A disasterous fifth inning doomed Arizona softball Saturday, as the Wildcats conceded their first series loss at California in a decade.
A pair of homers and some Wildcats poor defense allowed the Golden Bears to strike for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth, leading to a 9-2 Cal victory. The loss keeps Arizona (31-18, 6-14 Pac-12) in the cellar of the Pac-12 standings with just four conference games remaining.
Cal’s big fifth inning upended a previously low-scoring affair that saw Arizona’s two runs come via RBI groundouts.
Arizona loaded the bases in the second on a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice, giving Sophia Carroll a prime opportunity to drive in runs with nobody out. Carroll grounded out to the first base, scoring Paige Dimler. A batter later, Jasmine Perezchica grounded out to shortstop, scoring Carlie Scupin. A Janelle Meono groundout ended the inning.
That would turn out to be the only sustained rally for the Wildcats, who recorded five hits and left eight batters stranded.
Netz started the game on the mound and through four innings looked rock solid, allowing just an RBI double in the fourth.
Netz appeared to be humming along in the fifth, as she recorded two quick outs. Then trouble out.
A walk and single put two runners on for Cal’s Kacey Zobac, who promptly smacked a three-run homer to give the Golden Bears a 4-2 lead. An error Arizona first baseman Giulia Koutsoyanopulos extended the inning. The next batter, D’Asha Saiki, hit a two-run blast, ending Netz’s day on the mound.
Elish allowed two immediate singles in relief before another error from Koutsoyanopulos scored a run and left runners on second and third.
A two-run single from Acacia Andrews brought the scored to 9-2.
Of the eight runs scored in the inning, only three were earned and fell on Netz.
Through two games, Cal has outscored Arizona 16-3, having won the series opener 7-1.
The two teams conclude the series Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m. MST/PDT.