In what was a tough end to their eight-game winning streak, the Bears dropped all three games against top-ranked UCLA over the weekend. The Bruins outscored Cal, 17-6, over the course of the series and simply out-competed the Bears on both sides of the ball.
UCLA got 24 hits to the Bears’ 17, and Bruin pitching managed a 1.67 ERA in the series, while Cal struggled with a 4.33 mark.
In the first game of the series, UCLA rode the arm of its No. 2 pitcher, freshman Holly Azevedo, shutting out the Bears, 5-0, Friday afternoon. Azevedo provided a complete game effort, allowing no earned runs and giving up only five hits in the victory.
The Bears spread their five hits throughout the lineup, having no players with multiple hits. UCLA didn’t have many more hits overall but was much more efficient, putting up its five runs on only seven hits.
In the second and closest game of the series, UCLA downed the Bears by a final score of 2-1. Redshirt junior Zoe Conley was strong for Cal, pitching a complete game and giving up only two earned runs on six hits. Opposing pitcher redshirt sophomore Rachel Garcia, however, was slightly more effective, throwing all seven innings while surrendering four hits and no earned runs.
After a three-inning stretch without any scoring, UCLA was able to put up what would be the winning run in the top of the seventh inning.
Just as in game one, not one hitter for the Bears had multiple hits, with four batters each chipping in.
In the final game of the weekend, the Bruins’ offense let loose on Cal’s backup pitching, blowing out the Bears, 10-5. While the two teams had similar hit totals, UCLA was more efficient, leaving only four runners on base as opposed to Cal’s seven. Both teams opted to pitch by committee, using three hurlers apiece to cover the seven innings of work.
On the hitting front, the Bears’ right fielder, senior Taurie Pogue, had a nice day at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI. She was the only Cal hitter to have a multi-hit game in the series.
With the conclusion of the series, the Bears are down to their final three games of the regular season. All three will come against Oregon next weekend at home. Unfortunately, it is out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Bears, as UCLA is ranked No. 1 and Oregon is ranked No. 2.
Oregon’s ranking has been consistently high during the 2018 campaign, but it has risen in recent weeks because of a hot streak. The Ducks are currently riding the momentum of a 10-game winning streak that dates all the way back to mid-April. Their most recent victories were in an easy three-game sweep of Utah over the weekend.
While Cal will not be competing for anything in the series, the Bears will hope to put together a strong showing at home to close out the year.
Matthew Selman covers softball. Contact him at [email protected]