California Drops NCAA Tournament Opener to BYU, 3-1

May 19, 2005

FRESNO, Calif. - The BYU softball team broke up a Kristina Thorson no-hitter with three runs in the sixth inning as the No. 4 Cougars defeated top-seeded California in the NCAA Tournament opener at the Fresno State Regional, 3-1, Thursday at Bulldog Diamond.

With the loss, Cal (46-12) was relegated to the loser's bracket and will play No. 3 Long Beach State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in an elimination game. The 49ers (39-15) fell to host Fresno State in Thursday's regional opener, 4-0. BYU plays Fresno State on Friday at 3 p.m. with the victor advancing to the championship game.

For Cal, which now must win four straight to advance to the next round, Thursday's loss snapped a 13-game regional winning streak, dating to 2001, and a seven-year opening-game regional winning streak, dating to 1998.

'This isn't the situation we wanted to be in but it's time to see what we're made of,' Cal head coach Diane Ninemire said. 'We'll come back with everything we have. It's been four years - Florida State in 2001 - since we had to go to that `if' game.'

The Bears took a 1-0 lead on a second inning two-out single from right fielder Alex Sutton that scored shortstop Chelsea Spencer. Cal mustered just two hits the rest of the way and four on the evening.

Thorson (21-5) didn't allow a Cougar hit through the first five innings and faced just two batters over the minimum. She gave up back-to-back base hits to BYU catcher Lauren Watson-Perry and shortstop Krystle Chamberlain to begin the sixth before striking out second baseman Debbie Dodds. A wild pitch, however, during the next at-bat, moved both runners in to scoring position.

Thorson got first baseman Ianeta Le'i to pop out to Spencer and, with two down, the Bears intentionally walked third baseman Ashlyn Russell. The next hitter, designated player Paige Paramore, grounded to Spencer, who tried to backhand the ball before seeing it glance off her glove and into left field. The ball rolled toward the foul line - away from left fielder Lindsay James - allowing the bases to empty.

Two batters later, with Emi Snow pinch running for Paramore at second, pinch hitter Ariel Capra singled to center field. The throw from Kaleo Eldredge was on line and across the plate and catcher Haley Woods brought the tag into the face of a sliding Snow. The blow collapsed Snow, who began convulsing. She eventually regained control and paramedics arrived on the field minutes later. Following the game, it was reported that Snow's condition had improved.

Thorson, who entered the game having allowed just one run in her last 35.2 innings pitched, struck out seven in six innings of work Thursday. Junior Summer Tobias improved to 19-6 for BYU.

Designated player Emily Friedman went 2-for-3 for Cal, who collected all four of its hits from the last three spots in the batting order.

Notes: James made her return to the Cal lineup Thursday following an 18-game hiatus from a broken left hand suffered April 8 ... now at 18, Eldredge set the Cal career hit by pitch mark when Tobias plunked her in the third inning ... Cal is 4-10 all-time in regional play after the lose the first game but is 18-12 when facing elimination.

Softball ResultNCAA Regional No. 2Bulldog Diamond; Fresno, Calif.May 19, 2005

4 BYU 000 003 0 - 3 5 01 California 010 000 0 - 1 4 1Tobias and Watson-Perry; Thorson, Anderson (7) and WoodsW - Tobias (19-6); L - Thorson (21-5)2B - ParamoreRecords (Regional): Cal 46-12 (0-1); BYU 45-12 (1-0)Attendance: 1,303Notes:BYU advances to winner's bracket to face Fresno State (May 20, 3 p.m.)Cal relegated to loser's bracket to face Long Beach State (May 20, 5:30 p.m.)Game delayed 17 minutes in the sixth inning due to collision at home plateBYU head coach Eakin ejected in seventh inning