No. 1 Cal falls to Wilcats in second of three games

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The Wildcats pulled out the wildcard on Saturday.

After a sixth inning that saw No. 13 Arizona knock in five runs, the No. 1 Cal softball team fell, 8-3, in its second loss of the season at Levine-Fricke Field.

Arizona’s sophomore pitcher Shelby Babcock held the Bears to just three hits. Breana Kostreba seemed to be Cal’s only offensive factor in the game when she hit a two-run homer. Pitcher Valerie Arioto suffered her first loss on the season.

“As coach said, there are peaks and valleys,” said senior outfielder Frani Echavarria, who led the Bears with two hits in the game. “Today we are walking in a valley. We need to wake up. Ultimately, this loss with help is refocus and make us stronger for the rest of this series and the Pac-12.”

The Wildcats seem to be the only team able to contain Cal’s dominant offense. The Bears have blown out all other competition, even sweeping No. 3 Washington and No.9 Stanford a few weeks ago.

Yet Arizona has held Cal to only five total hits over the last two games. Today, the Wildcats outhit the Bears 13-3.

“We’ve been a little laid back, and our hitting needs to improve,” Echavarria said. “Our offensive needs to back up our pitchers because they are standing strong.”

After a 2-0 victory on Friday, the Bears entered Saturday’s game with a 1-0 edge on the series. Yet a victory gave the Wildcats the equalizer, and the series will be decided with Sunday’s final game.

The Bears are hoping to rediscover their offensive power, which has so far been lacking in this series.

“Everyone knows what they could have done to be better,” Evhevarria said. “We need to come back refocused and with our own personal goals to help the team get past this loss.”