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Golden Medals: 15 homers for Andrew Vaughn, Morikawa & Cal 2nd at Western Intercollegiate, Rugby hosts GCU in playoff 1st round

It was another busy week of Cal Athletics action and a busy weekend ahead

Aaron Shortridge tossed a complete game in Cal’s finale win over the Utes last Saturday.
Cal Baseball Twitter

Not a lot of action from Berkeley this weekend, but Cal Rugby’s match is the first round of the D1A Rugby playoffs. Cal Lacrosse is ending the year with a three-match homestand, to be concluded against rival Stanford next Friday.

Interestingly, lots of teams are in the state of Washington this weekend - baseball, softball, women’s tennis, and beach volleyball. It’s time to make Washington a Bear Territory!


Cal Baseball wins series from Utah, visiting Wazzu this weekend

Due to the rain last weekend, Golden Bears had to play a total of 19 innings (1.5 innings to complete a win, 9 inning game, and a 8.5 inning win for the home team) last Saturday against the visiting Utes. What famed manager Jim Leyland said about doubleheaders apply to a tripleheader, it is hard to get a sweep. Instead, Cal Baseball (19-11, 5-7 in Pac-12) took 2 out of 3 games to win their second consecutive Pac-12 series. Bears than had an epic comeback midweek win over USF on Tuesday thank to 5 homers, including #15 on the year for sophomore 1st baseman Andrew Vaughn.

This is your weekly Andrew Vaughn update: Vaughn is now hitting 0.442 (46 for 104) batting average, 0.586 on-base percentage, and 0.952 slugging percentage to go with 15 homers and 41 RBI. Vaughn’s video game-like numbers took a slight hit last week. His previous NCAA lead in homers has temporarily gone to ASU’s freshman Spencer Torkelson with 16.

Nevertheless, Vaughn added to his highlight reel (thanks to the Pac-12 Networks’ coverage) with this blast off the scoreboard.

Cal 7, Utah 6

Spread out over the course of three days, Golden Bears won the first game from the visiting Utes. Bears lead 7-5 on Thursday after 7 innings completed. Junior closer Tanner Dodson (already pitching on Thursday) completed the save by tossing the first two innings of the Saturday tripleheader to preserve the W. Senior lefty Matt Ladrech was credited with the win (his 3rd straight) for his quality start.

Cal 10, Utah 12

Two big Utes innings in the 1st and 6th gave them 11 of the 12 runs and a big lead. The Bears would not quit and nearly came all the way back before falling just short. Dodson and Darren Baker each has 3 hits for the Bears, who had 17 as a team.

Cal 5, Utah 1

Aaron Shortridge pitched a rare complete game to help the tired Cal pitching staff through this marathon day.

Cal 8, USF 7

Bears trailed early in this one but got back in the game thanks to the long balls. Vaughn, Jonah Davis, Korey Lee, Tyrus Greene, and Dodson all went yard to rally the Bears from an early 5-0 and then 7-2 deficit to the Dons. Check out the highlights below.

This weekend:

Bears will take on Washington State (9-17, 4-8 in Pac-12) from Pullman this weekend. Games are all streamed online.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Friday, April 13, 5 p.m.Cal: LHP Matt Ladrech (4-3, 4.39 ERA)WSU: LHP Isaac Mullins (0-3, 4.50)

Saturday, April 14, 2 p.m.Cal: RHP Jared Horn (3-4, 5.56)WSU: RHP Hayden Rosenkrantz (0-0, 3.06)

Sunday, April 15, 1 p.m.Cal: RHP Aaron Shortridge (2-1, 2.40)WSU: LHP Scotty Sunitsch (3-1, 3.02)

The Cougars took only the final game last week at Oregon (via a no-hitter from Sunitsch), but won their last home series (2 out of 3) from ASU two weeks ago. Golden Bears were able to sweep the Cougs from Evans in 2017 with a 28 runs scored series. That’s the same recipe for success.


Cal Rugby hosts Grand Canyon in D1A Rugby postseason first round

The D1A Rugby 15s postseason bracket was revealed last Sunday. 3rd seed California Golden Bears will open with a visit from Grand Canyon University, the FOR-PROFIT school that has decided to invest in D1 sports to make more money, from Witter Rugby Field at 2pm PT. Bears will also host their 2nd round match next weekend (against the winner of Navy/Indiana) if they win this Saturday.

Looking ahead, the Bears will have to travel to Marietta, GA for the semifinal match on April 28th, likely against host (and 2nd seed) Life. The championship match will take place from Santa Clara University on May 5th and broadcasted live on an ESPN channel. Top seed St. Mary’s is the defending champ of this contest, while the Cal Bears had been playing in the parallel Varsity Cup national championship for the past 5 years.

Golden Bears are seeking the program’s 32nd overall national championships and the 27th from Rugby 15s.


Both Collin Morikawa and Cal Men’s Golf finished 2nd at Western Intercollegiate

Closing the regular season on a high note, both Cal Men’s Golf and junior Collin Morikawa came close to add another tournament win to the 2017-18 result. However, they both have to settle for 2nd place. Morikawa finished the 3 rounds in a 3-way tie for first (at -10). After surviving the first two playoff holes, he finished behind Oregon’s Norman Xiong. As a team, the Golden Bears finished 2nd (at -2) behind North Carolina (at -14). These were the only two schools to finish below par.

Cal’s redshirt sophomore Jamie Cheatham had to withdraw in two of the three rounds due to an injury (he played the middle round). Even though the Golden Bears do have enough depth to make a deep postseason run without him, it would be great if Cheatham is healthy for the postseason.

