After losing back-to-back series, Cal returned home to Levine-Fricke Field for a strong performance against Arizona, taking two of three games and outscoring its opponent by 10 runs. Is this the end-of-season momentum the team needs going into the final games against UCLA?
As the end of dead week approached, the Bears’ bats came to life. Cal put on a hitting clinic in games one and two, tallying a total of 18 hits and 16 runs. In Friday’s matchup, leadoff batter Makena Smith went three for four with an RBI single in the fourth inning. She got support behind her as Tatum Anzaldo and Acacia Anders each recorded a hit and an RBI, with Anders’ coming off a solo home run in the fifth.
Other standout performances included two hits, an RBI and a run scored from center fielder Amani Bradley as well as a three-run homer and complete-game pitching gem from Sona Halajian. In her seven innings pitched, Halajian allowed only one earned run and punched out six Wildcat hitters.
However, Halajian and the Bears’ pitching staff could not keep Allie Skaggs off the stat sheet over the weekend. She collected four hits, two of which were home runs. Unfortunately for Arizona fans, her efforts were not enough to get her team a series win against Cal’s reinvigorated offense.
The Bears carried their momentum into the second game of the series, capitalizing with an eight-run fifth inning, highlighted by a Kacey Zobac three-run home run, a D’Asha Saiki two-run homer, an Anzaldo RBI double and an Anders two RBI single to top it off .
Going into the series finale, Cal looked for a Mother’s Day win for the mama Bears cheering in the stands. To their dismay, the Wildcats came out swinging early, taking a 4-0 lead in the third. The efforts of Halajian and Anders to tally two runs in the fourth were not not enough to answer back as Cal’s offense hushed to conclude the series.
Halajian’s two home runs this weekend were numbers 12 and 13 on the season, her 11th occurring back over a month ago on March 27 in Oregon. She went five straight series without a long ball, but with these two in a span of three games this weekend, she reminded fans of her big power. Let’s see if her hot bat will continue when the team travels to Los Angeles for the final matchup of the regular season.
An under-the-radar contributor over the three games was Kennedy Thomas, getting on base, capitalizing in clutch situations and putting pressure on the Arizona’s defense at the bottom of the Bears’ lineup. Thomas finished the weekend four for nine with an RBI and two runs scored, along with great defense to put away Wildcat hitters in both corner outfield spots.
Cal is putting the pieces together once again as the season comes to a close, rejuvenating its offense and cleaning up its defense. The Bears have only committed two errors in their last six games played, readjusting after surrendering three errors in just two games before this six-game stretch.
Next, Cal heads to sunny Los Angeles to face the 40-win and No. 4 team of UCLA. The Bruins are coming off only their second series loss of the entire season, so the Bears have the momentum advantage in their favor. Can Cal finish its season with an exclamation point in the city of angels?
Joshua Kamins covers softball. Contact him at [email protected].