Pac-10 Continues as No. 7 Cal Hosts No. 22 Oregon State, No. 19 Oregon
April 1, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: The defending national champion Cal softball team, winners of 17 of its last 20 games, look to improve its 1-2 Pac-10 record this weekend when the nationally seventh-ranked Bears host No. 22 Oregon State Friday, April 4 at 2 p.m. and No. 19 Oregon Saturday, April 5 at 2 p.m. and April 6 at 1 p.m.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: Oregon State, 22-16 overall, is winless in Pac-10 play with a 0-4 mark. Last weekend, the Beavers dropped two to Arizona State (7-1, 3-0) and fell to Arizona 8-0 in five innings. Shelly Prochaska leads the offensive attack with a .380 BA, with Brynnen Guthrie closely trailing at .377. Monica Hoffman posts a 16-10 mark from the mound and 2.06 ERA, with opponents batting .210 off the right-handed junior. Cal led the 2002 series, 2-1, holding a 53-21 all-time series mark with the Beavers.
SCOUTING OREGON: Oregon (17-9, 1-3 Pac-10) comes off a three-loss weekend to Arizona State (0-2) and Arizona (1-4, 0-8). California has already faced the Ducks this season in non-conference action at the NIST Tournament, defeating them 6-0 in the championship game. Oregon's only Pac-10 win is against Oregon State (10-2). The Ducks have two players batting above .300: Lynsey Haij (.352) and Beth Boskovich (.333) and a team average of .247. Amy Harris posts a 6-6 record from the circle for a 0.90 ERA. The Bears swept the 2002 three-game series, leading the all-time series 56-27.
BEARS END UCLA'S STREAKS: Despite falling to top-ranked UCLA, 3-0 and 4-1 (8) over the weekend, the Bears broke two of the Bruins' streaks in the process. In Saturday's matchup, the pitching combination of Kelly Anderson, Cassie Bobrow and Jen Deering ended UCLA All-American Natasha Watley's 11-game hitting streak. Watley grounded out, lined out, walked and struck out in the win. In round two versus UCLA on Sunday, Courtney Scott's two-out RBI double off the left-center field wall in the bottom of the seventh tied the ballgame at 1-1, snapping Keira Goerl's scoreless pitching streak. The run was the first earned run allowed by the Bruin righty in 98 innings. That was only the 10th time UCLA has given up a run in 33 games this year.
NEWCOMERS SHINE: Currently Cal is starting up to three newcomers in leadoff batter Vicky Galindo, left fielder Lindsay James and freshman pitcher Kristina Thorson. Galindo, a sophomore transfer from West Valley J.C., and James, a freshman from San Carlos, CA, have registered the second (.376) and third (.345) best batting averages on the team for active players. This duo also leads the team with 14 and 10 multi-hit games, respectively. A Lake Forest Park, Wash. native, Thorson boasts a 1.09 ERA, including a 2-0 victory past nationally No. 2-ranked Washington Friday afternoon when she struck out five. Overall, the Bears start an entire outfield of underclassmen and three in the infield.
VERONICA NELSON SETS NEW CAL CAREER RBI RECORD: Senior Veronica Nelson's three-run dinger against Long Island University March 20 catapulted her to the top of the Cal career RBI list. Her career RBIs stand at 158, surpassing former record holder Melanie McCart's (1994-97) 153. The Oakland, CA native also holds the Cal career records for home runs (51), walks (352) and slugging percentage (.665).
BEAR BATTING BITS: Cal has five active players with a +.300 BA with runners on base, led by Vicky Galindo (.415), also including Veronica Nelson (.371), Lindsay James (.352), Kristen Morley (.323) and Jessica Pamanian (.317) ... Pamanian has stepped up to the plate 10 times with the bases loaded, shining in the situation with a .600 BA ... as a team, the Bears currently post a .292 BA with runners in scoring position to their opponents' .148 BA ... Kaleo Eldredge features a .385 BA (10-for-26) when at the plate with two outs, including collecting seven of her 18 RBIs in this situation.
FROM THE CIRCLE: Per game, Cal's pitching staff is averaging 3.79 hits, 1.48 runs (1.04 earned runs), 1.95 walks, 7.41 strikeouts ... the four-deep staff has held opponents to a .155 BA, fanning 269 batters in 255.0 innings.
THREE DOT DATA: Cal is 4-5 in one-run ballgames, 3-1 in two-run games and 16-1 when it scores five runs or more ... combining terrific defense and gutsy pitching, the Bears have recorded 17 shutouts while being blanked only three times ... Cal has scored its most runs in the fourth inning (42) and its least in the sixth (15).
ROAD RUNNERS: After 38 games, the Bears have stolen 30 bases in 39 attempts, led by the fleet-footed Vicky Galindo's 14-for-17 performance. Already Cal has produced more stolen bases than in its 2002 National Championship season when it recorded 23. The last time a player has collected 14 stolen bases in a single season was in 1993 when Keri Kropke stole 16 of 21 attempts. The all-time Cal record for most stolen bases in a season by a team is 104 (1979) and individually is 28 (Kropke in 1992).
FREE TICKET, ALL ABOARD: 38 games into the season, Veronica Nelson has received 64 free tickets to first base, 25 of which were intentional. Nelson, who set the NCAA single season walk record in 2002 with 108, is averaging 1.7 walks per game and is on track to possibly surpass her own record-holding mark with 21 scheduled games remaining in addition to post season play. Despite the constant four straight balls, Nelson continues to lead the Bears with a .385 BA, nine home runs, 25 RBIs and a .800 slugging percentage.
TOP 40 PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST: Seniors Veronica Nelson and Courtney Scott were among the 40 players named to the initial list of players to watch for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball, is the only national player of the year award in college softball. The first 25 finalists will be announced April 8th. The list will then be reduced to ten players on April 29th, with three finalists being named on May 13th. The winner will be announced at the World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.
INSIDE THE HEAD OF AN ALL-AMERICAN: First baseman Veronica Nelson writes a weekly journal entry posted on the calbears website, Roni's Remarks. It can be found at: http://calbears.ocsn.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/nelson-index.html.
NOTES: Cal's scheduled home game against Santa Clara April 23rd has been moved to April 16th. Game time remains at 2 p.m. The Bears' April 11 game at Arizona State will be broadcasted on KAZ-TV and their May 2 game at home against Arizona will be tape delayed on Fox Sports Net.