The last time the Cal softball team (23-18-1) was at home, it was able to find some success, winning five out of eight games against difficult competition. This included two wins over No. 24 Utah, as the Bears only surrendered one of a three-game series.
Cal will look to find similar success Tuesday, when it travels back home to face off in a double header against UC Davis (14-25). The last time the Bears played, they split a pair of games against Cal Poly.
“We need to focus on hitting and start connecting everything from practice into our games,” said freshman Lindsay Rood. “Being on the road has been a little strenuous, so returning home for two games is a nice little turn around.”
The Aggies will also be looking to rebound when they enter Levine-Fricke Field after getting swept in a three-game series to UC Riverside. UC Davis’ most recent loss came Sunday when it lost to the Highlanders, 4-2. Junior Andrea Reynolds started the game in the circle for the Aggies but only pitched 2.1 innings before handing the ball off to freshman Sara Cadona. Reynolds gave up three hits and one earned run when it was all said and done. And this trend continued the rest of the day, as all four Aggie pitchers gave up a run apiece.
But the largest test the Bears will face in these two games will be UC Davis’ hitting, not its pitching. Junior Alexis Carney has led her team at the plate all season, with a team-high of 35 hits on a .307 batting average and has also driven in 14 runs. Another hitter the Bears will need to look out for is junior Brianna Warner, who is entering the series hitting .299 with team-highs of 35 hits and 26 runs.
Still, the Bears won’t be intimidated because they know they also have a collection of clutch hitters. Junior Annie Aldrete hit a three-run homer against Cal Poly in her team’s last win Thursday. And there was plenty more talent on display that day, especially when it came to the underclassmen. Sophomore Jazmyn Jackson had a strong day at the plate, hitting 2-4 with one run. And another underclassman, Rood, played well with the highlight coming in the top of the first when she notched an RBI single.
Cal was unable to continue this strong hitting in its second game against Cal Poly, getting shut out 5-0. The Bears know they have little room to make the same mistakes if they want to sweep UC Davis in the upcoming doubleheader.
With the end of the season quickly approaching, Cal understands that it’s pivotal to pick up a pair of wins Tuesday. And this is especially true if the Bears want to make a statement in the postseason.
“We need to string our hits together better. We get a lot of great hits, but we don’t really keep them coming,” Rood said. “So as long as we get our bats going throughout the entire game, we’ll be good.”
Alex Quintana covers softball. Contact him at [email protected]