The Cal softball team heads into the final two series of the season having maintained the nation’s top ranking through all of conference play.
To complete the streak, however, the Bears must overcome two more ranked opponents.
As the Bears race toward the College World Series, the first hurdle is No. 23 Oregon State this weekend. The three game series will take place on the Beavers’ turf at OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis, Ore. The series will kick off at 3 p.m. on Friday, followed by a noon matchup on Saturday, and wrapping up with an 11 a.m. game on Sunday.
The series pits two nationally strong squads against each other, even though conference records imply a much deeper disparity. The No. 1 Bears (45-3, 16-2 in the Pac-12) have only lost two games in the Pac-12 and pace the conference, whereas the Beavers (33-16, 8-9) stand sixth in the conference.
The Bears know that any of their conference opponents could pose a serious threat. The Pac-12 is host to six of the nation’s top 15 teams and reigns as the nation’s most competitive conference. Therefore, Cal knows that any of its opponents are well poised to be a risk to its nearly flawless conference record. The Beavers are coming off a winning series against last-place Utah and have notched eight victories over ranked teams already this season. Furthermore, the Beavers are 7-3 at home.
The Bears are also on a hot streak. With their most recent loss against Oregon well behind them after a sweep of No. 14 UCLA, Cal has officially proven itself to be back on track. Ace Jolene Henderson nabbed Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors after nabbing two wins and a save against the Bruins. She also boasts a conference-best ERA of 1.12.