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Cal Hosts No. 11 Oregon In Regular Season Final Series

May 11, 2021
Sabrina Nunez Was Solid In The Leadoff Spot Last Weekend

BERKELEY - California softball head coach Chelsea Spencer will be looking at some familiar foes in the opposite dugout this weekend when the Golden Bears host No. 11 Oregon in the final series of the regular season from Thursday, May 13, to Saturday, May 15, from Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.          

Spencer was a member of the Oregon coaching staff from 2013-18, and she added a lot of impressive accolades to her resume, including five 50-win campaigns and four appearances in the WCWS. In addition, Spencer was part of an Oregon coaching staff that won the 2016 Pac-12 Coaching Staff of the Year award.  

Cal (17-16, 3-8) begins the series with the Ducks on Thursday at 3 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Friday starting at noon and the regular season finishes on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Senior Day. 

Makena Smith is the only Bear who has started all 33 games this season. She leads the Bears with seven home runs, including notching her seventh at Long Beach State last Saturday. The homer was a three-run shot, giving her a team-best seven multi-RBI performances this season. 

Cal's leading hitter in Pac-12 play is Mikayla Coelho, who is batting .458 (11-for-24). Although her team-best 11-game hitting streak was snapped at Stanford last Wednesday, Cal's veteran outfielder/designated player collected hits in both games during last Saturday's doubleheader at Long Beach State.   

Sabrina Nunez took advantage of batting in the leadoff spot in Long Beach last weekend. Nunez was all over the base paths in Cal's 7-1 win in Game 1 against The Beach on Saturday, garnering two hits, a walk and she scored twice. Her .352 batting average (19-for-54) ranks first on the team. 

In the circle, Chloe Romero tied Haylei Archer for the team lead in wins last Saturday as Romero picked up her second complete game victory of the season in Cal's 7-1 win in Game 1 of the doubleheader at Long Beach State. Romero also entered Game 2 in relief of starter Sona Halajian, getting the Bears out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Halajian went six strong in Game 2, allowing just one run.  

One of Cal's pinch runners this season, Diamond Holland made an impact in Game 2 last Saturday. With the Bears trailing, 1-0, in the top of the seventh, Holland stole second, forcing an errant throw and another ensuing error by Long Beach State that allowed her to come all the way around and score the game-tying run and extend the contest into extra innings. 

Prior to the start of Saturday's regular season finale, the Bears will honor the six Bears playing in Berkeley for the final time - Mikayla Coelho, Lauren Espalin, Cameron Kondo, Karlee Sparacino, Sabrina Nunez and Chloe Romero. 

Cal All-Time Against Oregon
Cal is 79-52 all-time against Oregon. In 2019, the Bears took one out of three in Eugene, winning the series finale, 5-3. The last time these teams met in Berkeley, the Ducks swept the three-game series. The last time Cal won a series against Oregon was in 2012 when the Bears took two out of three on the road. These teams were scheduled to meet in the Pac-12 opening series in 2020 the week the season was cancelled due to the COVID-10 pandemic.     

Coelho Batting Close To .500 In Pac-12 Games
In Pac-12 games, Mikayla Coelho is batting .458 (11-for-24), and also enjoyed a team-best 11-game hitting streak until it was snapped last Wednesday at Stanford. She batted .500 during the series at Washington and the following week at Saint Mary's and the Utah series. Three of her hits at Washington were doubles, and also a solo home run. Against Saint Mary's and Utah, she singled six times. Coelho went three-for-four with a double and an RBI in the two-game series at Arizona. Prior to the Washington series, Coelho was batting .227 with 10 hits. On the season, Coelho is batting .333, tied for second best on the team.  

Smith Continues To Lead The Bears
During the preseason, Makena Smith was tabbed to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List, and she followed up the preseason accolade by leading the Bears all season long. Smith is 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 seven multi-RBI performances.     

She belted three home runs in four games against Utah, guiding the Bears to victory in each game she homered in. Her seven home runs lead the team, as well, as she belted her seventh homer last Saturday at Long Beach State. 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. 

Homers Help
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. Saiki also homered at Long Beach State last weekend. 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.