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Golden Medals: Epic comeback win highlights a good Cal Softball opening weekend

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Cal Baseball and Lacrosse start season today. Pac-12 play commences for both top ranked women's tennis and men's tennis (Big Slam on Sunday!). Also of note, Pac-12 Championships start mid-next week for Cal Swimming.

Cal Softball is looking to return to the NCAA Regional and go beyond in 2016
Cal Softball is looking to return to the NCAA Regional and go beyond in 2016
Cal Softball Facebook

Schedule:

It's a packed weekend of action in Cal Athletics world. Both Cal Baseball and Cal Lacrosse opens their season this afternoon. Cal Baseball is on the road in Durham, NC. Cal Lacrosse, on the other hand, host a big named opponent in Ohio State at Memorial Stadium today. The lacrosse match is broadcasted on Pac-12 Bay Area.

Cal Rugby is back at Witter with two matches on the weekend.

Ahead of Pac-12 Championship next week, Cal Men's Swimming will face Stanford down at the Farm this weekend. Yes, the Bears' long dual meet winning streak was recently snapped at USC. There are no better way to start a new streak than to beat Stanford. Sadly, this matchup is NOT on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal Women's Water Polo is nearby in Davis for the weekend. The newly ranked No.3 team in the country will look to build upon the momentum of beating Stanford two weeks ago.

Pac-12 play starts for No.1 Women's Tennis. The Bears will start conference play with the toughest opponents in the LA schools. While it looks like a conference match, Men's Tennis' match against Stanford on Sunday is the non-conference meet between the two. The regular season finale Big Slam will be the one that counts for the conference standings.

Women's Gymnastics will look to maintain their ascending trajectory when they visit Oregon State on Saturday. This meet is ahead of the huge home match next weekend against perennial powerhouse Utah. Still, it would be wise for the Bears to not overlook the Beavers.

Softball's East Bay opener (okay, the game was scheduled for Moraga rather than Berkeley) midweek was postponed due to weather. They should have no such issue down in San Diego this weekend in yet another weekend tournament.

Fri,
Feb 19
Softball South Dakota San Diego, CA 9:00 a.m. Live Stats Twitter
Fri,
Feb 19
M Golf John A. Burns Intercollegiate (Host: Hawai'i) Lihue, HI 10:30 a.m. Live Stats
Fri,
Feb 19
Baseball at Duke Durham, NC 1:00 p.m. Audio BDN+ Live Stats
Fri,
Feb 19
W Tennis at USC Los Angeles, CA 1:30 p.m.
Fri,
Feb 19
Lacrosse Ohio State Berkeley, CA 2:00 p.m. Pac-12 Bay Area Live Stats
Fri,
Feb 19
Softball Kentucky San Diego, CA 2:00 p.m. Live Stats Twitter
Fri,
Feb 19
W Basketball at Utah Salt Lake City, UT 5:00 p.m. Twitter
Sat,
Feb 20
Track & Field All Comers Meet Berkeley, CA All Day
Sat,
Feb 20
M Gymnastics Winter Cup Challenge Las Vegas, NV All Day Live Stats
Sat,
Feb 20
Rugby vs.Cal Maritime Berkeley, CA 10:00 a.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
Baseball at Duke Durham, NC 10:00 a.m. Audio BDN+ Live Stats
Sat,
Feb 20
W Water Polo Davis Invitational: Pacific Davis, CA 11:00 a.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
M Swimming & Diving at Stanford Stanford, CA 12:00 p.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
Rugby vs. Air Force Berkeley, CA 12:00 p.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
W Tennis at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 1:00 p.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
M Tennis at Stanford Stanford, CA 1:00 p.m. Live Stream/Stats
Sat,
Feb 20
W Gymnastics at Oregon State Corvallis, OR 2:00 p.m. Pac-12 Oregon Live Stats Twitter
Sat,
Feb 20
W Water Polo Davis Invitational: Brown Davis, CA 3:00 p.m.
Sat,
Feb 20
Softball Texas Tech San Diego, CA 4:30 p.m. Live Stats Twitter
Sat,
Feb 20
Softball San Diego State San Diego, CA 7:00 p.m. Live Stats Twitter
Sun,
Feb 21
Baseball at Duke Durham, NC 8:00 a.m. Audio BDN+ Live Stats
Sun,
Feb 21
W Basketball at Colorado Boulder, CO 11:00 a.m. Pac-12 Mountain Twitter
Sun,
Feb 21
Softball San Diego San Diego, CA 11:30 a.m. Live Stats Twitter
Sun,
Feb 21
M Basketball at Washington State Pullman, WA 5:30 p.m. ESPNU
Tue,
Feb 23
Baseball San Francisco Berkeley, CA 7:00 p.m.
Wed,
Feb 24
M Swimming & Diving Pac-12 Diving Championships Federal Way, WA All Day Pac-12 Networks (D)
Wed,
Feb 24
W Swimming & Diving Pac-12 Swimming Championships Federal Way, WA All Day Pac-12 Networks (D)
Wed,
Feb 24
W Tennis San Diego State Berkeley, CA 1:30 p.m. Live Stream/Stats Twitter
Thu,
Feb 25
W Swimming & Diving Pac-12 Swimming Championships Federal Way, WA All Day Pac-12 Networks (D)
Thu,
Feb 25
M Swimming & Diving Pac-12 Diving Championships Federal Way, WA All Day Pac-12 Networks (D)

