No. 18 Cal softball swept by No. 8 UCLA

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Patrick Chong/File

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For the first time this season, the Bears were on the receiving end of a sweep.

The Cal softball team had a rough road trip as it traveled down to Southern California to take on No. 8 UCLA this past weekend. The Bruins (12-3 Pac 12, 38-8 overall) swept the No. 18 Bears in a three-game series, as the end of conference play looms closer.

The Bears’ (5-10 Pac 12, 32-12 overall) first game against UCLA saw the Bears struggling at the plate against the Bruins’ senior pitcher Ally Carda. Carda, who might be one of the toughest pitchers in the conference, ranks second in the Pac-12 with a 1.93 ERA. Carda successfully threw all five innings in the 8-0 mercy-rule win by UCLA, as the Bears managed to record only one hit in the series opener.

During the second game of the series, Cal once again faced the Bruins’ ace as Carda took the mound — but this time around, the Bears made the necessary adjustments in the box. Cal freshman infielder Kobie Pettis struck first for the Bears. As Pettis came up to the plate in the top of the second, she smacked the first pitch Carda delivered over the right field fence for a homer, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead.

The top of the fourth saw senior redshirt shortstop Britt Vonk hit a single off Carda and score off a two-out single by junior outfielder Vanessa Alvarez to add to Cal’s lead. The Bears, unfortunately, left runners on in the fifth inning, and when it was UCLA’s turn at the plate, the Bruins scored their first run of the game. UCLA scored two more in the sixth to overtake the Bears, 3-2, going into the top of the seventh inning.

Cal’s freshman outfielder Jazymn Jackson and senior Cheyenne Cordes both walked in the seventh, leaving runners on first and second as Pettis once again stepped into the box. Pettis came through for the Bears once more with a single up the middle to score Jackson, and Cal tied up the game, 3-3. Unfortunately, that was all the Bears could muster in what proved to be their final time at bat, as the Bruins’ junior outfielder Allexis Bennett, who went 3-3 in the game, roped a pitch down the left-field line for a one-out triple. With a runner in scoring position, UCLA’s sophomore infielder Delaney Spaulding stepped into the box and hit a walk-off homer over the center-field fence to end the game and give the Bruins the win, 5-3.

“Offensively, we performed very well — especially the second two games,” Jackson said. “I think we’re a really good hitting team, and sometimes (a win or loss) just comes down to out-hitting the other team.”

The final series matchup between Cal and UCLA saw the Bruins wrap up the series with a sweep, as the Bears lost, 8-5. Cal recorded eight hits on the game compared with UCLA’s 10 — a far cry from the lone hit the Bears recorded in the first game of the series.

“I think we came in swinging, even if we didn’t get the results we wanted in the end,” Pettis said. “It was little things that added up — we just need to make sure, moving forward, we execute our plays and fix things. We put ourselves in a position to win every game, but I’d like to see us focus on finishing a game.”

Alicia Fong covers softball. Contact her at [email protected]