Golden Bears will next look to win the Pac-12 Championship on April 23rd-25th ahead of the NCAA. The program is seeking its 2nd overall NCAA team national championship.


Women’s Golf took 2nd at Silverado

On the women’s side, Cal Women’s Golf also took 2nd place at their last regular season tournament. Bears made a last day move to jump three spots for their best finish on the season.

Sophomore Jiyoon Jang, who had missed the early part of the 2018 action, paced the Bears with a 3rd place individual finish at -7. The late push was due to the strong last rounds from senior Marthe Wold (who uncharacteristically started this tournament slowly) and freshman Sofia Lundell.

Pac-12 Championship is next and the Bears will look to do well enough at the NCAA Regional to return to the NCAA national championship as a team.


Cal Softball visits No.1 Washington

No.23/25 Golden Bears (26-11, 1-8 in Pac-12) had last weekend off. That rest may or may not make a difference as they will visit Seattle to take on the top ranked Washington Huskies (39-2, 10-2 in Pac-12) this weekend.

Cal’s pitching tandem of Zoe Conley and Kamalani Dung are good enough to keep the Bears in every game (you don’t have to worry about the Bears being mercy ruled), but the Cal offense just has not been consistent enough, particularly against some of the top pitchers in the country that also happen to play in the Pac-12.

The Cal offense will have to solve Gabbie Plain (who tossed a perfect game last week) and Taran Alvelo this weekend.

Huskies also have 4 players batting better than 0.380 in Kirstyn Thomas (0.414), Sis Bates (0.398), Taylor Van Zee (0.396), and Kelly Burdick (0.383). As a team, they are batting 0.334 with 47 homers - 11 from Thomas and 10 from DePonte (who is only batting 0.320).

All three games will be on the Pac-12 Networks.

The Friday and Saturday games are at 7 pm PT. Sunday’s finale will be at 12 pm PT.


Cal Women’s Tennis (10-6, 5-2 in Pac-12) also visiting Pacific Northwest

42nd in the rankings, the young Cal Women’s Tennis team has continued their stronger Pac-12 play as the dual meet season continues. After starting the dual meet season with a 4-4 record (granted, against some really tough opponents), the Bears have gone 6-2 since although their recent loss at ASU was historical in the wrong way.

Nevertheless, the Golden Bears will travel up to the state of Washington to take on the Huskies and the Cougars this weekend. Other than juniors Olivia Hauger and Maria Smith (and an injured senior in Karla Popovic), the rest of the Cal lineup consisted of talented but somewhat inconsistent freshmen. No.32 Anna Bright is holding her own in the No.2 court. Fellow freshman Julia Rosenqvist, ranked No.41 in the country, is at the No.1 court. The veteran Hauger at court 3 is ranked No.44 in the country.

The regular season will end with the Big Slam at Stanford next Friday.


Cal Men’s Tennis visits Stanford for Big Slam

The young Cal squad (10-6, 2-2 in Pac-12) lost the home Big Slam earlier this year (1-4). This is the one that counts for Pac-12 standings though.

Bears are coming off two 4-0 wins over Utah and USF this past week. With two seniors and a half-dozen freshman (who were ranked the top recruiting class in the country), it would appear that the No.31 Bears will not get the chance to return to top 16 in the rankings to host the first two rounds of the postseason. Nonetheless, Bears will have more opportunities, starting with this afternoon’s meet at Stanford, and at the Pac-12 to prove their worth against some of the top teams in the country in Stanford, UCLA, and USC.

Senior Billy Griffith, ranked No.56 in singles, is the lone ranked player for the Cal Bears. 4 Stanford singles players are ranked in the top 120.

The Big Slam is livestreamed for free.


Cal Lacrosse (5-9, 1-6 in Pac-12) struggling in an improved Pac-12

Although they have one more match next Friday, Cal Lacrosse will celebrate their seniors this Sunday.

Despite a decent non-conference season, Golden Bears have hit a wall in Pac-12 play where several west coast schools have significantly improved their lacrosse in the past 3-4 years. After earning the historic first Pac-12 win (over ASU) two weeks ago, the Bears were edged by Fresno State last weekend, losing 14-13. Bears will host Oregon tonight, before hosting a ranked Colorado on Sunday, and closing the regular season by hosting a ranked Stanford next Friday. The match against the Ducks could be competitive, but the Bears were routed by both ranked Colorado and Stanford teams earlier this year.


Cal Beach Volleyball looks impressive on TV

Thanks to the Pac-12 Networks coverage, I finally got to see some Cal Beach Volleyball action last weekend. Golden Bears, now ranked an all-time high 13th in the country, had a fairly successful tournament, losing only to host Arizona in a close match.

The Bears will face more Pac-12 foes this weekend from Seattle. Other than No.4 USC, the Golden Bears are actually ranked ahead of Washington, Oregon, and Stanford (at least in the DiG magazine rankings).


Cal Men’s Gymnastics takes 3rd at MPSF championships, advance to NCAA qualifier

Senior Yordan Aleksandrov wins the horizontal bar event at the MPSF championship last weekend for the Golden Bears. As a team, the Bears took 3rd (as expected) behind reigning champion in Oklahoma and rival Stanford.

Finishing the season ranked 12th in the country, the Golden Bears will next compete in the NCAA Qualifier from Chicago, Illinois next weekend. Only 12 teams advance to the qualifier round where the field is halved by the end.

GO BEARS!