Just as the Bears broke their losing streak, sending San Jose State back to their dugout, No. 14 Arizona State chilled Cal’s hot bats and swept it off the field after a swift weekend series.
Cal has slowly lost its momentum, and its members are now at a point in the season where they are reluctantly trudging on. With a 26-23-1 overall record and 6-12 conference record, Cal sits at the lower half of the Pac-12 rankings and has not exceeded the expectations that it had at the beginning of the season. Nevertheless, after an arduous weekend playing Miami, Cal bounced back with a 4-1 win against San Jose State.
Freshman pitcher Annabel Teperson held the weight of the team on her shoulders. In the circle, Teperson threw six innings with only one hit successfully landing in the field. The emerging yet prominent pitcher has begun to carry Cal softball through its challenging games with a win on the other side. Against San Jose State, Teperson once again proved that she is the future of Cal softball pitching, alongside sophomore teammate Sona Halajian.
Not only did Teperson make a name for herself on the field, but sophomore Alexis Bishop came out of the dugout swinging and returned with a grand slam under her belt.
In the fifth inning, with a 0-0 score, Bishop decided to unleash her bat. With three of her teammates on base, Bishop sent her fifth home run of the season over the left field fence. The four runs shuffled into home base to put Cal up by four and send it into the next two innings with insurance.
San Jose State tapped one pitch over the fence in the seventh inning, attempting a rally to beat Cal in its final at-bats, but it was unsuccessful. The Bears walked off the field with reinstated confidence, keeping their eyes on the prize: a clean sweep of Arizona State.
The Bears traveled down to Tempe to feel the wrath of the Sun Devils at the Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium. With a 35-7 overall record and 16-2 conference record, Arizona State appeared as a threat to Cal.
The Devils made their mark on the innocent Bears.
In the first game of the series, Cal jumped on top in the first inning with sophomore Tatum Anzaldo ripping the ball into a gap for a double, followed by freshman Acacia Anders’ RBI up the middle. However, this attack on the Sun Devils’ territory sparked retaliation.
Against Halajian, Arizona State scored seven runs in the bottom of the second inning, followed by two more runs in the fourth. The Bears mustered enough strength to score two runs in the fifth inning, but the Sun Devils refused to let these runs go unmatched. They scored another one in the bottom of the fifth, walking off the field with a 10-3 score in Arizona State’s favor.
With heavy heads, Cal walked back onto the field on Saturday, knowing the caliber of competition they were about to face. In a five-inning game, the Bears and Sun Devils went neck-and-neck for two innings until sophomore D’Asha Saiki laid her bat on the ball. Like a domino effect, Cal’s bats got rolling and its players slid into home twice, scoring the first two runs of the game. The Bears held the Devils in the bottom half of the second, but they lost hope in the bottom of the third.
Leading an assault on sophomore Haylei Archer’s pitching, Arizona State scored 11 runs, with two following in the next inning. Cal fought back in the top of the fifth and scored three runs, but it was to no avail. The Devils’ run ruled the Bears 13-5.
In the third and final game, Arizona State had no mercy for Cal. With Teperson in the circle, the Sun Devils consistently scored throughout the game, hitting eight runs by the fifth inning. The Bears laid down their bats at the hands of Arizona State pitcher Lindsay Lopez, restless and unable to score a run throughout the game. In a five inning game, the Arizona State run ruled Cal again, 8-0.
The Devils conquered the Bears. Yet, the Bears are onto the next Arizona softball program: the Wildcats.
Alisa Steel covers softball and women’s swim and dive. Contact her at [email protected].