Cal Softball (4-1 on the season)

Playing down in Tempe, Arizona in the season opening Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, the No.21/22 Golden Bears came away with a respectable 3-1 record.

Bears lost the season opening game to Wisconsin in heartbreaking fashion. A slim 2-1 lead turned into 4-2 loss as the Bears faltered in the 7th inning, giving up a walk-off two run homer. Cal starter Nisa Ontiveros gave up a game tying homer. Another experienced Cal pitcher, Katie Sutherland-Finch came in and gave up a game winning walk off homer to Wisconsin's Kelsey Jenkins.

Against No.24 Notre Dame in their 2nd game of the season, the Bears found themselves trailing 7-0 going to the bottom of the 7th. The Irish's starter Allie Rhodes have limited the Bears. The Golden Bears drew an always deadly leadoff walk, a ground out later, the Bears did not make another out. Six hits, including the game winning two run single by Kylie Reed later, the Bears found themselves celebrating a very special first win on the young year.

You know what Joe Kapp said, "THE BEAR WILL NOT QUIT! THE BEAR WILL NOT DIE!" This is another fine example of that.

Few hours after the big Notre Dame win, the Bears earned their second win on the year. Nisa Ontiveros had no issue with Cal State Northridge as the Bears won 6-1 behind a complete game from their starter.

To close the tournament, the Bears earned another big time win when they edged Indiana by a 7-6 margin. After allowing the Hoosiers to tie the game with 3 run in the top of the 5th, the Bears answered right back with a go ahead run that turned out to be the difference. The go ahead run was scored due to the Bears' speed on the bases forcing an Indiana defensive miscues. Cal's Aussie pitcher Stephanie Trzcinski, another pitcher with a lot of experience on this Cal team, picked up her 2nd win of the year in relief.

Through 4 games, the top hitter for the Bears is sophomore Taurie Pogue with 0.556 and the lone Cal homer. Freshman Krysten McCue lead the team with 6 RBI's and sophomore Kobie Pettis is next with 5 RBI's.

Kicking off this weekend's action, the Bears managed an 8-1 win over South Dakota down in San Diego this morning. Bears went ahead with a 3-run 5th and put it away with a 4-run 6th. Freshmen McCue and Rood both hit homers for the Bears.

Bears will play a top 20 Kentucky later today, before closing the weekend with matches against Texas Tech, San Diego, and San Diego State.

Cal Baseball opens season at Duke

Duke may not have a fancy ranking like No.12 Bears (ranked as high as 8th in most of the other preseason polls), but the Bears will certainly face a solid team this weekend to open the 2016 campaign that is filled with very high expectation.

