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Bears travel north for more Pac-12 action

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MARCH 15, 2023

After its first series against a Pac-12 opponent, Cal holds an 18-6 record, 1-2 against conference opponents, putting it in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-12.

No. 2 UCLA was quite the opponent for the Bears this past weekend. But, good news for Cal fans, the next four outings look to be much more favorable for the blue and gold.

Cal will wrap up a four-game stint at home against Fresno State, then take the road to face conference opponent Oregon State in a three-game series. 

The blue and gold have not shown any signs of weakness playing on unfamiliar territory away from Levine-Fricke Field, winning five out of six road games at this point in the season.

The Fresno State Bulldogs have lost both Pac-12 matchups this season with a combined score differential of -11 points. They recently broke their eight-game losing streak, but sit eighth in the Mountain West Conference at 8-13.

Cal showcased a 10-0 shutout in just five innings the last time these two met. The Bears lead the all-time series against the Bulldogs with a 12-4 record leading into this week’s contest. 

“I think that we got a lot of great people on this squad, we want to win, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there,” said senior catcher Makena Smith.

Smith’s senior campaign is on pace to be her best one yet, with a chance to break her career high in runs (32), hits (54), home runs (13) and RBIs (39). Smith has led Cal with 23 runs, 25 hits, 8 home runs and 22 RBIs in just 24 outings in the season. She is currently tied for third place in home runs in the Pac-12, solidifying herself as a matchup nightmare for opposing pitchers.

However, Smith attributes her success to the team and isn’t playing for individual stats or accomplishments.

“It doesn’t mean anything if I don’t have (my teammates). They give me life … So I come out here to do my best for them,” Smith said. “They (have) got my back no matter what. They pick me up when I’m down and they keep me going when I’m up.” 

After their homestand, the Bears will compete in a three-game series against the Oregon State Beavers as they travel north.

The Beavers sit at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings with a 9-14 record, 0-3 against the conference, but fans should anticipate quite the even matchup. Though a six-game losing streak won’t provide any momentum, a five-game winning streak that dates back to 2021 against the Bears grants a mental advantage heading into the game. 

On paper, the Beavers seem like an easy sweep, but if the UCLA series taught Cal anything, it was that conference opponents will always provide a tougher battle. 

Junior infielder, Tatum Anzaldo, commented on the team’s early success.

“It has validated who we want to be … and the program we wanna turn ourselves into. That’s pretty much motivation in itself, knowing that we can compete,” Anzaldo said.

Anzaldo has contributed not only in the infield this season, but in the outfield as well, a staple for the Bears.

A 10-game absence in February has limited Anzaldo to log only 14 matches this season. Nonetheless, she has brought a personality to this ballclub, being electric on both sides. 

Leading the Bears in batting average, Anzaldo’s .395 marks the highest average in her collegiate career. Her impact is also seen on the defensive side — among players who have had at least 20 chances, Anzaldo ranks top three on the team in fielding percentage at 97.8%, another career high for the junior.

Look for her and the Bears to rally up as they hit the road to take on their second Pac-12 rival of the season.

Contact Eric Hayrapetian at 


MARCH 15, 2023