For the Cal Softball playoff gamethread, scroll down!
And we've arrived at the biggest must-win of the season. Just two weeks ago Cal was sitting pretty. The Bears had swept Oregon St. and rested in 2nd place in the RPI's number two conference. And now, if Cal falls to UCLA they could find themselves in 8th and on a seven game losing streak. Only one series is left in the regular season - a trip to suddenly resurgent Oregon. Considering Cal's Pac-10 road woes (only three wins, all against last place USC) we can't be very confident about a series win in Eugene.
Yesterday was an unmitigated disaster for Cal. Besides the errors, poor sacrifice bunting, and bullpen implosion, Cal probably lost Chad Krist for today's game:
Krist tried to glove a ball in the dirt and the ball bounced up and hit the tip of his finger, bending the nail backward. Noticeably in pain, Krist was checked by the team's trainer and then left the game mid-at-bat. He will probably lose the nail, Esquer said, and likely will not be available for Sunday's 1 p.m., start.
The good news? Justin Jones should be on the mound. Matt Flemer should be available out of the pen. But baring meltdown, I would expect Justin to pitch a long time in this game - The bullpen has taken its lumps lately and Esquer has given all of his starters a long leash. UCLA counters with Rob Rasmussen. The key for both teams? Stop booting, flubbing, and throwing away the baseball. This series has been filled with errors, and hitters on both sides have punished nearly every mistake. There have been a combined 10 errors and 9 unearned runs. The Cal errors have been particularly bad in their timing - late in the game with runners on base.
Here's your gamethread. Prediction: Pain