BERKELEY – The Bears made it on the board first thanks to a RBI single from freshman Vanessa Alvarez in the bottom of the second, but No. 9 Arizona’s offense produced in each subsequent inning to top Cal by a final score of 15-5 Friday afternoon in Berkeley.
Cal’s starting pitcher sophomore Nisa Ontiveros (9-7) suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on three hits and two walks. All four of the runs came in the top of the third, when Ontiveros allowed two consecutive walks before Kellie Fox singled and Courtney Rodriguez scored on a Cal fielding error. Chelsea Goodacre drove in Hallie Wilson on a sac fly to right field and Katiyana Mauga doubled to score Fox, adding two more to the Wildcats’ inning. Freshman Katie Sutherland-Finch came in to relieve Ontiveros, but allowed Mauga to advance to third on an illegal pitch. Mo Mercado singled to drive in Mauga for Arizona’s final run of the third.
Junior Cheyenne Cordes responded in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot over the left field wall for her 10th homer of the season. With the score at 4-2 going into the fourth, Arizona was able to load the bases for Fox with two consecutive singles and a walk, and Fox took advantage with a two-RBI double.
The Bears were not ready to go down without a fight, and put two more on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Seniors Victoria Jones and LaRisa Jones, plus Cordes, each drew walks off Arizona pitcher Estela Pinon (12-5) to load the bases for freshman Kylie Reed, who singled up the middle to score V. Jones. With the bases still loaded, junior Danielle Henderson drew a walk to send L. Jones home.
In the top of the fifth, the Wildcats got runners in scoring position thanks to back-to-back doubles from Lauren Young and Cynthia Pelayo. Sutherland-Finch ran into trouble, first throwing an illegal pitch to score Arizona pinch runner Eva Watson, then walking C. Rodriguez and allowing Wilson to reach on a HBP. Kelsey Rodriguez hit a fielder’s choice to Cordes at shortstop, where Pelayo was tagged out at home, but C. Rodriguez was able to score and put another run on the board for the Cats.
In the top of the sixth, Arizona scored just one run following an illegal pitch from Sutherland-Finch that scored Mauga, but the Wildcats ran away with the game in the top of the seventh with a six-run rally. Arizona put together a string of two singles and a walk before K. Rodriguez and Fox recorded back-to-back doubles to clear the bases. Mauga finished her day 3-for-5, with her final hit a two-run long ball over the center field wall.
The Bears cut the Cats lead down by one run in the bottom of the seventh, as V. Jones scored on a grounder to the pitcher Shelby Babcock by L. Jones. Babcock earned the save, her first of the season, as Pinon picked up the win. Sutherland-Finch threw 3.1 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Taylor Cotton tossed one inning for the Bears, allowing one run on two hits.
Cal and Arizona face off again tomorrow at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m.. Sunday’s game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, with Krista Blunk and Tammy Blackburn on the call.
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