BERKELEY – On Friday, it was Cal who got on the board first with a leadoff homer before ultimately losing to No. 9 Arizona. Saturday, however, saw a reversal of fortune as the Cats scored with a long ball in the first inning but the Bears emerged as the winners. Cal claimed the W in six innings after powering to a 9-1 final thanks to a grand slam by sophomore Vanessa Alvarez and a walk-off home run from junior Cheyenne Cordes. The Bears jump to 21-16 and 4-5 in Pac-12 play.
Kelsey Rodriguez’s zinger at the top of the first was Arizona’s only run of the day as the Bears held tough through six innings with a stout and errorless defense while tallying six hits on the offensive side. Freshman Stephanie Trzcinski (6-6) limited the Wildcats to just four hits and two walks and delivered three strikeouts in her complete-game performance, while Arizona used three pitchers in the run-rule loss. Wildcat pitchers gave up seven free bases on walks with the loss going to starter Kenzie Fowler (7-4), who pitched just one out before making way for Estela Pinon in the circle.
The Bears defense tightened up after Rodriguez’s top of the first homer and then quickly got going when Cordes hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of one. Batters 3 through 7 in the order all drew walks starting with junior Danielle Henderson, and by the time Alvarez got up to the plate, the Bears were already up 3-1 from Cordes, Henderson and junior Breana Kostreba all scoring on walks and Fowler was sent back to the dugout. With the diamond full, Alvarez sent a shot over the right center wall for her first collegiate grand slam and a sizable 7-1 lead for the Bears. Coming into this weekend’s series, Arizona’s opponents were just 4-for-38 when batting with the bases loaded.
Cal plated another at the bottom of the fifth starting when Pinon offered up the only base on balls of her 3.2 inning performance to Henderson, who drew her team-leading 31st walk of the season. Junior Mary Lee entered the game to pinch run for Henderson at first and then made her way to third base on a pair of singles from Kostreba and senior Ashley Decker. A sacrifice fly to right field by freshman Alleah Laxamana put Cal just one run away from the mercy-rule victory, 8-1, before Cordes clinched the game with a leadoff and walk-off home run at the top of the sixth.
Cordes finished 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Alvarez was 2-for-2 with a run scored and four RBI. Laxamana had two RBI from a walk and her sac fly.
Cal returns to play the rubber game Sunday at noon. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Tammy Blackburn on the call.
Follow the Bears on social media for behind-the-scenes action at: