No. 8 California Heads to St. Mary's Wednesday for Doubleheader
April 22, 2002
BERKELEY - WHATS ON TAP: No. 8 California (41-14, 8-4 Pac-10) heads over the Berkeley hills into Moraga for a doubleheader against West Coast Conference foe Saint Mary's, Wednesday. After the nonconference tilt, the Golden Bears resume conference play with games against No. 2 UCLA and No. 9 Washington. Cal hosts the Bruins Friday at 2 p.m. while the Huskies come in Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. SMC is the last nonconference opponent that the Bears will face before the postseason.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Cal shook up what looked like a two-horse race for the Pac-10 crown as it stunned the Arizona schools with a weekend sweep. The Bears defeated Arizona State, 3-2, Friday as Jen Deering improved to 12-2 on the year after pitching four innings with four strikeouts, while surrendering just two hits. On Saturday, Cal had one of the biggest regular season wins in recent years as it battled to defeat No. 1 Arizona. An even bigger feat was the Bears handing All-American Jennie Finch only her second loss in 66 decisions. The win for the Bears also snapped a 10-game losing skid to the Wildcats, which dated back to May 1, 2000. On Sunday, Cal completed the sweep as Jocelyn Forest struck out 15 Wildcat batters, including eight consecutive in a three-inning stretch. She was a Jennie Finch solo homerun away from tossing a no-hitter. The one-hitter was Forest's fifth of the season.
SWEEPING OF ARIZONA SCHOOLS A FIRST: Last weekend's sweep of Arizona and Arizona State was the first time Cal had accomplished the feat since the inception of Pac-10 softball in 1987. Although the Bears have won weekend series from the two schools, the 'Cats and the Devils always found a way to pull through with at least one win until last weekend.
TIMELY OFFENSE LEADS TO WEEKEND UPSETS: The Bears weren't necessarily hitting better, but hitting at the right time. Against the Arizona school, particularly against the Wildcats, Cal came through in the clutch with runners on base. In Saturday's game, freshman Jessica Pamanian went yard with Courtney Scott on base. In the fifth inning, Scott did some damage of her own as she belted a double down the left field line to bring in the eventual game-winning run. On Sunday, Scott again brought in a crucial run as freshman Kaleo Eldredge scored from second. Kristen Morley went 2-for-4 this weekend with runners in scoring position and Eldredge went 1-for-2, while Scott was an impressive 3-for-6 with runners on.
PAC-10 TITLE IN STRIKING DISTANCE: Although the conference schedule is only at its halfway point, and the league champion still very much in doubt, the Bears remain in the hunt for its first Pac-10 Championship since the first year of Pac-10 softball in 1987. Cal is just a half game behind Arizona (41-7, 8-3 Pac-10) and UCLA (40-6, 8-3 Pac-10) for the top spot with an 8-4 mark. Trailing behind the Bears is ASU at 7-4.
SCOUTING ST. MARY'S: The Gaels (13-30, 0-2 WCC) are led by Kami Gray (.296, 37 H, 11 RBI) and Tiffany Redding (.269, 36 hits, 13 RBI). In the circle, Jennifer Eaton (5-15, 3.42 ERA) and Jordan Larsen (6-9, 3.77 ERA) will get the nod. SMC comes off of a double header loss to conference foe Santa Clara, 3-0 and 7-1. The Bears are undefeated all-time versus the Gaels with a record of 30-0.