The loss to Texas A&M in that memorable Regional last year has left a bitter taste in the mouths of this veteran Golden Bears squad. Returning basically the entire pitching staff, save for former closer Dylan Nelson, the Bears also have 7 of the 9 starters back in the lineup. Bears will miss top hitter in Lucas Erceg (who didn't qualify academically and transferred), but will get Brenden Farney back after the former starter missed the entire 2015 season due to an injury.

What the Bears will have to experience for the first time in awhile, however, is high expectation. The Bears are considered by many to be a top 10 caliber team. There is no better way to back this up than to win this season opening series from Duke. Duke took two out of three from the Bears in Berkeley last year - the only other time that the two teams have met.

Probable Starters

Friday, Feb. 19

Cal: RHP Daulton Jefferies (6-5, 2.92 ERA in 2015)
Duke: RHP Bailey Clark (4-5, 2.95 ERA in 2015)

Saturday, Feb. 20
Cal: RHP Ryan Mason (6-3, 2.98 ERA in 2015)
Duke: LHP Trent Swart (5-2, 1.76 ERA in 2014 - missed 2015)

Sunday, Feb. 21
Cal: LHP Matt Ladrech (7-4, 2.67 ERA in 2015)
Duke: RHP Brian McAfee (5-2, 1.77 ERA in 2015 at Cornell)

That Friday matchup features two pitchers who may be drafted in the first round of this summer's MLB draft.

The games are streamed online but would require a $10 fee to sign up for Duke's streaming service for the month. I am personally kind of tempted, particularly since they claim the games will be available on demand as well.

Given the high expectation for Cal Baseball, and how most home games are covered by KALX, we are planning to up our Baseball coverage this year. Updates (especially if I end up watching the streams) to this weekend's Duke series will be placed in the comments of this post.

Cal Lacrosse opens season hosting Ohio State

I will pay a bit more attention to Cal Lacrosse in 2016 since there is a plan to meet the team and see them play when they visit Philadelphia in a month. 2015 was the first season at Cal for new head coach Brooke Eubanks; and the Bears suffered yet another losing year.

The Bears will look to right the ship in 2016 (hey, it has not been that long ago when the Bears are mostly a winning program). Junior Bella Huther is back to probably be the leading scorer for the 3rd straight year.

Defensively, it sounds like freshman Jenny Wilkens will get the nod in the cage.

Bears' match against Ohio State today will be on Pac-12 Bay Area. They will head out to the midwest next weekend, before returning to Berkeley for a homestand.

Cal Women's Gymnastics set highest road score in school history

Cal Women's Gymnastics had another record breaking night on Sunday from Tempe (yes, Cal Women's Gymnastics, Rugby, and Softball were all down in Tempe last weekend).

For the 4th straight week, the Bears upped their total team score. Since last week saw the Bears set their 2nd best score in program history, the Bears broke that record (and had the top score on the road in program history) on Monday.

Toni-Ann Williams was again amazing for the Bears.

She earned the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week honor for matching her career best in All-Around score.

Bears will take on Oregon State on the road on Saturday before a huge meet against Utah back in Haas next week. Hopefully, the Bears don't over look the Beavers and again make some history.

Cal Men's Tennis in Big Slam tomorrow

Two weeks after the big weekend down in Austin (taking out Texas and No.2 TCU), the Bears have finally see their ascension in the rankings.

What better way to celebrate the new ranking than to face our rival Stanford? The Bears will face the Cardinal in a non-conference match on Saturday.

The past few Big Slam has been quite epic, with matches coming down to the final player who has to overcome a big deficit. I expect another emotional meet for the Golden Bears tomorrow.

Cal Women's Tennis opens Pac-12 play in LA visits LA schools in non-conference play

The top women's tennis team in the country will look to defend the No.1 ranking and win back the conference title, when the Bears visit the LA schools this weekend. This is by far the toughest road trip of the conference play, but the Bears are riding high after that ITA Indoor championship two weeks ago.

Bears will travel to the LA schools this weekend of non-conference play. Nevertheless, it is always fun to beat them...especially USC.

GO BEARS!