Cal Plays Two At Stanford, Two At Home This Week
BERKELEY - Winners of four of its last five games in the first two weeks of the 2021 campaign, the California softball team returns to Stanford this weekend for two games at the DeMarini Invitational, followed by two home games in Berkeley.
Cal faces BYU first on Thursday, March 4, at 3:00 p.m., followed by the first of two weekend matchups against UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 5, at noon. The Bears face the Gauchos again on Saturday, March 6, at 1 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field, followed by another home game against Nevada on Sunday, March 7, at noon.
Getting an early look at Pac-12 and Bay Area rival Stanford, the Bears split the two matchups against the Cardinal last weekend. After a narrow 3-2 loss in the first meeting on Friday, Cal scored five runs in the first three innings en route to a 5-3 win to end the weekend.
Cal won three of its four games at the Stanford Invitational last weekend, picking up victories over California Baptist on each day, both by the score of 7-4.
Haylei Archer made her first career start in her second collegiate appearance in Cal's victory over Stanford. The true freshman pitcher struck out three Cardinal, including garnering a strikeout to end a Stanford rally with the bases loaded in the second.
Recording 17 hits combined in both games last Saturday (10 vs. Stanford, 7 vs. California Baptist), Cal posted its 12 combined runs with only two extra base hits, a double by Kacey Zobac against California Baptist and a double by Cameron Kondo against Stanford. Kennedy Thomas posted the Bears' first three-bagger of the year with a triple in Friday's game against the Lancers.
Karlee Sparacino smacked the biggest hit of the weekend on Friday in the opening game of the weekend. Sparacino blasted a grand slam to help propel the Bears to their 7-4 victory. It was Sparacino's fifth career home run, and her first since opening day 2020 at Florida International.
Makena Smith had her 22-game hitting streak snapped in Friday's matchup against Stanford. She came back the next day with three hits against California Baptist. Smith is batting .409 on the year (9-for-22) with a pair of three-hit games - last Friday against the Lancers and in the home opener against Saint Mary's.
Chloe Romero was also solid in the circle last weekend, picking up the win in both victories over California Baptist. Her 0.78 ERA currently ranks seventh in the Pac-12.
Making their season debuts last weekend, Sophie Medellin and Lauren Espalin each posted four hits across the four games played. Medellin added two RBI and a run scored, while Espalin scored four times with an RBI and a stolen base, Cal's first of 2021.
Cal embarks on its first true road trip next weekend. The Bears head down to Fresno State for the Bulldog Classic from March 12-13. Cal will face UC Davis and Fresno State in doubleheaders on both days.
Cal All-Time Against BYU, UC Santa Barbara and Nevada
Cal is 10-4 all-time against BYU. The Bears and Cougars faced each other at the Judi Garman Invitational last season in Fullerton with BYU emerging as 10-3 winners. The Bears won the previous two meetings before 2020, including a 12-4 opening day victory in 2015. Cal Athletics Hall of Famer Kelly Anderson pitched a no-hitter against BYU in 2005.
The Bears are 25-5 all-time against UC Santa Barbara. Cal won the most-recent meeting, 11-0, in five innings in 2019. In addition, the Bears haven't allowed a run against the Gauchos in their last three meetings. Cal is currently enjoying a 13-game winning streak against UCSB.
Cal is 26-15-1 all-time vs. Nevada. In April of 2019, the Bears garnered a 3-2 victory in 10 innings in the most-recent matchup between these teams. Cal Athletics Hall of Famer Leslie Partch pitched Cal's first no-hitter in school history against the Wolf Pack, and the Bears have collected three no-hitters and one perfect game (Robyn Burgess, 1989) total against Nevada.
Smith Named To The USA Softball Collegiate Player Of The Year Top 50 Watch List
Makena Smith, who enjoyed a 22-game hitting streak, was tabbed to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List. Smith boasts two three-hit games thus far in 2021, including a 3-for-4 day in the home opener on Feb. 21 against Saint Mary's with a home run and an RBI double. The day after having her hitting streak snapped, Smith rebounded with a three-hit day (all singles) in Cal's 7-4 win over California Baptist on Feb, 27. She scored twice and picked up two RBI in four games at the Stanford Invitational last weekend.
In 2020, Smith paced the Bears in hitting with a .481 batting average that ranked tied for first in the Pac-12 and tied for 21st in the nation.
In the final 2020 Pac-12 ranks, Smith finished tied for second in hits (37), tied for seventh in slugging percentage (.727), eighth in on-base percentage (.512) and tied for eighth in doubles with seven. Smith had also previously garnered 2019 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors.
The top 25 finalists for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced on April 21.
Archer Aces The Cardinal
Making her first career start in her second collegiate appearance, Haylei Archer was stingy in the circle against the Cardinal, earning the complete game win. Battling through pressure situations, Archer got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning with a strikeout to stop the rally. Archer allowed two earned runs on eight hits, no walks and she recorded three strikeouts. The day before, Archer notched a season-high six strikeouts against California Baptist in three innings of work.
Archer's efforts have helped Cal post a team ERA of 2.63 through the first six games of the season, an improvement from the 4.44 ERA at the end of the 2020 campaign.
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