The eighth-seeded Cal softball team lost the opening game of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday, falling 3-2 to top-seeded Arizona in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The game was a classic pitcher’s duel for the first five and a half innings, as Cal’s Jocelyn Forest matched zeroes with Arizona ace Jennie Finch. In fact, Forest didn’t give up a hit until the bottom of the sixth.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Arizona’s Erika Hanson and Nicole Giordano reached on singles, and Toni Mascarenas homered to left field to give her team a 3-0 lead.
The Bears got right back in it in the top of the seventh, as Candace Harper started the inning with a single to center. That brought up Cal slugger Veronica Nelson, possibly the nation’s most feared hitter. Nelson came through with a bomb over the left field fence to cut the Arizona lead to 3-2.
Courtney Scott followed with a walk, putting the tying run on base. But Eryn Manahan and Amber Phillips both hit into fielder’s choices, and Mikella Pedretti struck out swinging to end the game.
The Bears must now win three straight games to reach the double-elimination tournament’s championship game. They will face No. 4 Michigan, which lost 2-0 to Oklahoma in the first round, on Saturday at 11 a.m.