When sophomore Kobie Pettis hit a deep double to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday afternoon in the Bears’ final game against No. 20 Arizona State, it seemed as though the comebacks that had characterized their first two games could be repeated. But, unfortunately for the Cal softball team (15-14-1, 3-4-1 Pac-12), Pettis’ hit would not be the catalyst for another rally, and it fell to the Sun Devils (27-10, 3-3) 9-1.
The Bears’ first rally came Friday in the seventh inning. Trailing 2-0, Cal was in need of a last minute offensive drive. Pettis was the woman for the job, and her timely home run also brought in Khala Taylor, tying the score at 2-2 and forcing the game into extra innings.
ASU once again took a two-run lead in the eighth with a big hit from Brynley Steele, but when they went up to bat, the Bears proved that they were not ready to go down just yet. With Kylie Reed and Lindsay Rood in scoring position, a grounder from Taurie Pogue and an error from the Sun Devil’s first baseman allowed the score to once again be gridlocked, this time at 4-4.
Two home runs from ASU in the ninth, however, proved to be the final dagger that killed Cal’s string of rallies. Unable to counter for a third time, the Bears fell in their first game of their series, 7-4.
Cal once again turned its offense on in the seventh inning in the second game of the series Saturday afternoon. Heading into the inning down 6-3, the Bears produced a flurry of hits that led to their ultimate 7-6 victory.
This time, the rally started with a homerun by Jazmyn Jackson, bringing the Bears within two. With the bases loaded by Rood, Pogue and Annie Aldrete, Taylor was able to hit a single that brought Rood home and kept the bases loaded. Next up was Pettis, and once again she was able to deliver. Her strong hit through the right-center field gap brought in the tying and winning runs, capturing the win for Cal.
On Sunday afternoon, however, the Bears put themselves in a hole that they were ultimately unable to hit their way out of. The Sun Devils came out with a quick lead, going up 5-0 after two innings where Cal’s pitching and defense was unable to handle a barrage of hitting from ASU.
After two innings where the Bears were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities with the bases loaded, they at least secured the first run of the game on a flyout from Pogue. The run brought the score to 7-1, but two runs from ASU in the sixth closed out the game and the series, leaving Cal with a losing record for the weekend.
Cal’s pitching staff had a tough weekend overall. Cycling through five pitchers — Kristin Cullen, Nisa Ontiveros, Kourtney Shaw, Katie Sutherland-Finch and Stephanie Trzcinski — who together only tallied seven strikeouts on the weekend, the Bears weren’t able to contain the strong hitters of ASU.
“It really came down to the pitching. We were shaky on Friday, and on Saturday it was our offense that helped us win that game,” said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. “And today we did not get great pitching performances.”
Sophie Goethals covers softball. Contact her at [email protected]