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Golden Diamonds: Baseball visits USC, Softball hosts UCLA; recap of Stanford series

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Cal Softball swept rival Stanford. Cal Baseball takes one important game from the 2nd ranked team in the country.

Cal Softball have improved their Pac-12 record to 7-10 after sweeping Stanford.
Cal Athletics Twitter

Cal Softball (34-10, 7-10 in Pac-12) sweeps Stanford

No.24 Cal Bears cements their postseason chances with a big weekend sweep of rival Stanford (granted, that program is still not that good after the scandal from three years ago). Bears allowed Stanford to score just 1 run and also shutout Sacramento State in the midweek game. Bears have now won 8 straight games since losing one to a top 5 ranked Washington Huskies three weeks ago.

Cal 3, Stanford 0

Zoe Conley tossed her 8th shutout of the year. Jazmyn Jackson provided all the offense needed with a 3-run homer. Bears easily cruise to a game 1 victory.

Cal 3, Stanford 0

It’s deja vu all over again as the Cal Bears beat Stanford 3-0 for the 2nd consecutive game. Kalamani Dung (18-3) had to leave the game with some shoulder discomfort so this was a combined effort for a shutout as Conley picked up her 7th save. Lindsay Rood went 2 for 3 with a bloop triple.

Cal 8, Stanford 1

Conley went the distance in this one for her 16th win of the year. Jazymyn Jackson hit her first grand slam of her Cal career to make it 7 in a row for the Golden Bears. Sweeping your rival is always fun.

Cal 4, Sacramento State 0

Kalamani Dung showed that she’s healthy for tossing the last two innings for her first save. Mikayla Coelho hit a 2-run homer in this one. That’s 8 straight wins for the Bears ahead of a big weekend showdown.

7th inning stretch:

Check out this video celebrating 30 years of Diane Ninemire (Cal’s winningest coach across all sports). Bears will be holding their annual alumni weekend this weekend.

Among those that will be back in Berkeley includes the latest inductee to the Cal Athletics Hall of Fame - pitcher Kristina Thorson (she was Thor before Noah Syndergaard took that nickname) - the workhorse of the 2003-2006 College World Series teams.

On Deck:

Bears will host UCLA Bruins (45-3) this weekend with games on Friday (3 pm PT), Saturday (1:30 pm PT), and Sunday (2 pm PT). All 3-games are on the Pac-12 Networks. The regular season will end next weekend after the Oregon Ducks (41-7) visit Berkeley. Oh both the UCLA and Oregon, the top two ranked teams in both the coaches’ poll and RPI, are fighting for the Pac-12 titles. With two more weekends of games left, they are both tied at 15-3. If the Cal Bears want to make some noise this postseason, these are the kind of games that they would need to win.

UCLA is on an 11-game winning streak thanks to their combination of power hitting and pitching, lead by their own Shohei Ohtani in Rachel Garcia. Garcia is hitting 0.385 while going 17-1 with 1.10 ERA in the circle. Holly Azevedo (14-0, 1.93 ERA) backs her up. Aaliyah Jordan leads the entire Pac-12 with her insane 0.472 batting average at this late juncture of the season.

On the outside chance that the Bears can continue their winning streak and beat these two tough teams, a top 16 ranking and hosting a regional may be within reach.

Cal’s RPI of 29 will likely rise just from playing UCLA and Oregon. I hope the Bears can win at least 1 out of the last 6 games, but even with a 6 game losing streak to close the regular season, Cal Softball will be returning to the postseason in 2018.

7 Pac-12 teams should make the postseason from the 9 team Pac-12. Bears are currently in a tie for 6th with Oregon State, but will likely finish 7th due to the tough schedule remaining.


Cal Baseball (25-17, 10-11 in Pac-12) moves up in RPI after winning 1 of 3 from Stanford

Cal Baseball accomplished the much needed deed of winning one game against No.2 Stanford in the opening game of the 3-game series. While they dropped the next two, the Bears avoided another bad loss by beating BYU midweek via a walkoff.

For their effort, Cal’s RPI is now up to 83 and more importantly, the Bears are receiving votes in the human poll. Given how not all good college baseball teams have that pitching depth, particularly for the midweek games. I don’t think the RPI (which still important) is that good of a measure. Bears’ remaining schedule will probably improve their RPI only a little (unless they sweep through it), but should they continue to win series and move up in the human poll, I can’t see the NCAA committee not letting this fun team to go dance. For now, Cal Baseball is firmly on the bubble.

Cal 4, Stanford 3

Bears allowed Stanford to go up 3-0 via 3 unearned runs (ugh, this again). But the Bears will not quit. Long balls from Andrew Vaughn and Jonah Davis tied the game in Top 6th. Tanner Dodson brought home the go-ahead run in Top 7th. Bears hold on for the win thanks to some weirdness in the 9th when the Stanford batter opted to complain instead of running to first for an easy double play to end the game.

Cal 1, Stanford 14

Revenge of the Cardinal played out as you would expect. Cal sophomore RHP Jared Horn was hit hard while Stanford’s Triston Beck kept the Bears in check.

Cal 2, Stanford 5

Stanford got 5 runs against Cal starter Aaron Shortridge in innings 3rd-5th. A solo Jonah Davis homer was not enough for the Cal comeback effort. Stanford improves to 14-4 in Pac-12 play.

Cal 1, BYU 0

It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the 9th. Max Flower plays the role of the hero by allowing the Bears to walk-off.

Cal superstar sophomore Andrew Vaughn is now up to 19 homers on the season after the Thursday game of this past week. Against the top pitching of Stanford, Vaughn has had a tough week at the plate. His cumulative number on the year is still insane though.

On Deck:

Cal Bears will visit USC Trojans in LA this weekend. All three games (Friday at 6pm PT, Saturday at 2pm PT, Sunday at 1 pm PT) will be streamed for free online. HERE is the link.

USC (19-21) is ranked 117th on the RPI, which makes it that much more important for the Cal Bears to win this series.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Friday, 6 p.m. Cal: LHP Matt Ladrech (6-3, 4.37 ERA) vs. USC: RHP Kyle Hurt (3-4, 4.85)

Saturday, 2 p.m. Cal: RHP Jared Horn (5-5, 6.21) vs. USC: LHP Quentin Longrie (4-4, 3.69)

Sunday, 1 p.m. Cal: RHP Aaron Shortridge (2-2, 2.91) vs. USC: RHP Solomon Bates (3-2, 3.67)

This should be more opportunities for the top rated offense in the Pac-12, your Cal Bears, to pad their stats. Bears swept the Trojans last year thanks to 3-homers series from Andrew Vaughn. I would love to see a repeat of that performance. The Trojans are coming off going 1-2 against the Oregon Ducks last weekend.

The last homestand of the year is next week when the Bears host Arizona Wildcats (50 on the RPI) before a trip to Omaha (first of two, we hope) to face Creighton (51st on the RPI). Bears will close the regular season at the end of the month with a trip to ASU (110 on the RPI).

With a 10-11 record in the Pac-12, Bears are currently 5th. I think a winning Pac-12 record will be huge for the Bears’ postseason claim. Fortunately for the Bears, they have already played the toughest part of the conference schedule.

GO BEARS!