No. 2 Cal Hosts No. 6 Oregon State, No. 25 Oregon
May 4, 2005
This Week:May 6 vs. No. 6 Oregon State (38-10, 11-4), 1:00 p.m.May 7 vs. No. 25 Oregon (30-19, 5-10), 1:00 p.m.May 8 vs. No. 25 Oregon, 1:00 p.m.All games at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.
WHAT'S ON TAP: The Pac-10 season hits the home stretch for the No. 2 California softball team as the Bears open a season-ending, six-game homestand beginning May 6 with No. 6 Oregon State and continuing May 7-8 against No. 25 Oregon. All games are at Levine-Fricke Field with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The third-place Bears trail conference leader OSU by two games in the standings and No. 4 Stanford by one.
ON THE HORIZON: Of the handful of teams still in the running for the Pac-10 title, Cal may have the most favorable odds of coming out on top. Cal contests just one game with league-leader Oregon State and fourth-place and No. 3 Arizona, while second-place Stanford plays the Beavers and Wildcats twice. Aside from its two games this week with seventh-place Oregon, Cal wraps-up the year with a pair of contests against cellar-dwelling and unranked Arizona State (May 13-14). Oregon State finishes the season with two games at No. 14 UCLA, a day after playing at No. 20 Washington. Cal has not won the Pac-10 crown since the inaugural banner was awarded in 1987.
THORSON COMES THROUGH: What was a luxury for Cal of having two quality starters earlier in the season has become something of a necessity as of late. With co-No. 1 starter Kelly Anderson taking losses in four of her last six appearances, junior Kristina Thorson has risen to the occasion to keep Cal ranked among the nation's elite and in the chase for the Pac-10 title. Thorson's most valuable pitching stretch of 2005 came this past week. On April 29, she set down No. 13 UCLA lineup in order in the sixth and seventh innings to earn her second save of the year and preserve victory for Anderson in Cal's 3-2 win. The following day, Thorson struck out a season-high 13 Huskies and allowed two hits in a 1-0 victory at No. 22 Washington. She entered Sunday's game in the sixth inning with two Huskies in scoring position, none out and Cal trailing 1-0. Thorson promptly struck out the first two hitters before inducing a fielder's choice to give Cal a chance at victory in the top of the seventh. Thorson leads the Pac-10 and Cal in ERA (1.03) and has struck out 186 hitters. Along with sophomore Sarah Adams, the Cal pitching staff leads the Pac-10 in wins (42), opposing batting average (.156), innings pitched (342.1) and are tied for first with No. 3 Arizona in ERA (1.21) and least home runs allowed (16). The Bears' team ERA is seventh nationally.
GALINDO STAYS SOLID: Third baseman Vicky Galindo has always been a catalyst for Cal from the leadoff position. While that's still true in 2005, perhaps no player in the lineup has had a greater effect on Cal's success than Galindo. The senior is hitting .412 in games Cal has won versus .259 when the Bears lose. She holds the top Cal hitting clips with two outs (.440), with runners in scoring position (.409) and against righthanders (.402). Her 61 percent success rate in advancing runners leads Cal as do her overall batting average (.379), runs (40), doubles (11), and stolen bases (17). Her worth to the Bears was highlighted twice in crucial Cal victories this past week. In the Cal's April 29 victory at UCLA, her second-inning double scored right fielder Alex Sutton to tie the game 2-2. Later in the inning, Galindo used her speed to score on a passed ball for the eventual winning run. A day later at Washington, Galindo tripled in the third and scored the only run of the game on shortstop Chelsea Spencer's sac bunt.
NINEMIRE'S PUSH FOR 800: If the Bears can sweep this weekend's homestand, it will give Cal head coach Diane Ninemire 800 career victories. Ninemire (797-377), already the winningest coach in the history of California athletics, would become just the 20th Division I softball coach to amass 800 victories. In her 18 seasons at the helm, Ninemire has captured a national championship (2002), led Cal to six consecutive Women's College World Series appearances (eight overall), won at least 35 games each season and never suffered a losing campaign. Her first coaching victory came on Feb. 15, 1988 with a 2-0 victory against Pacific.
JAMES UPDATE: A broken left hand is still expected to keep left fielder Lindsay James out of the Cal lineup for at least the remainder of the regular season. James, hitting .478 when Washington pitcher Ashley Boek struck her with a first-inning pitch April 8, had been especially valuable in the clutch for Cal, batting .514 with runners on base versus .417 when the bases were empty. The left fielder should have enough at-bats to qualify for any season honors and is poised to become not only the program's top single-season hitter, but Cal's first .400-plus hitter since catcher Gillian Boxx hit .466 in 1995.
WEEK IN REVIEW (4/25-5/1): During one of its more arduous roadtrips of 2005, Cal came from behind to win at No. 13 UCLA, 3-2, on April 29 before flying to Seattle to split a pair of weekend 1-0 games with No. 22 Washington. Against UCLA, the Bears scored all of their runs in the third inning and Anderson and Thorson combined to hold the Bruins to two hits as Cal claimed its first series victory from its Southern California rivals since 1998. Cal also took the season series from Washington with a 1-0 victory April 30, as a Thorson allowed her only two hits of 10 innings she worked in the week. The Huskies bounced back May 1 as starter Caitlin Noble no-hit Cal through three and one-third innings. The Bears collected just two hits, their lowest amount since being one-hit by UCLA April 10.
