Stanford series: Good or bad news?

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Ben Mefford/Staff

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The Easton Fall Classic commenced Cal softball’s season and situated the Bears in a place where they thought the season was at the palm of their hands. With four wins and one loss, the Bears marched into their next arena to blow their competitors off of the scoreboard. 

The blue and gold were not as effective compared to their prior weekend’s competition, but they left with a 3-2 record, favoring themselves. Cal let its bats loose at the DeMarini Invitational, dominating in the four games played that weekend. 

Cal stormed the diamond in a victorious fashion, often reminding Cal fans of the 2018 softball squad. But why have the Bears recently been tolerating multiple losses in their weekend series against Pac-12 teams?

In the past four weekends, Cal has faced off against four different Pac-12 rivals: No. 7 Washington, No. 12 Oregon, No. 23 Oregon State and Utah. Of 12 games played, Cal walked off of the field with four wins: only a fourth of their games.

As a tight matchup, Cal gained the upper hand with its initial win against Utah. However, the team’s confidence and beginner’s luck did not provide enough momentum for it to win the next two games. 

It was a 1-2 record at the end of the weekend, favoring the Utes.

The statistics hurt; however, what will hurt more is another loss this upcoming weekend.

Bay Area rival Stanford will be traveling to Berkeley with the hopes of putting the Bears back into hibernation. 

Cal has a steep history of competition against Stanford. The Bears maintained a clean sweep of Stanford in 2018, a three-season tradition they upheld until their loss in 2019. In 2019, the Cardinal ravaged Bear territory and walked off of Levine-Fricke Field with two consecutive wins. Stanford claimed its winning title once again in 2021 in its sole game against Cal. 

Some may call Cal the underdog in this arena, but the thrill of watching the underdog rise has the potential to carry the Bears through the weekend. In need of a big Pac-12 win, Cal could flip the switch on its season and take back its title as an up-and-coming softball program.

Stanford has been having a decent season: With an overall record of 26-10 and a conference record of 5-4, the Cardinal have been moving through the season without any major dips in their competitive flow. 

Most recently, Stanford defeated No. 2 UCLA back to back in its weekend series. Though each game was within a point of each other, Stanford proved it can hold its opponents to a no-scoring game and pull out a win. Additionally, Stanford beat Oregon State in one of three games. 

The defeat stands out because the Bears could not manage to keep even in competition with the Beavers. Nevertheless, Cal and Stanford played similarly against the competition at the DeMarini Invitational and against Utah.

This weekend’s action will begin Thursday at 3 p.m. PST at Levine-Fricke Field. The competition will continue Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m.

The terror of the Tree is entering Bear territory. There is just one question lingering at the foot of this weekend’s matchup: Will Cal walk off of the field clutching good or bad news?

Alisa Steel covers softball and women’s swim and dive. Contact her at [email protected].