears dropped a close game to USC. Photo: Ted Friedman

Cal baseball has 121 years of history, including 80 at Evans Diamond. But the team added to the annals of history last night with the first-ever night game at Evans in front of 2,133 fans. Unfortunately, the Bears fell to USC, 4-3. It was the team’s first home loss this season, dropping the Bears’ record to 15-11 (4-3, Pac-12).

Two years ago, the baseball team was facing extinction, the victim of athletic department cuts. Team alumni and supporters rallied to raise the money, sparing the team and spurring an amazing run to the College World Series in June, 2011. 

The renewed support for baseball was demonstrated in the lights and a snazzy new scoreboard: the university and the baseball supporters’ foundation jointly took out $1 million in loans for the lights and scoreboard, counting on increased ticket sales and advertising for the revenue to pay back the loan.

The support came from alumni like Dan McInerny, who played right field for the Bears, 1978-80. McInerny was watching from “cheapskate wall” at Evans Diamond. “This is my favorite spot,” he told Berkeleyside contributing photographer Ted Friedman, even though, as a donor alum, he could have had his pick of seats.

McInerny was a long ball slugger (25 career home runs). “When I hit them, they had to sail over cheapskate’s wall. They’ve shortened the right field wall, since I was hitting,” he said.

Cal plays its second home night game Friday, Mar. 29 at 6 p.m. against USC at Evans Diamond.

Cal baseball’s Cinderella season ends [06.24.11]
Cal baseball heads to College World Series [06.13.11]
Breaking news: Cal baseball reinstated [04.08.11]
Cal baseball opens final home season [02.18.11]
Berkeley reinstates three teams: baseball, men’s gymnastics out [02.11.11]
Biting the bullet: behind the Cal sports decision [09.28.10]
Breaking: baseball, rugby, three others to go at Cal [09.28.10]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...