No. 9 Cal Hosts No. 1 Arizona, No. 12 ASU in Final Home Games
April 29, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: The ninth-ranked California softball team (39-14, 8-7 Pac-10) enters the stretch run of the regular season as it hosts its final home games of the year this weekend. The Golden Bears are out for revenge after being swept in the Arizona desert three weeks ago. Cal hosts top-ranked Arizona (45-4, 14-1) Friday, May 2 in a game televised on tape-delay by Fox Sports Net, before a pair of weekend matchups against No. 12 Arizona State (28-19, 5-10).
SENIOR FAREWELL: Six Cal players will be playing in their final home games in the Blue and Gold this weekend. Catcher Courtney Scott, pitcher Jen Deering, outfielder Kristen Morley, second base Eryn Manahan, first base Veronica Nelson and third base Mikella Pedretti will all be honored.
DIANE NINEMIRE SETS CAL COACHING RECORD: Cal's win at Stanford on April 18 set a new all-time Cal coaching record. The victory was head coach Diane Ninemire's 689th career win, earning her the most wins by a head coach in any sport in Cal athletic history. In her 16th season at the helm, Ninemire currently owns a 692-350 record (.664), surpassing former baseball skipper Bob Milano's 688 record wins.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: No. 1 Arizona is on an eight-game win streak which includes 7-5 and 1-0 wins against Cal three weeks ago in Tucson. Arizona enters the week leading the Pac-10 in batting average (.337), hits (442), doubles (73), home runs (61) and RBI (282) while ranking second with a 1.10 ERA. Autumn Champion (.457) and Lovie Jung (.448) pace the attack. Arizona leads the all-time series, 52-15.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: No. 12 Arizona State has lost 10 of its last 12 games, although it did take a 1-0 verdict from the Bears in Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Devils are hitting .278 with 340 hits while their pitchers have combined for a 2.36 ERA. Kara Brun owns a .393 batting average, while Phelan Wright is right behind with a .343 mark. Cal leads the all-time series, 44-28.
CAL IN THE PAC-10: In all games, the Bears boast the third-best batting average (.279) and ERA in the Pac-10 (1.17) and are tied for the third-best fielding percentage (.971) ... in conference games only, the Bears rank fourth in ERA (1.81) and fifth in BA (.232) and fielding pct. (.962) ... individually within league action, Kaleo Eldredge is No. 6 with a .381 BA while Veronica Nelson is second with a .646 on-base percentage ... Kelly Anderson has held Pac-10 opponents to a league-best .160 BA while posting the second-lowest ERA (1.13).
ELDREDGE ON A ROLL: In the past 15 games, center fielder Kaleo Eldredge has increased her BA by 57 points, from .244 to .301. Eldredge has hit safely in 11 of these games, dating back to April 4, collecting 17 hits and nine RBI. Against league foes, she has a team-high batting average of .381.
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 161, surpassing former record holder Melanie McCart's (1994-97) 153. The Oakland, Calif., native also holds the Cal career records for home runs (51), walks (372) and slugging percentage (.647).
SCOTT MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Courtney Scott also is heading toward the top of a handful of all-time school records. The senior from Clovis, Calif., currently ranks second at Cal with 272 games played, and is third with 781 at bats. Candace Harper (1999-02) holds the current record in both categories with marks of .292 and 875, respectively. Scott's career marks of 204 hits and 37 doubles also are nearing the top five.
FROM THE CIRCLE: Per game, Cal's pitching staff is averaging 3.77 hits allowed, 1.60 runs (1.11 earned runs), 1.98 walks, 6.53 strikeouts ... the four-deep staff has held opponents to a .162 BA, fanning 346 batters in 353.2 innings.
BEAR BATTING BITS: As a team, the Bears have lashed out a .275 BA with runners in scoring position to their opponents' .189 BA...Courtney Scott and Kaleo Eldredge have combined for 26 RBI in 35 at-bats with a runner at third and less than two outs...Eldredge has posted a .348 BA (16-for-46) with two outs, collecting 10 of her 27 RBIs in that situation, and has a .400 BA (16-for-40) with runners in scoring position...Kristen Morley has successfully reached base 17 times in 28 chances (.607) as a leadoff batter.
THREE DOT DATA: Cal is 8-7 in one-run ballgames, 3-2 in two-run games, 18-2 when it scores five runs or more and 1-3 in extra inning games... combining terrific defense and gutsy pitching, the Bears have recorded 21 shutouts while being blanked only six times themselves... Cal has scored its most runs in the fifth inning (55) and its least in the sixth (20)... The Bears have scored 45 runs in the sixth and seventh innings during which time their opposition has crossed the plate just 12 times... Cal enjoyed a 15-game win streak this season (March 1-22), its longest since it opened the 2001 campaign with 32 consecutive victories.
ROAD RUNNERS: After 53 games, the Bears have stolen 35 bases in 46 attempts, led by the fleet-footed Vicky Galindo's 16-for-20 performance. Cal already has produced more stolen bases than in its 2002 National Championship season when it recorded 23. The last time a player collected 16 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).
THE BARRY BONDS OF SOFTBALL: 53 games into the season, senior Veronica Nelson has 84 walks, 33 of which were intentional. She has been walked in all but 12 games this season, reaching base in 52 of 53 games for an .670 OB%. Nelson, who set the NCAA single season walk record in 2002 with 108 and already owned the NCAA career walk record entering into this season (288), is averaging 1.59 walks per game and could pass her own NCAA mark (for the third straight year) with six scheduled games and postseason play remaining. Despite the constant free passes, Nelson continues to lead the Bears with a .356 BA, nine home runs and a .656 slugging percentage.
COURTNEY SCOTT SELECTED TO OLYMPIC TRAINING CAMP: Senior Courtney Scott was named as one of 45 players invited to participate in a selection team camp, June 4-8, at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. These players will compete for spots on two teams that will represent the USA in international competition this summer. This is the second consecutive invite the All-American catcher has received.
TOP 25 PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST: Veronica Nelson was named as one of 25 finalists for the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The 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 list is comprised of nine Pac-10 players and represents a total of 19 colleges and nine different conferences. The list will be reduced to 10 players on April 29th, with three finalists being named on May 13th. The winner will be announced at the World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. Catcher Courtney Scott was selected to the initial list of 40 announced in February.