Cal entered its series against conference rival Oregon State as the No. 5 team in the Pac-12.
A three-game road trip against the Beavers, where the series ended in a tie at 1-1-1, dropped the Bears one spot in the rankings, from fifth to sixth in the conference.
Cal’s season has been a tale of two halves.
The blue and gold started their season hot, winning 14 of their first 16 games, which included a nine-game winning streak. The Bears were batting at a .304, rallying in 112 runs and allowing 46 runs in that stretch.
The Bears’ last 12 games have not reflected that same performance. Cal has managed to produce only 65 runs while giving up 53 runs to its opponents — good enough for a 6-5-1 record. However, the level of competition has improved since Cal has begun conference play, in which Cal has a sub-.500 win percentage.
The recent surge of struggles has limited Cal in compiling a competent winning streak, but it is worth noting that the Bears have not lost more than two games in a row during the entirety of the season, a key to sustaining a winning record.
Holding a positive record during a “slump” speaks great volumes about who this ballclub is and what it offers. The team has been able to regroup and make adjustments between games.
Nonetheless, the Bears now own a record of 20-7-1 and a conference record of 2-3-1.
Cal looked to bounce back after dropping its first conference series of the season. The blue and gold faced off against the Fresno State Bulldogs at home, then traveled to Kelly Field to face the Oregon State Beavers in a three-game conference series.
The matchup against Fresno State showcased a shutout by the Bears as they went on to win 3-0.
Sophomore pitcher Anna Reimers earned her sixth win of the season, and freshman pitcher Ashanti McDade made her collegiate debut on the mound. In the two innings McDade pitched, she recorded her first career strikeout and save while not allowing a single hit to the Bulldogs.
A bounce-back win after suffering a run-rule loss in just one game prior seemed to give the Bears momentum to take on a new Pac-12 opponent — admittedly, the lowest-ranked one.
The first game of the trilogy was the toughest for the Bears. They struggled to bring runners home and couldn’t find holes in the Beavers’ defense. Losing 1-2, they recorded their fifth game of the season with under five hits in a game.
Right on par with its season performance, Cal made adjustments and looked like a new team leading off the second game. A dominating 15-6 win in the second game was led by the likes of junior catcher Kacey Zobac, who hit two home runs and tallied six RBIs.
Zobac was not the only Bear to hit a home run, as teammates Makena Smith, Sophie Medellin and Sona Halajian all contributed one each as well. This is the second time this season that Cal has had a total of five home runs.
A 15-run game marked Cal’s seventh game of the season where it managed to hit double digits runs, which already ties last year’s total. Saturday’s game continued with its historical offensive numbers, as Cal had its most runs (15) and hits (19) since the 2021 season.
The series ended in a tie as a 5-5 score was the final after eight innings — an arguably underwhelming outcome given the stature of Cal’s opponent, a team at the bottom of the conference with a 10-15-1 record.
Following a tough week, the Bears will now move on to challenge Arizona State, another underperforming team in the Pac-12 in second-to-last, and return to Levine-Fricke Field.