April softball started off as a swing and miss for the Bears in their first conference series of the month. Cal’s bats were cold this weekend at Levine-Fricke Field, and Oregon State took advantage of clutch situations set up by their opponent’s mistakes.
The Bears, sitting at 21-12 on the season before going into the series, matched up with a 26-8 Beavers team. In conference play, Cal remained even at three wins and three losses, while Oregon State had a losing record of 2-4 before traveling to the Bay.
Friday’s game was one-sided, as the Beavers provided all of the offense and Cal’s defense conceded mistakes. The home team committed four errors and numerous wild pitches, setting up the Beavers for a three-run fourth inning and another run in the seventh. Cal’s Haylei Archer went the distance, but allowed eight hits and four earned runs in those seven innings pitched.
The Bears’ offense was quiet, often shut down by the opposing pitcher, Sarah Haendiges. She threw a complete game shutout and struck out five batters, only giving up two hits that came from Alexis Bishop and Sona Halajian.
The second game of the series proved to be much of the same — an 8-0 loss, while allowing 11 hits to Oregon State. The Beavers’ pitching combo of Mariah Mazon and Haendiges limited Cal’s offense once again, but the Bears did double their hit count from the day before. Bishop tallied two knocks along with hits from Kennedy Thomas and Acacia Anders.
Annabel Teperson was charged with her third loss of the season, taking her second consecutive defeat in the pitching circle. She will look to bounce back in her next outing against conference adversary Utah.
With Halajian on the circle for the final game of the series, Cal’s odds of a win looked to be higher than the past two games. This season, Halajian has a 13-4 record and has used her power bat to help boost the Bears’ offense, making her a threat on both sides of the diamond.
In the top of the first inning, OSU’s leadoff hitter, Kiki Escobar lined a single through the left side of the infield. She quickly advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, posing an early scoring opportunity for the Beavers. With one out and runners on first and second, hitter Grace Messmer singled up the middle to put her team ahead.
Following this rocky first inning, Halajian bounced back in the second by striking out the side. After that, she breezed through the rest of the game, sitting down hitters 1-2-3 almost every inning and punching out six total batters. Unfortunately for the blue and gold, opposing pitcher Haendiges dominated again with another complete game shutout, finishing the three-game weekend series against Cal with 15 innings pitched, zero runs allowed and 12 Ks.
Even with Halajian’s solid outing and Cal’s five hits to OSU’s two, the Bears’ offense could not come through in the clutch and were swept without tallying a run. OSU is now at the No. 3 spot in the Pac-12 rankings with a record of 29-8. Meanwhile, Cal finds itself seventh in the conference, bringing its record to 21-15.
With two more series against Pac-12 teams on the horizon, the Bears need to learn from their mistakes in this series by limiting the errors, reducing the strikeouts at the plate and cutting back on the walks. The elimination of free passes to opposing teams will set Cal up for success and allow its talent to shine.