No. 3 California Opens Pac-10 Play in Arizona
March 31, 2005
This Week:April 1 vs. No. 18 Arizona State (25-7)Tempe, Ariz. (Farrington Stadium), 7:00 p.m. PST
April 2 vs. No. 2 Arizona (26-2)Tucson, Ariz. (Hillenbrand Stadium), 7:00 p.m.
April 3 vs. No. 2 Arizona (26-2)Tucson, Ariz. (Hillenbrand Stadium), 1:00 p.m.
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 3 California softball team begins Pac-10 play against two of the conference's and nation's elite clubs. The Golden Bears (29-3), winners of seven of their last eight, open Pac-10 play at No. 18 Arizona State (25-7) April 1 before continuing the road trip with a two-game series at No. 2 Arizona, April 2-3.
CAL IN THE PAC-10: Cal hasn't won the Pac-10 title since the inaugural banner was awarded in 1987 and has finished as high as second (2004) just once. However, in a conference that has captured 17 of the 23 NCAA softball titles awarded, Pac-10 success has meant little in the way of postseason prosperity for the Bears. In Cal's six consecutive runs to the Women's College World Series (1999-2004), Cal has averaged a fourth-place finish in the Pac-10 standings despite finishing first (2002), second (2003, 2004), third (1999), fifth (2001) and seventh (2001) at the WCWS. Under head coach Diane Ninemire, Cal is just 189-185 (.505) in Pac-10 play.
ANDERSON IMPRESSES: Both of Cal's starting pitchers are having exceptional seasons but senior Kelly Anderson has been especially tough for the Bears in the circle of late. Anderson is coming off of her best week of 2005, capturing her first career Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award after tossing a no-hitter and tying a season-high of 11 strikeouts in Cal's 5-0 victory against North Carolina March 26. Anderson went 3-0 at the Carolina Classic (March 25-27), allowing six hits, striking out 23 and yielding zero earned runs in 19 innings. The no-hitter was the fourth of the Woodland, Calif., native's Cal career and her first in more than two seasons (see below). Anderson's team-leading 0.80 ERA includes a 0.60 mark over the last 13 games.
Anderson's Career No-HittersDate Opponent ResultFeb. 16, 2003* Hawai'i 1-0, LMarch 2, 2003 Minnesota 7-0, WMarch 15, 2003 Florida International 5-1, WMarch 26, 2005 North Carolina 5-0, W*Combined with teammate Jen Deering
JAMES IS A HIT: Left fielder Lindsay James emerged as one of Cal's most reliable hitters in 2004, posting a .356 batting average. The junior, however, is taking her plate prowess to new heights this season. James raised her 2005 season average 42 points to a team-leading .470, following an 11-for-16 performance at the Carolina Classic. James, a Pac-10 Player of the Week nominee (March 29), trails only Arizona's Caitlin Lowe (.520) in conference hitting. James has hit safely in 20 of Cal's last 22 games, a run that included a team and season-high 13-game hitting streak (Feb. 26-March 12). James also led the Bears with a 28-game hitting streak in 2004.
SCOUTING NO. 18 ARIZONA STATE (25-7): The Sun Devils snapped Cal's season-high 13-game winning streak (Feb. 26-March 12), with a 1-0 win in the title game of the National Invitation Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif., March 13 ... in that game, ASU sophomore first baseman Sharee Zaleski hit a fifth-inning solo round-tripper to provide the winning margin ... freshman pitcher Katie Burkhart, who picked up the victory, is 9-3 with a team-leading 0.64 ERA and 129 strikeouts while junior Desiree Serrano is 10-2 with a 0.95 ERA ... freshman Mindy Cowles has been the Sun Devils' top offensive threat with club-leading marks in batting average (.352), slugging percentage (.773), on-base percentage (.482), runs (35), RBI (29) and total bases (68) ... Cal and ASU wrap-up the Pac-10 regular season May 13-14 in Berkeley ... ASU finished eighth in the Pac-10 in 2004 (3-17 Pac-10, 33-31 overall) and was the only conference school not extended an NCAA Tournament bid ... The Bears are 48-29 all-time against ASU and swept the three-game season series in 2005 by a 20-0 aggregate ... the head coach of the Sun Devils is Linda Wells (558-396 ASU, 16th season) ... for more on Arizona State softball, visit TheSunDevils.com.
SCOUTING NO. 2 ARIZONA (26-2): Sophomore Caitlin Lowe, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, leads the Wildcats and Pac-10 conference with a .520 batting average, 107 points higher than teammate Kristie Fox's .413 ... in the circle, junior Alicia Hollowell leads the Pac-10 in opposing batting average (.081), strikeouts (247), wins (17-1) and has a 0.49 ERA ... Arizona's two losses are to No. 1 Michigan (6-2) and No. 5 Texas (1-0, 10 innings) ... the Wildcats swept the season series from Cal in 2004 and lead the all-time series, 56-17 ... Arizona won the Pac-10 title in 2004 (17-3 Pac-10, 55-6 overall) but was eliminated in the NCAA Region 1 Tournament ... Arizona is coached by Mike Candrea (1,008-193, 20th year at Arizona) ... for more information on Arizona softball, visit ArizonaAthletics.com.
OLYMPIC LEGACY: Friday's game against Arizona State will be a reunion of sorts for four members of the 2004 Greek Olympic softball team. Ninemire was an assistant coach to head coach Wells on the inaugural Greek squad while James played left fielder and ASU assistant coach Stacey Farnworth caught. In addition, Candrea was the head coach of the U.S. team that captured the gold medal in Athens.
STEALING SUCCESS: The 2005 season is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for Cal on the base paths. With 70 thefts in 77 attempts (.909), Cal is on pace to break the program record of 104 stolen bases, set in 1979. Freshman speedster Erika Racklin leads the Bears with 15 steals in 15 attempts. Senior Vicky Galindo is second on Cal, having swiped 14 bases in 16 chances.
A SILVER LINING: If there's such a thing as a quality loss, Cal can take solace in the fact that its three defeats this season have all come to teams that have been ranked, at one point, in the Top 25 of either national poll. Cal's first loss came to No. 16 Texas A&M (currently No. 9), 5-2, on Feb. 26. The Sun Devils, receiving votes when they defeated Cal on March 13, are now No. 18. Northwestern, No. 23 when they beat Cal March 18, is currently No. 20.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Credit reserve Shannon Harper with two RBIs in Cal's 12-0 victory against Mount St. Mary's March 5. An official at the Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament (Honolulu, Hawaii) reversed a scoring error and declared the senior should be awarded two RBIs on her seventh-inning single that plated center fielder Kaleo Eldredge and right fielder Kristen Bayless.
TV TIME: Two of the Bears three games against No. 7 UCLA will be televised this season. Fox Sports will show Cal's April 9 game against UCLA tape delayed on April 10. The April 29 game in Los Angeles was picked up by ESPNU. Check local listings for air times.