Cal Baseball wins series at No.25 USC; Softball wins series over No.7 Washington
Both Cal Baseball and Softball won two straight after dropping the Friday opener
When the seasons are over, we might look back at this past weekend as when both Cal Baseball and Cal Softball really turned things around. Cal Bears earned pivotal Pac-12 series victory over ranked opponents in thrilling fashions.
Cal Baseball (10-9, 3-3 in Pac-12)
While I had mentioned the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament at the season’s end where the conference automatic bid will be awarded, I left out that only 8 of 11 Pac-12 Baseball teams will get to compete in that double-elimination tournament. So the regular Pac-12 season does matter somewhat.
The Golden Bears started Pac-12 play two weekends ago with a home series vs. No.16 Arizona.
The Bears won their Pac-12 opener 9-8 via a wild come-back. Wild is a particularly appropriate word here since the Bears took advantage of two wild pitches and a passed ball already in B9 to score 4-runs to set up this moment below (ignore the incorrect score on the Cal video stream).
For the second time already in the year, freshman Rodney Green Jr. scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Cal head coach Mike Neu shuffled his weekend rotation for this Arizona series, moving Steven Zobac back to the pen from being the Saturday starter. Joseph King moved from Sunday to Saturday with the Bears going with an opener in Henrik Reinertsen ahead of Connor Sullivan as the bulk guy on Sunday. Against a very good Arizona offense, the entire Cal pitching staff struggled.
Arizona won 10-4 on Saturday and jumped out to a huge 9-run in T1 lead against Reinerstsen en route to win 13-5 on Sunday.
For spearheading the effort to save Cal Baseball when the program was about to be cut in 2010, Stu Gordon is now honored with his name in Cal Baseball’s home. Evans Diamond is now Evans Diamond at Stu Gordon Stadium.
Cal rebounded from a tough weekend with a 17-5 midweek rout at San Jose State.
Moving on to this past weekend, Cal ace Josh White struggled in B1 to allowed 5-runs to the Trojans on Friday night. White, possibly changing his approach to inducing more contact, did last for 7-innings but only got 3 K’s. His effort does preserve the Cal bullpen nonetheless. USC took game 1 by a 6-2 result.
Cal 9, USC 5
Keshawn Ogans got 4-hits on Saturday. Joseph King was solid in allowing just 1-run in 5.1 IP. While lefty Chris Stamos was able to preserve a 2-1 lead in B6, he allowed the first two batters to reach in B8 when Cal had a 5-1 lead. Steven Zobac became the latest Cal Bear to blow a lead before Nick Proctor got out of the jam.
One thing that you can count on these 2022 Cal Bears to do is to fight until the final out. Dylan Beavers hit a two-run shot for the Bears to retake the lead.
Dylan Beavers also hit a triple earlier in the game.
The Bears added two more insurance runs and Proctor was able to finish the game.
This win set up the rubber match (a term from rubber bridge, although duplicate bridge is the much better setup) for Sunday.
Cal 3, USC 2
After being used for multiple innings behind Steven Zobac on Saturdays, lefty freshman Ian May earned his first collegiate start.
May went 5.1 IP while allowing only two runs, one earned.
Cole Elvis gave him the lead (which turned into his first collegiate win) with a two-run single in T5.
Christian Becerra, Chris Stamos, and Nick Proctor were able to hold the Trojans scoreless for the rest of the game. Trojans got the potential winning run at the plate but he lined out into a double play to end the game.
Cal won a series at USC for the first time since 2014. The Bears also improved to a 6-5 record against ranked opponents on the season. The Bears are now ranked 45th (up from 79th) in the College Baseball RPI.
Cal will host Cal Poly from Evans Diamond at Stu Gordon Stadium on Tuesday. The Oregon State Beavers (14-4, 4-2 in Pac-12) with the 17th best RPI will visit Berkeley on the weekend.
Cal Softball (20-9, 2-1 in Pac-12)
A season-ending Pac-12 Softball tournament will start in 2023. Unlike the case for the men, all 9 teams will get to participate in the single-elimination event.
Cal Softball is coming off a 2-2 trip in Hawaii where they did get run ruled by No.1 Oklahoma 8-0 in 5 innings.
The Bears started Pac-12 play by hosting No.7 Washington Huskies.
Although Makena Smith hit her team-leading 8th homer off UW ace Gabbie Plain on Friday, Cal could not hold on to the 2-0 lead and lost 4-2 in the opener.
Cal 4, Washington 3
Freshman Acacia Anders capped a perfect 4-for-4 day with a game-winning walk-off homer.
You can check out the rest of this game’s highlight via a fan’s compilation on YouTube. For whatever reason, the Pac-12 Networks recap of this game does not exist on their YouTube page.
Sona Halajian went 7 innings while allowing only three runs to pick up the win.
Cal 6, Washington 5
UW went up by 3-runs in T4 but the Bears will not quit. Anders hit her 5th dinger. Tatum Anzaldo got three hits, including the bunt hit that tied the game and induced the throwing error that allowed the Cal go-ahead run to score cross the plate in B6.
Halajian picked up her 12th win of the season with 4 strong innings in relief.
Prior to this series win, Cal was ranked 55th in the College Softball RPI. They should move up after taking two from the 12th ranked Washington.
Cal will next host Sacramento State from Levine-Fricke Field on Wednesday. They then travel to Eugene for the weekend to take on the Oregon Ducks (21-4, 2-1 in Pac-12).
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!