TRIO OF BEARS VIE FOR TOP HONOR: On April 6, Galindo, Anderson and James were named to the list of 25 finalists for USA Softball's 2005 Collegiate Player of the Year award, the sport's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Galindo, a first team All-American, All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-10 selection in 2004, is hitting .379 this season with a team-leading 11 doubles and 17 steals. She's also been a spark at the top of the order for with a .435 on-base percentage and has successfully reached base 49 percent of the time when leading off an inning or game. Anderson holds the best record among Cal's pitchers at 22-5 and has a 1.30 ERA. James was hitting a team-leading .478 at the time of an injury that is expected to keep her out through the remainder of regular-season play. Cal, along with No. 3 Arizona and No. 5 Oklahoma, are the only programs to have three players named as finalists. The 2005 POY will be named during the Women's College World Series, June 2-6, in Oklahoma City. The current field of 25 finalists will be narrowed down to 10 on May 10 and to three on May 31.
STEALING SUCCESS: The 2005 season is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for Cal on the base paths. With 88 team thefts this year, the Bears have a chance to break the program record of 104 stolen bases, set in 1979. As a team, Cal leads the Pac-10, with 22 more stolen bases than second-place Washington (66). Galindo paces Cal with 17 stolen bases while freshman speedster Erika Racklin has nabbed 15. Three other Bears have stolen at least nine bases apiece.
BEST OF THE BEST: With eight seniors and four, four-year starters, it's no surprise that a few Bears are chasing or have already set some program records. A complete list of which current Bears rank among the program's historical elite is available on page four of this release by viewing the PDF version, located at the top of the page.
SCOUTING THE NO. 6 BEAVERS (37-10 OVERALL, 11-4 PAC-10): The surprise of the Pac-10 (the Beavers were picked to finish seventh in a preseason coaches poll), Oregon State holds a one-game conference lead on No. 4 Stanford and a two-game lead over Cal ... the Bears and OSU split the first legs of their season series in Corvallis, Ore., with the Beavers coming from behind to win, 6-5, April 16 and a Galindo home run the difference in a 2-1 Bears victory on April 18 ... sophomore Brianne McGowan (31-5, 1.54 ERA) has been a huge factor in Oregon State's success as she leads the conference in wins, starts (34), batters struck out looking (68) and innings pitched (241.0) ... junior catcher Lisa Allen is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week after swatting a game-winning grand slam in a 4-0 win at No. 2 Arizona May 1 and hitting .462 (6-for-13) with a 1.000 slugging percentage over a three-game stretch (4/29-5/1) .... junior outfielder Adrienne Alo's 12 homers, 81 total bases and .555 slugging percentage lead OSU ... junior first baseman Vanessa Iapala's 15 doubles lead the Pac-10 ... the Beavers are coached by Kirk Walker (11th year, 372-302-2) ... Cal is 58-25 all-time against the Beavers and has won eight of the last 11 meetings ... Oregon State's No. 6 ranking is the highest in program history ... the Beavers haven't lost a road conference game this season and are a Pac-10-best 13-5 against ranked teams ... Oregon State will finish with a plus-.500 conference winning percentage for the first time in school history ... for more information on Oregon State softball, visit www.OSUBeavers.com.
SCOUTING THE NO. 25 DUCKS (30-19 OVERALL, 5-10 Pac-10): Junior righthander Amy Harris is coming off of Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors after striking out a combined 28 hitters in 28 innings in Oregon's victories against No. 2 Arizona (3-0, April 29) and Arizona State (3-0, May 1) ... Harris (14-10) is fourth in the Pac-10 in ERA (1.16), innings pitched (174.2) and appearances and has 162 strikeouts ... outfielder freshman Lovena Chaput leads Oregon in batting average (.338), runs (28), hits (50), doubles (10), homers (5) and total bases (79) ... the Ducks are coached by Kathy Arendsen (3rd year, 109-59) ... in the first game of the season series, Cal posted a four-run sixth inning to win 6-5 in Eugene, Ore., April 15 ... Cal leads the all-time series 61-29 and has won 11 of the last 13 meetings ... the Ducks play a doubleheader at UC Davis May 5 and at Stanford May 6 before their weekend slate in Berkeley ... for more information on Oregon softball, visit www.GoDucks.com.
ETC: Cal leads the Pac-10 in wins (42), winning percentage (.824), at-bats (1,322), plate appearances (1,573), putouts (1,026) and chances (1,482) and are second in hits (389), runs (266), doubles (60), walks (150), sacrifice bunts (58), flys (14) and fielding percentage (.977) ... Cal is 14-8 against ranked teams this season ... the Bears are 38-3 when leading after four innings and their only two losses when leading after five have come on walk-off homers ... Cal is 37-4 when scoring first, 26-0 when the opponent makes two or more errors and 24-0 when scoring five-plus runs ... the Bears longest win streak of 2005 was 13 games (2/26-3/12) ... Cal has lost 11 games this season due to rain ... four of the top five spots among Pac-10 plate appearance leaders are occupied by Bear hitters: second baseman Kaleo Eldredge (181), second baseman Jessica Pamanian and catcher Haley Woods (178) and shortstop Chelsea Spencer (163).
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