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Cal goes 2-2 in NCAA tournament, eliminated by No. 1 Oklahoma

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MAY 23, 2023

After competing in four NCAA tournament games at the Oklahoma Sooners’ Marita Hynes Field over the weekend, the Bears’ best season since 2018 came to an end. Cal split two games with Missouri, rolled past the Hofstra Pride and was ultimately shown the door by the top-ranked, 53-1 hosting Sooners.

Cal entered the city of Norman as losers of the Pac-12 tournament’s first round, where the Bears were defeated 6-2 by eventual champion Utah.

On Friday, Cal began its national level postseason run against the Missouri Tigers. The SEC program that finished its season as winners of 35 games cruised past the blue and gold, winning 5-1. Cal’s junior pitcher Sona Halajian was given the loss, putting her at 4-4 on the season.

With no choice, the Bears had to leave everything on the line for their next games — and they did.

Cal matched up with Hofstra for the first time in softball history Saturday, winning 7-0. The Bears hit four home runs in the victory, with senior catcher Makena Smith, sophomore infielder Acacia Anders, freshman infielder Elon Butler and junior catcher Kacey Zobac each tallying one apiece. The win kept Cal’s playoff hopes alive and also sent the Pride back home to Long Island.

As a result of the victory, the blue and gold had another date with Missouri just hours after beating Hofstra, with the winner facing the ever-intimidating No. 1 Oklahoma.

This time around, Cal handled business, defeating the Tigers 7-5 in a nail-biting shootout. Both sophomore pitcher Anna Reimers and junior pitcher Haylei Archer contributed about 3.5 innings on the mound en route to the win and, offensively, Smith and junior infielder Tatum Anzaldo each posted pairs of RBIs. The Bears outhit the Tigers 11-9, sending Hofstra home in the process.

Due to the luck of the NCAA tournament draw, Cal was stuck with playing the Sooners at some point over the weekend. Sunday’s matinee was the unfortunate due date for the Bears, and the game was nothing short of a disaster for the blue and gold.

The Bears, led by their ace in Archer on the mound, trailed by six runs before even earning two outs. Oklahoma didn’t allow Cal any breathing room as it knocked four balls out of the park in just the first inning. The Bears finished the game with only five hits, which was no match for the Sooners’ 19.

Archer was given the loss to finish her season with a record of 10-10, but it’s likely that none of the blue and gold’s pitchers would’ve been able to slow down Oklahoma’s levels of production.

Cal’s hopes and dreams of a championship were left in Norman, as the Bears were defeated 16-3 by the Sooners.

Cal did see a silver lining, though, as the team set a program record for doubles with 81 after a bomb from Anzaldo in the third inning.

Although the Bears didn’t end the season in their desired fashion, the year as a whole wasn’t a loss. Beyond multiple impressive wins and leading the Pac-12 in home runs, Cal won 35 games and returned to the national tournament for the first time in half a decade.

In February, Smith emphasized that, alongside the other seniors, she wanted to leave the program better than she found it. With this successful season, it’s safe to say that the program stepped up its level this year and third-year head coach Chelsea Spencer has a strong roster of players returning next season hopeful for another electric run.


Contact Joaquin Ruiz at 


MAY 23, 2023