Bears Lose Heartbreaker To BYU, 8-7
STANFORD - Down to its final out in the seventh inning, Karlee Sparacino belted her second home run of the season to tie Thursday afternoon's game against BYU at seven, giving the California softball team new life. But the Cougars homered in the bottom of the eighth to win, 8-7, at the DeMarini Invitational at Smith Family Stadium at Stanford. The Golden Bears fell to 4-3 on the year.
Cal overcame two BYU leads over the course of the game, battling to the end.
The Cougars struck first in the bottom of the second with a pair of runs.
Tying the game for the first time in the fourth inning, Sona Halajian began the comeback with a single to start the frame. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for Sparacino who also walked, which plated Cal's first run of the day and cut BYU's lead down to 2-1. The next batter, Cameron Kondo, tied the game with an RBI ground out.
A pair of doubles in the bottom of the fifth gave BYU three runs and a 5-2 lead, but Cal answered right back in the top of the sixth. Kennedy Thomas singled and Sophie Medellin reached on an error to start the inning. A fielder's choice by Sparacino put runners at the corners with one out. Kondo notched her second RBI of the day with a base hit up the middle that scored Thomas and cut the BYU lead down to 5-3. An RBI single by Makena Smith drove home Sparacino to make it 5-4. Smith posted two hits on the day and Thomas scored two runs against the Cougars.
The Cougars went right back up by three with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.
In their final crack at it, Halajian once again sparked the Bears' rally with a walk to start the top of the seventh. Pinch hitting, Lauren Espalin singled to set the table for Sparacino who tied it at seven with her long ball.
Sparacino's homer was her second hit of the day, finishing 2-for-3 with 4 RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
Mikayla Coelho also swung a hot bat on Thursday, notching two doubles.
Making her second consecutive start, Haylei Archer pitched tough, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. With one out, Archer forced back-to-back ground outs to get the Bears out of the inning with no damage done. Archer also posted back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. Halajian entered the circle in relief of Archer in the fifth inning and went the rest of the way, suffering the loss.
Cal stays down at Stanford for the first of two weekend games against UC Santa Barbara. Friday's game starts at noon.