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Bear down: Cal heads to Arizona to finish regular-season play

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MAY 04, 2023

Defeated in their last three games, all against Oregon, the Bears hit Arizona this weekend to face the 27-22 Wildcats, rounding out their storied regular season.

The blue and gold, currently 31-17-1, last saw the Wildcats in May of last year. The three-game home series at Levine-Fricke Field saw the Bears win two of three, outscoring Arizona 18-8 through the series.

The latest edition of the series will be an emotional road trip for the Bears, as this will serve as the Cal seniors’ last regular-season series.

Tatum Anzaldo said she has been fighting her feelings when thinking about her older teammates’ time running out.

“These are the girls that I got recruited with, lived in the dorms with and have done the entire college thing with,” Anzaldo said. “It’s more motivation. I’m trying not to be sad about it. Why not make it the most memorable season for them?”

The Whittier local leads Cal with a .383 batting average and is coming off a dominant weekend against the Ducks — earning five hits in 11 at-bats. She must continue producing if the blue and gold plan on returning to the win column and extending the careers of the soon-to-be departing Bears.

Although emotions are high, the blue and gold have the opportunity to handle business against a vulnerable program. Arizona is struggling to reach the finish line and had a turbulent month of April, going 5-10 after starting the season with an impressive 22-12 record.

Despite the difference in record, the Wildcats remain a threat to the Bears. Arizona is second in the conference in on-base percentage, runs scored and hits, but holds many issues in the circle.

In order for the blue and gold to win the series, they simply have to be the best version of themselves offensively — Arizona’s best doesn’t compare. To do so, the Bears need to rely on their offense. Freshman Elon Butler is a name to follow, as she’s posted seven hits in her last six games.

“I’m just trying to keep everything one game at a time,” Butler said. “I know how talented I am and I know that if I keep doing me, I’m gonna be a great player.”

The infielder exudes confidence on the diamond and has been integral in keeping her team afloat throughout conference play. Butler is a building block that fans can expect third-year head coach Chelsea Spencer to rely on for years to come.

Historically, the Wildcats have dominated their Berkeley foes, winning 72% of 123 meetings. However, this Cal team is the best version that Arizona has seen in years. Only time will tell if the blue and gold can win their second series in Tucson since 2011.

At this point in the season, the Bears need to use the concluding series as a preliminary to the main show. Whatever errors, frustrations and negatives the team has will have to be left in Arizona as the “win or go home” games are just around the corner.

“Everyone in the conference is tired. Everyone in the country, I should say, is tired right now,” Anzaldo said. “We’re trying to get to the postseason and refresh. I think we just have to kick it into a gear that we don’t necessarily know we have yet, honestly.”

Cal has a polished resume this season thus far, winning games against No. 2 UCLA, No. 24 Utah and No. 8 Stanford. The Bears have to take care of business in Tucson but hope to enter the looming “second season” with high spirits and energy.

The first game against Arizona is slated for Friday, while game one of the Bears’ postseason is set for May 10 — as if finals week wasn’t nerve-racking enough.

Contact Joaquin Ruiz at 


MAY 04, 2023