After months of anticipation and watching sports such as basketball and volleyball return to play, Cal softball finally has a schedule of its own. In head coach Chelsea Spencer’s first year at the helm, the Bears will face five teams in the USA Today/NFCA preseason top 25 rankings, including No. 1 UCLA.
The team will have a chance to gather its bearings before then, starting with two games on the road against Sacramento State on Feb. 20 that’ll mark the Bears’ first official contests in almost a year. The team will return to Berkeley the next day for a home-opening double-header against St. Mary’s.
Following matchups at Santa Clara on Feb. 28 and at home against Nevada on March 7, Cal will head to Fresno State for a nonconference tournament March 12-13. A midweek duel at University of the Pacific on March 17 will round out the Bears’ pre-Pac-12 campaign, with nonconference games against San Jose State and Santa Clara sprinkled amid conference play.
Cal’s conference play this season takes the form of several series played in short succession. Each of the blue and gold’s meetings with Pac-12 opponents will consist of four games played over the span of three days.
The Bears will kick off conference play in Corvallis with a series against Oregon State (March 19-21). Other road trip highlights include matchups against No. 2 Washington (April 1-3) and No. 3 Arizona (April 30-May 2).
In addition to hosting the mighty Bruins (March 26-28), Cal is set to face ranked conference foes No. 10 Oregon (May 13-15) and No. 16 Arizona State (April 23-25) at home. Levine-Fricke Field will also see action when Utah comes to town (April 9-11).
While the blue and gold will not face the entirety of their Pac-12 cohort this season, the spring would not be complete without a trip to the Farm to take on cross-town rival Stanford from April 16-18.
David-esque Cal will have to play near-perfect softball to be competitive in a conference full of Goliaths, but should Spencer and the Bears make a statement against perennial powerhouses, the 2021 Women’s College World Series is slated to start June 3 in Oklahoma City.
Allie Coyne covers softball and lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]