BERKELEY, CA - Despite 14 hits, Arizona's most against a ranked opponent since the 2014 NCAA Regional vs. LSU, Arizona was unable to cash in on early opportunities in a 7-4 loss to No. 11 California on Saturday.
The Wildcats, after pouncing on the Bears for nine runs on nine hits in a 9-2 game-1 victory, loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first, but were unable to score. Arizona would strand two more in the top of the second inning.
UA recovered to take a 4-2 lead, but five unanswered Cal runs, including two in the fifth and two in the sixth, sunk the Cats.
Arizona showed fight, putting the tying runs on base in the seventh with one out, but the Cats stranded the bases loaded, three of a season-high 13 runners left on base.
Ashleigh Hughes picked up her first career three-hit game, going 3-for-4 in the contest. Hallie Wilson added three hits as well; Wilson also drove in a run in the contest.
Mo Mercado went 2-for-4 including a two-run, two-out double in the fourth.
All of Arizona's runs were scored in the third inning as Arizona batted around in the frame. The four runs came after Cal took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Kellie Fox led off the third with a walk and her pinch-runner Payton Kornfeind moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Katiyana Mauga. Chelsea Goodacre followed with an RBI single, her sixth of the weekend and team-best 42nd of 2015. Mo Mercado singled, one of her two hits in the game, and Lauren Young followed with a two-run double to the wall in left center. Hughes singled to extend the inning for Wilson, who singled to center to give Arizona a 4-2 lead.
The Bears plated a run in the third inning to cut Arizona's lead to 4-3.
In the fifth, Cal's Cheyenne Cordes hit a two-run home run to center to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead.
The Bears plated two runs of insurance in the sixth.
The bottom of the Wildcats order gave UA life in the seventh with back-to-back-to-back one-out singles from Mo Mercado, Lauren Young and Ashleigh Hughes. Arizona was unable to score, however, as Arizona fell 7-4.
Trish Parks (8-3) went the distance and allowed seven runs on 12 hits. The freshman walked three and struck out three in the contest.
Reliever Stephanie Trzcinski (10-0) earned the victory for the Bears. After starter Nisa Ontiveros gave up four runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings, Trzcinski kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard with 3.1 innings of three-hit ball.
Arizona and Cal meet in the series rubber match on Sunday at 4 p.m. PDT.