A booming seven-run first inning led to a midweek victory for Cal softball. This offensive explosion was a great end to the homestand and the momentum it may need for a successful upcoming away series.
With UC Davis in town for the first time this season, Cal was set to face an Aggies team that looked very similar in record to that of the Bears just a couple weeks ago. However, back-to-back series losses by Davis put its record under .500 at 18-22.
The blue and gold added a couple wins against Stanford to their record before entering Tuesday’s matchup, putting them at 24-18. In addition to having a record advantage over the Aggies, Cal has historically dominated against Davis, with a total of 15 wins in 16 games played. This game proved no different, with a total of nine runs being scored by Cal’s offense.
The Bears came out swinging early, tallying hit after hit for a total of seven runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Sona Halajian’s single with the bases loaded started the scoring and put a crooked number on the board immediately — Cal 2, Aggies 0. An error and some great baserunning added to the lead, which was capped off by a two-run homerun from Kennedy Thomas.
Davis started to claw back, scoring a run or two every inning after the first. In the top of the seventh, the Aggies completed the comeback, tying the game at eight runs a piece. However, the Bears were not fazed by the pressure put on them in the last inning, instead knowing their advantage of being the home team and having the last at-bats. In the bottom half of the seventh inning, Cal displayed fundamental offensive plays in order to get the job done and take a victory.
Halajian opened the inning with a single, which led to a great bunt to advance her to second. With two outs and a runner on second, Halajian swiped third on a steal in order to put her 60 feet away from home. Amani Bradley rifled a single through the left side for her 16th run batted in, or RBI, of the season, bringing in the winning run for Cal.
Halajian picked up her 17th win of the season and Tatum Anzaldo added three more hits to her season total of 63, which leads all of the Pac-12.
Coming off this victory, Cal travels away from Berkeley to Oxford, Ohio to play at one of the nicest softball facilities in the nation, Miami Softball Stadium. This magnificent space is home to the 2021 Mid-American Conference champion, the Redhawks.
With a record of 26-13, Miami seems to have a bit of a leg up and is in first place of its division. In spite of this, Cal has started to heat up since the series against Stanford and weather could play a role in this series, as rain is expected in Ohio over the weekend.
The Bears’ pitching will need to be careful of the Redhawks’ top of the lineup, with Allie Cummins and Karli Spaid. Cummins has over 40 hits with a batting average of .347, while Spaid has 50 hits while maintaining a batting average over .400. This one-two punch will go head-to-head with Cal’s tag team at the top of the lineup card of Anzaldo, Acacia Anders and Makena Smith.
Will the Bears continue their win streak in Ohio? Can we expect an offensive eruption, a pitcher’s duel or a one-sided game? Stay tuned to find out in the three-game series starting Friday at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Joshua Kamins covers softball. Contact him at [email protected].