Cal Returns To Action At No. 9 Arizona This Week
BERKELEY - After a two-week hiatus, the California softball team hits the road for two games this week. The Golden Bears will hop on a plane and head to Tucson to face No. 9 Arizona this Saturday and Sunday from Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
The Bears (16-12, 3-6) open the series with the Wildcats on Saturday, May 1, at 6 p.m. before the two-game series concludes on Sunday, May 2, at noon. Sunday's game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
In its most-recent week of competition, Cal took three out of four against Utah. The long ball was the ticket to success for the Bears, as Cal went yard six times in the four games, including three from Makena Smith who homered once in each win. Alexis Bishop, Sona Halajian and D'Asha Saiki also posted round trippers.
Smith is the only Bear who has started all 28 games this season. Her .354 batting average (29-for-82) ranks second after Bishop's .357 (10-for-28). Smith's three home runs against Utah were critical in the Bears' three wins. She also posted an RBI single in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader, giving her four RBI in a game for the first time this season and the second time in her career.
Bishop slugged her first career in the series opener against Utah. After only starting one game prior to the trip to Washington, Bishop started eight games in the last two weeks of play. In addition to leading the team in batting average, Bishop's .536 slugging percentage is second to Smith's .598. Bishop's team leading .471 on-base percentage has allowed her to reach base safely in her last nine straight games.
Mikayla Coelho has batted .500 in each of the last two weeks of play (12-for-24 combined). Three of her hits at Washington were doubles, and also a solo home run. Against Saint Mary's and Utah, she singled six times. Prior to the Washington series, Coelho was batting .227 with 10 hits on the year. On the season, Coelho is now batting .324. She is currently enjoying a nine-game hitting streak, as well.
Chloe Romero leads the Cal pitchers with a 2.27 ERA that currently ranks ninth in the Pac-12 rankings. Her seven wins are second to Haylei Archer's eight. Archer leads her squad with 47 strikeouts, but Romero is right behind her with 45. Romero earned her second save of the season against Utah. Archer and Romero each pitched in four games against the Utes, and both struck out 12 batters. Archer went 3-0 two weeks ago, garnering the win at Saint Mary's before picking up two victories over the Utes, including going six innings in the win in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader.
Cal faces Stanford for the third time this season on Wednesday, May 5, at 4 pm from Smith Family Stadium. The Bears will host No. 8 Oregon in the final weekend of the regular season. The Bears and Ducks will battle from Thursday, May 13, to Saturday, May 15, from Levine-Fricke Field.
Cal All-Time Against Arizona
Cal is 32-86 all-time against Arizona, but one of those 32 wins resulted in the Bears' 2002 national championship. Cal took one of the three games when these teams met in Berkeley in 2019, a 1-0 win in nine innings. The last time Cal won a series over the Wildcats was in 2013, taking two out of three over the No. 19 Wildcats in Tucson.
After being out of action for nearly three weeks, Cal has made some schedule changes this week and next week to make up some of the lost games. In addition to the Bears now only facing Arizona twice this weekend, Cal will play Stanford for the third time this season in a non-conference game at Smith Family Stadium on Wednesday, May 5, at 4 p.m. Cal was originally slated to face the Cardinal in a conference series at Stanford from April 16-18.
Cal is 6-1 when homering twice in a game this season. Cal blasted six home runs in four games against Utah, including three from Makena Smith. Sona Halajian, Alexis Bishop and D'Asha Saiki also went yard against the Utes. Prior to playing the Utes, Halajian's two-run round tripper was all the scoring in Cal's 2-0 win against Oregon State on March 20. The Bears erased a 4-1 deficit at Fresno State on March 14, capped by a grand slam by Aleia Agbayani to win, 7-5. In the 7-5 win over UC Santa Barbara on March 5, the Bears fell behind early, 3-0, and clawed their way back with Kacey Zobac's grand slam the deciding factor in the victory. Karlee Sparacino belted a grand slam on Feb. 26 in the Bears' 7-4 win over California Baptist. Sparacino also hit her third homer of the season in Cal's 2-0 win at Pacific on March 17. Sparacino knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh in the home opener against Saint Mary's after Candace Yingling's two-run homer evened the game with two outs.
Smith Named To The USA Softball Collegiate Player Of The Year Top 50 Watch List
During the preseason, Makena Smith was tabbed to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List. With a .354 batting average that ranks second on the team, Smith belted three home runs in four games against Utah, guiding the Bears to victory in each game she homered in. Her six home runs lead the team, as well. She has notched three-hit games on three occasions 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. Smith smacked her second home run of the season during the Bears' comeback victory over UC Santa Barbara on March 5. She's the only Bear to start every game this season. She's second on the team with seven multi-hit games in 2021, and a team-best six multi-RBI performances.