In what will be its penultimate nonconference game of the 2018 regular season, Cal softball will go on the road to take on UC Davis for a single game Wednesday.
The last time the two squads played, the Bears eked out a close 1-0 win in a bona fide pitcher’s duel.
Neither Cal redshirt junior Zoe Conley nor UC Davis freshman Brooke Yanez allowed more than four hits, and the game remained tied until the sixth inning.
Cal finally scored the winning run in the bottom half of the sixth off a wild pitch that allowed the Bears’ shortstop senior Jazmyn Jackson to cross the plate.
On the season, Cal has been fantastic against the fellow UCs, sporting a perfect 5-0 record with wins against Davis, Riverside and Santa Barbara. In those games, the Bears have outscored these opponents, 40-5.
Cal is coming off a three-game sweep of Utah over the weekend, its longest win streak in more than a month.
The Bears hope to keep the ball rolling against the Aggies as they look ahead to the coming weekend, where they will face off against rival Stanford in a trio of away games.
UC Davis has been struggling as of late, losing five of its last nine, but the team is coming off a series victory against UC Riverside.
Historically, Cal has dominated this matchup. Since 2006, the Bears have yet to lose, going a perfect 17-0 against Davis in that period.
Comparing the stats of the two teams for this season shows a definite advantage for Cal, especially when taking into account the fact that the Bears play in the toughest conference in the country.
Cal has managed to maintain a superb .290 team batting average, compared to UC Davis’ paltry .257. In addition, the Bears’ high-powered offence has averaged 5.4 runs per game in contrast to the Aggies’ average of just 3.3 per game.
In the pitching department, the numbers are much closer, but again, the Bears have faced much harsher competition. Cal pitchers have combined for a 2.17 ERA, while the Aggies have scraped together a 2.05 ERA. Coincidentally, the two staffs have walked the exact same number of batters (100), but the Bears have the lead in strikeouts — 309 to 225, respectively.
After this week’s games, including the matchup against Davis and the weekend series against Stanford, Cal can look forward to the comforts of home. The Bears will play their final seven games of the season at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.
The final stretch will see them face off against Sacramento State for one game and then a Pac-12 series against Oregon and UCLA in back-to-back weekends to end the 2018 campaign.
For now though, Cal is focused on winning a fourth straight game and, in doing so, securing its 30th win of the season. The first pitch will be Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Matthew Selman covers softball. Contact him at [email protected]