Cal baseball is coming off of a disappointing sweep against Big Series rival, No. 11 Stanford.
After its bats were silenced in a 2-6 loss in the series’ first game, the Bears looked well on their way to rebound in the second leg as they got out to an early 7-0 lead. However, Kody Huff’s fourth-inning homer ignited a Cardinal comeback — Stanford’s pitching staff shut out Cal for the remainder of the contest, and their bats clawed the team back into the game. After tying the Bears 7-7 at the end of the sixth inning, the Cardinal won on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth frame to complete their comeback and clinch the series.
Cal, understandably disappointed by its collapse, could not rally in the series’ third game. Stanford’s bats got hot early, thrusting it into an early 5-0 lead — a lead it was ultimately able to maintain to win 11-3.
After their comprehensive series sweep against the Cardinal, the Bears will be looking to rebound against New Mexico, this weekend’s opponents. Cal will host the Lobos in their last out-of-conference series of the year.
New Mexico, similarly to the Bears, has had a topsy-turvy season. The Lobos are 19-28 over a season, including impressive victories they notched against No. 11 Arizona and No. 9 Texas Tech. Yet, this also includes humbling defeats they were served by lower opposition — including a 27-6 defeat against UNLV.
Cal, which has a 22-25 record in a more competitive conference, will be the favorites heading into this weekend’s clash. The program’s three consecutive series losses (No. 13 UCLA, No. 25 Oregon, and No. 11 Stanford) may have eroded some of its confidence, but its characteristic inconsistency of the first half of the season suggests that it will never ride waves of momentum, good or bad, for too long.
Looking to turn their fortunes around against New Mexico, the Bears will rely even more heavily on their one constant throughout their unstable season: star first-baseman Nathan Martorella. Martorella, who won Pac-12 player of the week in early April, has recorded a hit in twelve consecutive games — a streak that spans back to April 19’s game against USF. Cal will be keen to ensure that his form at the plate continues as it heads into crucial season-ending games.
The blue and gold’s weekend series, starting Friday, May 13, will be played at Stu Gordon Stadium and is available for streaming on Cal Live Stream-2.
Colin Mequet covers baseball. Contact him at [email protected].