BERKELEY - The Golden Bears were outpowered by No. 7 Arizona State's explosive offense, as the Sun Devils handed Cal its second loss of the series Saturday at Levine-Fricke Field. The game was Cal's (20-13, 3-3 Pac-12) 13th loss of the season and third of Pac-12 play.
Despite the 10-2 final score, the game remained close through the first five innings. Arizona State pitcher Mackenzie Popescue (17-1) struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning, walking Cal’s leadoff batter Cheyenne Cordes. Thanks to a sac-bunt from freshman Kylie Reed, Cordes advanced to second as power-hitter Danielle Henderson approached the plate. Henderson knocked one out of the park to put Cal at an early 2-0 lead.
Arizona State’s first batter of the second inning, Haley Steele quickly answered with a solo home run. Cal starter Katie Sutherland-Finch struggled in the second, walking two batters before allowing Bailey Wigness to drive in a RBI single.
With the score tied, Nisa Ontiveros took over for Sutherland-Finch and quickly worked her way out of the second inning by forcing a grounder to shortstop Cordes.
The score remained tied until the fifth inning, when the Sun Devils were able to load the bases for pinch-hitter Chelsea Gonzales, who then cleared them with a three RBI double.
Cal had the chance to shorten ASU’s lead in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with singles from Cordes, Henderson and Kostreba, but all three were left stranded to keep the score at 5-2.
The Sun Devils added five more in the top of the sixth thanks in part to Haley Steele’s second homer of the game – this time a three run shot to left center. Elizabeth Caporuscio found base with a double before Bethany Kemp cleared the bases once more with a two-run homer to left center.
The Bears weren’t able to get anyone in scoring position or drive in any runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the game was then decided thanks to the eight-run rule with Ontiveros (9-6) taking the loss.
Arizona State moved to 34-6 overall and 8-3 in Pac-12 play, while Popescue allowed two earned runs and struck out 4 while tossing all six innings for the Sun Devils.
Cal and Arizona State will close out the three-game series Sunday at 11 a.m. The contest will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.