No. 5 California Advances to Second Round of NCAA Regionals with a Dramatic 2-1 Win Over No. 14 Fresno State
May 16, 2002
FRESNO, Calif. - No. 3 seed California went to extra innings Thursday evening at Bulldog Stadium but came through with a 10-inning victory over No. 4 seed Fresno State, 2-1, to advance in the second round of the NCAA Regional and face No. 8 Stanford Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.
Junior Veronica Nelson's walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning brought in junior Kristen Morley from second base for the game-winner. Morley drew a walk with two outs in the inning and senior Candace Harper singled up the middle. With the count even at 2-and-2, Nelson blasted a hit into the gap in left center.
'I wanted to be patient on it and drive it,' said Nelson. 'I wasn't expecting it (the change-up) right then but I knew it was coming.'
The Bears struck first in top of the first inning as Fresno State starting pitcher Jamie Southern struggled to get the ball across the plate. She walked freshman Kaleo Eldredge, the lead off batter, then gave up an infield single to Morley. After a wild pitch that advanced runners to second and third, Southern walked Harper to load the bases. Nelson, who tied the NCAA single season walk record, took a free pass for the 93rd time this year to bring in Eldredge.
The Bulldogs scored their first run using three singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth. Julie Selbicky led off the inning with a single to left. After a Pam West pop up to third, Leticia Pecheco blooped a single to left. Vanessa Czarnecki also singled to load the bases. FSU tied the game on Tiffany Whipple's sacrifice fly to left field.
Freshman Kristen Bayless made what proved to be two game-saving plays as she tracked down a deep fly ball to left center in the seventh inning, while saving a potential run, lunging forward for a slicing liner for the final out in the top of the 10th.
'I just thought to go for it,' said Bayless. 'I knew I had to get it somehow. It definitely boosted my confidence.'
'I thought this was a typical Cal vs. Fresno State game,' said California head coach Diane Ninemire. 'Some outstanding catches by my left fielder Kristen Bayless really saved the game for us and Veronica came up with a key hit when we needed it. She really is one of the top hitters in the country.'
Senior Jocelyn Forest and Southern each went the distance. Forest struck out five batters, walking none and gave up seven hits. Southern whiffed seven Cal batters, but walked five while giving up another five hits, including Nelson's gapper.
The Bears face conference foe Stanford, the No. 2 seed in the second round. If Cal wins Friday, it would play Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and if the Bears lose, they would play at noon on Saturday.
Softball Results at Bulldog Stadium
vs. Fresno State (49-18)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H EFresno State 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1California 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 1
Win: Forest, Cal (22-12) and ScottLoss: Southern, FSU (32-9) and WestHome Runs: NoneAttendance: N/A
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