BERKELEY -- The California softball team takes on another top 10 opponent this weekend when the second-ranked UCLA Bruins come to towb beginning Friday. First pitch of series play begins Friday at 3 p.m., followed by games on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon. This is the fourth weekend in a row that the Bears meet a top 10 ranked opponent.
ALL BASES COVERED For complete coverage of this weekend’s games, follow @CalSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates. Live stats will be available at CalBears.com, and the Pac-12 Networks will broadcast Sunday’s game live at noon with Tammy Blackburn and Guy Haberman on the call.
BEARS FOR BEBE Sunday marks a very special day for Cal as the team celebrates its partnership with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and Barbara “Bebe” Wiggs. The Bears adopted Bebe in 2010 after she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of pediatric cancer, and since then she has made a miraculous recovery. Bebe celebrates holidays and her birthday with the team and can often be seen cheering in the stands for her beloved Bears. In honor of their special, brave and strong teammate, the Bears dedicate a game to her every year for Bears for Bebe Day.
SCOUTING UCLA Cal’s familiar foe and UC counterpart Bruins are balanced all-around, with an offense batting .334 and a pitching staff giving up an average of just 1.60 earned runs. On the offensive side, Allexis Bennett tops the charts with a .429 batting average, but the real damage comes from Stephany LaRosa (.414, 23 runs, 12 home runs, 38 RBI) and Mysha Sataraka (.341, 27 runs, 13 home runs, 43 RBI). Ally Carda, batting .379 with 40 runs scored and 42 RBI, does double duty for the Bruins, also pitching with a 1.51 ERA and a 23-2 record. Jessica Hall has 24 appearances in the circle and a 1.67 ERA with a 15-2 record. The Bruin pitching staff is limiting opponents to a .200 batting average and has given up only 19 home runs.
LAST TIME OUT Cal claimed a much-needed win over the Sacramento State Hornets with a 8-0 victory in six innings. Stephanie Trzcinski tossed a career-high 11 strikeouts while seven different players notched hits, including two crucial hits by Jordan Wallace. In their most recent Pac-12 outing, the Bears were overpowered by Oregon and the Ducks swept the series with a pair of run-rule wins and a 7-2 finale.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND Cheyenne Cordes continues to lead the Bears in nearly every offensive category -- batting average (.438), runs (42), hits (56), doubles (12), home runs (13), RBI (37) and slugging percentage (.852). She is one of four Bears batting above .300, with Kylie Reed (.362), Danielle Henderson (.359) and Breana Kostreba (.347) all powering the offense. Henderson has drawn a team-leading 39 walks in strong performances at the plate, and Vanessa Alvarez (.296) and Jordan Wallace (.268) have also seen a surge of great hits at the plate as of late. Stephanie Trzcinski picked up her third shutout of the season on the heels of a career-high 11 strikeout performance against Sacramento State and is now 8-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 87.1 innings. Nisa Ontiveros has a team-leading 4.01 ERA and 9-8 record, with a 4.90 ERA total between the Bears’ pitching staff.
DUE UP Cal’s Pac-12 road finale takes place in Utah, where the Bears meet the Utes beginning Thursday, May 1 and continuing until Saturday, May 3. After that, Cal returns home to Berkeley to host the final Pac-12 series of the season with three games against Washington.