BERKELEY, Calif. -- Facing a top 10 opponent for the fourth consecutive weekend, California softball came out strong but could not overcome No. 2 UCLA in both games of a twinbill. The Bruins defeated the Bears 11-1 in five innings in the first game, and 9-7 in the second game of the doubleheader at Levine-Fricke Field Saturday afternoon. Cal is now 23-22 on the season, and 4-11 in Pac-12 play.
The Bear offense tallied 13 hits including two doubles and two home runs between the two games, but Cal’s pitching staff gave up six home runs to the Bruins. 16 of UCLA’s 20 total runs came off home runs, with two grand slams, a pair of three-run homers and a pair of solo homers.
Both of UCLA’s grand slams came in the first game, with one at the top of the third by Delaney Spaulding and another at the top of the fourth by Gabrielle Maurice. UCLA added another run at the top of the fourth after Alyssa Tiumalu drew a leadoff walk, moved two bases on a single and then came home on a single by Ally Carda. The Bruins scored another two runs at the top of the fifth on a sac fly by Spaulding and an RBI single up the middle by Stephany LaRosa that scored pinch runner Jessica Amaral.
Cal avoided the shutout with a two-out rally at the bottom of the fifth. Senior LaRisa Jones slapped an infield single and moved to second after junior Cheyenne Cordes drew a walk. Freshman Kylie reed singled to center field to score Jones from two bases over and earn credit for the RBI.
Carda (24-2) earned the victory after working four innings and allowing only two hits and a walk. Jessica Hall relieved her for the final inning and allowed two hits and a run while walking two. Sophomore Nisa Ontiveros started the game for the Bears, tossing three strikeouts and allowing two hits in two innings in the circle. Katie Sutherland-Finch (6-4) and Taylor Cotton also saw time in game one, with Sutherland-Finch allowing five hits and four runs in one inning and Cotton allowing six hits and seven runs in two innings.
Though the Bruins escaped with a two-run win, the second game was much tighter as multiple players on Cal's offense shined to string together nine hits from seven batters.
Cal quickly grabbed the lead after getting its first three batters on base at the bottom of the first. Cordes started things off with a single to left field before Reed joined her on a fielder's choice that failed to take Cordes out at second. Both runners moved into scoring position following a wild pitch by starting pitcher Hall, and then junior Danielle Henderson blasted a single to right center to score them both.
UCLA answered with a three-run homer by Hall to dead center at the top of the second.
The Bears saw more of the same at the top of the third when Carda hit a leadoff double to right center before a pair of singles by Spaulding and LaRosa scored her. The Bruins plated three more on another three-run homer, this time by Mysha Sataraka, for the 7-2 lead.
The Cal offense continued to fight, and at the bottom of the fourth senior Victoria Jones was rewarded with a solo long ball to right field. UCLA quickly responded with a solo homer by Sataraka at the top of the fifth, making the score 8-3.
Despite the five-run deficit, Cal's bats stayed hot and sophomore Vanessa Alvarez started the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff single up the middle. Alvarez moved over to third on a fly out by Cordes and scored when Reed doubled down the right line. Henderson helped Reed home on a single to the warning track, and the Bears cut UCLA's lead to 8-5.
UCLA pulled away by one more with a solo homer by Tiumalu at the top of the sixth, and still the fighting continued. In Cal's turn at bat, V. Jones drew a leadoff walk and then senior Jordan Wallace homered to left field to make it plus two for the Bears.
UCLA failed to score at the top of the seventh and Cal nearly had a chance in its final inning when Reed singled up the middle, but the game-tying run was left at the plate.
Freshman Stephanie Trzcinski (8-10) suffered the loss for the ears, allowing nine hits and nine runs with a walk and a strikeout in five innings of play. Sutherland-Finch allowed three hits in 1.1 innings, and Cotton pitched the final two outs. Though Hall started for UCLA, it was McDuffee (3-0) who earned the win and Carda who received credit for the save.
Tomorrow, the team will celebrate its partnership with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and adopted teammate Bebe Wiggs at its annual Friends of Jaclyn/Bears for Bebe game beginning at noon. Cal will wear its new pink jerseys, which will be auctioned off in a silent auction during the game and all proceeds above $100 benefiting Friends of Jaclyn. The game will also be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks with Tammy Blackburn and Guy Haberman on the call.
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