Softball Edged by Cal 3-2 in Series Opener
BERKELEY, Calif. – A game that had been a pitchers' duel through four innings turned into a home-run fest in the fifth, and the host Cal Bears got the better of the battle to defeat Utah, 3-2, Friday in the opening matchup of a four-game Pac-12 series at Levine-Fricke Field.
Utah is now 15-16 (1-9 Pac-12) while Cal improves to 14-11 (2-5). Starter Mariah Lopez (4-9) pitched all six innings for the Utes, allowing six hits and three walks, while striking out three. Haylei Archer (7-3) earned the win in relief for Cal.
Alyssa Palacios broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a leadoff home run, her second of the year, and the Utes added one more run in the inning when Halle Morris singled to left to bring home Haley Denning. Denning had reached base on a single and moved to second when Alyssa Barrera was hit by a pitch.
Cal answered in the bottom of the fifth with three runs on a solo home run and a two-run shot to take a 3-2 lead that it would not relinquish. Needing to rally, Utah was unable to muster a hit against Archer, who struck out four of the seven batters she faced.
Leadoff batter Haley Denning went 2-4 at the plate, and scored a run, to register her team-leading 14th multi-hit game of the season.
- The solo home run by Alyssa Palacios in the fifth was her second of the year.
- Utah is now 5-3 in one-run games this season.
- Mariah Lopez started and added three strikeouts to improve her team-leading total to 46 on the season.
- Haley Denning (2-4) leads the team with 14 multi-hit games, including 8 with two hits and 6 with three hits.
- Alyssa Barrera and Jordyn Gasper each saw their team-leading five-game hitting streaks come to an end today.
Utah and Cal will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday with the first game scheduled to start at 1 p.m. MT. The first game will be televised on Pac-12 Network, while the second contest can be watched on the Pac-12 Now app.