The Arizona Wildcats are off to a great start this season, and they’ve won three consecutive Pac-12 series to put them near the top of the conference standings.
Yet if there’s one hurdle they still have to overcome, it’s finishing those series as well as they begin them.
Arizona (21-9, 7-5) lost 9-1 to Cal on Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field, dropping to 0-4 in series finales in Pac-12 play.
Cal (17-13, 5-4) took advantage of seven walks issued by UA pitchers, four by starter TJ Nichols, who allowed six runs in 3.1 innings to drop to 3-3.
Nichols allowed a pair of home runs in the top of the third, though one didn’t count as such because of a baserunning mistake. Cal’s Nick Manning a grand slam but passed one of his teammates on the base paths, resulting in a 3-run single after he was called out.
The Bears got a legitimate grand slam in the fourth off reliever Ian Churchill to make it 9-0.
Ryan Holgate prevented the shutout with a solo home run in the seventh, his fifth of the season. Arizona’s only other offensive highlight came in the sixth when freshman Jacob Berry singled to extend his hit streak to 15 games.
Another bright spot came from the performance of left-handed reliever Gil Luna, who had only made one appearance prior to Sunday in which he allowed two runs without recording an out. Against Cal he threw 3.1 innings, yielding just two hits and two walks.
Arizona hits the road for its next four games, playing at Grand Canyon on Tuesday and then starting a 3-game series at Washington State on Friday.