A weekend visit to Las Vegas has Cal returning home victorious — which is not something everyone can say after leaving “Sin City.”
The Bears wrapped up their seven-game road trip by sweeping the season series against the 19-20 UNLV Rebels, increasing their winning streak to four — the most since their nine-game streak earlier in the season. Though Cal’s winning ways have contributed to a respectable 28-12-1 record, the recent surge of nonconference opponents has now dropped Cal to the sixth spot in the Pac-12 standings.
Cal’s visit to Eller Media Stadium secured its first three-game season series sweep of the season. The Bears have started to get back into their rhythm after being on the receiving end of a sweep.
An average of just north of nine runs a game against the Rebels showcased the Bears’ most consistent offensive performance in any series up to this point in the season.
The Bears started hot and never cooled down. They only needed six innings to put the Rebels away, winning 12-4 by way of a run-rule. Standout freshman infielder and former Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Elon Butler led the way for the Bears with two runs, three hits, four RBIs and one home run. On the defensive side, sophomore pitcher Annabel Teperson secured her eighth win of the season with a five-strikeout performance on the mound in just 3.2 innings pitched.
The second game, however, had junior outfielder Kennedy Thomas’ name all over it.
With a 5-2 lead heading into the final inning, the Bears had the bases loaded with two outs. Thomas strikes a ball over the fence for a grand slam, putting the nail in the coffin. This would ultimately be what Cal needed, winning 9-5 and solidifying the series win over the Rebels.
This is not to undermine the work done by the pitchers in game two. Anna Reimers’ five strikeouts were enough to bring out the bullpen in the sixth inning, as she tallied her eighth win of the season.
With the series win already secured, the only thing left to do was to secure their first sweep of the season.
Save the best for last, they say, and the series finale was just that.
Junior ace pitcher Haylei Archer took the mound at the bottom of the third, trailing 5-1. Archer came in and put on a clinic — three hits, no runs, four strikeouts and most importantly, a win.
A final three-inning surge was capped off by six unanswered runs by the Bears, two of which came in the seventh inning to give the Bears the lead and ultimately the series sweep.
After pitching in her ninth win of the season, Archer continues to lead the team in wins (9), ERA (2.57), opposing batting average (.215) and strikeouts (59). She also ranks 10th in the Pac-12 for wins, fourth in saves and 15th in strikeouts.
The eventful weekend still places Cal outside of the top-25; the Bears currently sit in No. 27 in NCAA’s softball rankings, but will look to change that as they near the end of the season.
Cal will return back to its home Levine-Fricke Field on Wednesday to play Santa Clara, a chance for Cal fans to see the Bears in action before they take the road across the Bay to face a crosstown rival in Stanford.
No. 4 Stanford will pose quite the challenge for Cal, as the Bears look to make another statement in the Pac-12. A series win over the Cardinal will not only help the Bears climb in conference standings, but would help edge the blue and gold back into the top-25.