By the time Cal junior Annie Aldrete approached the plate, everything was in perfect position — all she had to do was make contact. With junior Kylie Reed, sophomore Jazmyn Jackson and sophomore Kobie Pettis loading the bases, Aldrete was gifted with the perfect opportunity to help her team take the lead. Her hit was more than enough, and she gave the Cal softball team(13-12-1, 2-2-1) first Pac-12 win over No. 24 Oregon State (21-9-1, 1-5) with a stunning grand slam — contributing the first runs that led to its 2-1 series win.
Before Aldrete’s big hit, the score was gridlocked at 0-0. Senior pitcher Nisa Ontiveros had struck out seven Beavers over the course of the first 2.2 innings before being replaced by junior Katie Sutherland-Finch, who contributed another strikeout of her own. Freshman Kourtney Shaw went in at the bottom of the fourth and helped keep Oregon State’s offense at bay for the rest of the game, securing the 4-0 win for the Bears.
In their second game of the three-game series, the Bears were once again led by a perfect hitting performance from Aldrete, who went two for two at the plate and scored one run. Oregon State went up 1-0 in the second inning with a home run from Madison Anthony and extended its lead to 4-0 in the third with another RBI from Anthony and two RBIs from Natalie Hampton.
Cal came back with three runs in the fourth when sophomore Taurie Pogue hit a double that brought in Aldrete and Khala Taylor, reducing the Beavers’ lead to two. A ground out by freshman Lindsay Rood then brought in pinch runner Danielle Bowers, and the Bears were within reach of the Beavers.
Cal was unable to continue its surge, however, and Oregon State extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth with a run from Riley Gregoire. The Beavers were able to finish the game with a 5-3 win, and the Bears fell in the second game of the series.
With the series tied 1-1, Cal would need to continue its strong hitting in order to clinch its first Pac-12 series. This time, the offensive push came from Pogue, who compiled two hits — one of which was a home run — for two RBIs and two runs over the course of the third game.
The Bears were up 4-0 going into the final inning, thanks to steady hitting in the fourth and fifth from Cal. The scoring began with an RBI in the fourth by Pettis who brought Pogue home followed by three runs in the fifth, which were scored by Rood, Aldrete and Pogue.
Although it looked as though the game was over, the Beavers made a final push in the bottom of the seventh inning. Oregon State’s rally was aided by sloppiness from the Bears’ defense, along with timely hitting from the Beavers. With the game close at 4-3 and Oregon State’s tying run on second, Shaw once again came in clutch for Cal. Striking out Anthony, the freshman closed out the game with two strikeouts and brought the Bears their first Pac-12 series win.
Sophie Goethals covers softball. Contact her at [email protected]