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Golden Diamonds: Baseball needs to beat Arizona, Softball hosts Oregon ahead of postseason

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Baseball only won 1 out of 3 at USC while Softball got swept by UCLA last weekend

Aaron Shortridge has become the Bears’ most reliable pitcher in the 2nd half of this season.

Cal Baseball (26-19, 11-13 in Pac-12), RPI of 90

Despite two more homers from sophomore 1st baseman Andrew Vaughn (now up to 21 homers), Cal Baseball was only able to take one out of three in a crucial series down at University of Southern California Trojans (RPI of 114 AFTER this series win) last weekend, including a heartbreaking 14 inning middle game that saw the Bears blowing an early 8-0 lead. The Bears remain in the NCAA bubble and have lost the few votes that they have received in the human polls the previous week. I still believe that the Bears have a fair shot at the postseason, IF they can have a 0.500 Pac-12 record or better. There are still two more Pac-12 series for the Bears to achieve that feat. Both this weekend’s home series vs. Arizona and the road finale at Arizona State in two weeks should have the Bears as the slight favorites. It will be huge if the Bears can go 5-1 in those 6 games.

Vaughn homered in the first and last games of the series to have 21 homers with 9 more regular season games to go. He became only the 4th Golden Bears to hit that 20-homer plateau joining Xavier Nady (23), Troy Penix (22) and Mike Harrison (21).

Here is Vaughn’s latest homer.

Bears also got a great series from Jonah Davis, who is only overshadowed by being on the same team as Vaughn.

Cal 4, USC 11

Matt Ladrech has his first bad game in awhile for the Bears. After Andrew Vaughn hit his 20th homer in Top 1st, it was all USC.

Cal 8, USC 9 (14 innings)

Easily one of the worst loss of the season, the Bears’ bullpen just can’t hold on to the early 8-0 lead or 8-3 lead in the 8th for sophomore Jared Horn. Bears eventually lost this one, despite making some brilliant plays to keep the game tied earlier in the extra innings.

Cal 6, USC 2

Thanks to that late Andrew Vaughn homer, Bears went ahead 3-2 over USC in the 8th. Jonah Davis break the game open with a homer of his own. Shortridge was brilliant in this one to save the pen.

On Deck:

Bears host Arizona (29-17, 10-11 in Pac-12) this weekend. Arizona has a RPI of 38, making this a big opportunity to move up in the RPI if the Bears can win at home. The Wildcats are on a 6-game winning streak coming off a big home sweep of UCLA but lost 2 of 3 at Utah in their last road series. They are only 7-9 on the road.

The Wildcats have pretty strong pitching, with a team ERA of 3.39. Their closer is RHP Tyler Megill.

Offensively, they are hitting okay (0.284 BA) but not quite at Cal’s level (0.291 BA...after it was much higher toward the beginning of the season). Nick Quintana leads them with 11 homers while hitting 0.294. Alfonso Rival is hitting a team best 0.363.

Friday:

Cal: LHP Matt Ladrech (6-4, 5.31 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Deason (5-4, 2.36)

Deason tossed a complete game shutout with 11 K in his last outing.

Saturday:

Cal: RHP Jared Horn (5-5, 6.14 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Flynn (6-3, 3.95)

Flynn had 12 K in 6.1 IP in his last outing against UCLA.

Sunday:

Cal: RHP Aaron Shortridge (3-2, 2.80 ERA) vs. RHP Juan Aguilera (6-0, 2.03 ERA)

The games are Friday at 7:05 pm PT, Saturday at 6:05 pm PT, and Sunday at 1:05 pm PT. No Pac-12 Networks coverage but free live stream of these games will be available here.

The Bears will visit Creighton (RPI of 55) next weekend. The regular season will end at the Arizona State Sun Devils (RPI of 108) in two weeks.


No.24 Cal Softball (34-16, 7-13 in Pac-12), RPI of 29

Like I mentioned last week, Cal Softball is safely in the postseason yet again, even if they drop their final 6 games in a row. Every Diane Ninemire team, except for one, has made the postseason.

However, the Golden Bears have fallen from the 2000’s perennial College World Series finalists to likely 2nd place at the Regional status in the 2010’s. We shall see if this year’s team can surprise and win a Regional to buck that trend.

Not unexpected, Golden Bears were swept in 3 home games against the visiting No.1 UCLA Bruins. The Bruins are still battling the No.2 Oregon Ducks, this weekend’s opponents for the Pac-12 crown.

Cal 0, UCLA 5

Bears can managed only 5 hits (no one got more than 1 hit) against UCLA’s 2nd ace in Holly Azevedo. Kalamani Dung allowed two early runs to the Bruin in the 1st and they capitalized on some shaky Bears defense for tag on 3 more runs in the 4th. Bears used senior Kristen Cullen for two innings in the circle in this one.

Cal 1, UCLA 2

Easily the best chance for the Bears in the series, it was an 1-1 game going to the 7th but the Bruins struck in the 7th with a two-out RBI single from Madeline Jelenicki (who also knocked in their first run). Zoe Conley was strong in this one for the Bears inside the circle, although she only got 3 K’s. Bears also got 4 hits and scored their lone run via a Bruin error. Rachel Garcia pitched a complete game for the Bruins in this one, with 12 K’s.

Cal 5, UCLA 10

UCLA makes it 14 games in a row as they swept the Bears in the finale. Despite the score, this one was close until the end. Senior Kobie Pettis and freshman Mikayla Coehlo each drove in a pair of runs for the Bears. Bears scored 4-runs in the 3rd to tie the game up, but Madeline Jelenicki hit a go-ahead homer in the 4th and a two-run homer in the 6th. Bears gave the start to senior Kristen Cullen in this one.

On Deck:

This is a big series for the Oregon Ducks who are tied with the UCLA Bruins with a conference record of 18-3 for the top spot in the Pac-12. The Ducks (44-7) have won 10 straight games dating back to April 15th’s loss to ASU.

The Ducks do everything well - not a surprise for the 2nd ranked team in the country. The trio of Jenna Lilley (.373), Alexis Mack (.364) and Gwen Svekis (.331 with team high 15 homers) lead them in offense. As a team, Oregon is batting .320 while limiting opponents to merely .177 clip at the plate thanks to the strong pitching by Megan Kleist (0.91) and company. The Ducks pitching lead the Pac with an ERA of 1.14.

Bears will honor their senior quartet of Kristin Cullen, Jazmyn Jackson, Kobie Pettis and Taurie Pogue. Jazmyn Jackson, member of team USA, has been one of the best player on the team since her freshman season. Pettis and Pogue have been solid over the year in the middle of the lineup. The pitcher Cullen finally got the chance to shine a bit in the penultimate series last weekend, I would not shocked if Ninemire gives her more opportunities in the circle this weekend.

The three games this weekend are on Thursday at 3 pm PT, Friday at 3 pm PT, and Saturday at noon PT. All three games are on the Pac-12 Networks with Cal alum Kate Scott as the commentator.

Bears will find out their NCAA postseason fate on Sunday, May 13th at 7pm PT on ESPN2.

GO BEARS!