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Three-Run Seventh Lifts Bears Over Gaels

Feb 21, 2021
Karlee Sparacino Singled Home The Game-Winning Run On Sunday

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BERKELEY - Down to its last out and trailing, 4-2, Candace Yingling belted a two-run home run and Karlee Sparacino later knocked in the game-winning run to lift the California softball team over Saint Mary's, 5-4, Sunday afternoon from Levine-Fricke Field in the 2021 home opener.

The Golden Bears improved to 1-1 on the year. 

Makena Smith got the day started on the right foot with her first home run of the season to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. The four-bagger also extended her hitting streak to 21 games. Smith finished the day 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs score.

Smith's extra base hit helped swing the momentum back to Cal in the bottom of the fifth. Trailing, 4-1, Smith sprayed a double to the corner in right that brought Sabrina Nunez home to cut the Saint Mary's lead down to 4-2.

The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the seventh. Smith started the rally with a single, giving Yingling the opportunity to tie the game, and she did just that with a towering shot over the left field wall. Later in the inning, Cal loaded the bases for Sparacino, and she slapped one in the left-center alley, causing the Cal bench to erupt as Sona Halajian crossed home plate for the win.

Halajian pitched five-and-two/thirds innings, striking out three and allowing two earned runs. She picked up the win after entering the game in relief of starting pitcher Alexandra Perez. At the plate, Halajian singled for the second straight day before walking and scoring the game-winning run. 

In addition to Smith's three hits, Sparacino, Yingling and Kacey Zobac each recorded two hits. Sparacino was a clean two-for-two after subbing in for D'Asha Saiki late in the game. 

Cal heads down to the south bay next week. The Bears will face Stanford and Cal Baptist in the Stanford Invitational from Feb. 26-27 before closing out the weekend at Santa Clara on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.