California (47-12) Tournament Notes, May 21
May 21, 2005
FRESNO, Calif. -
Today's Game*: vs. Fresno State (43-10)Fresno, CA (Bulldog Diamond), 3:00 p.m.Fresno State Regional Championship*A Cal victory forces a second game at 5:30 p.m.
SURVIVOR BEARS BATTLE TO TITLE GAME: Trailing Long Beach State, 3-2, with two outs in the top of the seventh on Friday and facing elimination, junior Haley Woods breathed new life into the Bears' 2005 postseason. The catcher belted a two-strike, two-run double to the base of the center field wall that scored junior left fielder Lindsay James and senior third baseman Vicky Galindo to give Cal a 4-3 victory. The Bears advanced to the loser's bracket final to face BYU, who had defeated Cal, 3-1, on Thursday. Behind a Kelly Anderson no-hitter - the sixth of her career and the second in Cal softball postseason history - the Bears dispatched of the Cougars, 9-0, in five innings. The Bears move on to the Fresno State Regional championship where they will face the host Bulldogs today at 3 p.m. A Cal victory forces a second game at 5:30 p.m. The Bears will be the home team in the fist game and would be the visitors in a second game.
CAL VS. FRESNO STATE IN POSTSEASON: The Bears have faced the Bulldogs more than any other team in their postseason history. While Fresno State holds a 14-6 all-time advantage, Cal has held the upper hand recently. In 2002, the two schools opened postseason play in and Cal defeated the Bulldogs 2-1, in 10 innings en route to winning the Women's College World Series title. At the 2000 Fresno State Regional, the Bears qualified for the WCWS by trumping the Bulldogs, 2-0, in the final. Including today, Cal and Fresno State have met seven times in a regional final with a next-round berth on the line. Of the 11 regional trips Cal has made to Fresno, either the Bears of Bulldogs have eliminated the other on seven occasions. Aside from 2000, 1996 was the only year that Cal had defeated the Bulldogs to win a regional title in Fresno. Despite both school's storied softball histories, the Bears and Bulldogs have met just twice (1995, Sacramento State) at a regional outside of Fresno.
FRESNO STATE RECEIVES SOME SOUTHERN COMFORT: The Bulldogs advanced to today's championship on the strength of senior Jamie Southern's right arm. Southern (28-3, 0.38 ERA) three-hit Long Beach State with 11 strikeouts in the Bulldogs' regional opener Thursday and followed that impressive performance up with an 11-strikeout no-hitter of BYU Friday. Southern hasn't allowed an earned run in her last 74.1 innings and has won her last 12 starts.
A SHOT AT HISTORY: Despite the format change for this season's NCAA Tournament, Cal has never won more than two consecutive games in regional play after dropping the opening game. Aside the from this year's tournament, the other instance came in 1997, when Cal fell to Fresno State in the first round (7-0), rebounded to defeat Cal State Northridge (3-2, 9 innings) and Long Beach State (3-1) before falling to the Bulldogs in the final, 9-3. This season, Cal has posted five stretches of four consecutive victories, the latest of which came over the last two weekends of regular season play and helped keep the Bears in the Pac-10 Conference title chase. Having to win out to take the league crown, Cal defeated No. 25 Oregon in back-to-back 1-0 games (May 7-8) before dispatching of No. 3 Arizona, 1-0 (May 12), and Arizona State, 9-1 (May 13).
THE RECORDS: Through Friday, Cal is 6-10 when losing the first game of a regional series, 20-12 when facing elimination, 44-27 in regional play and 18-15 at regional games in Fresno,
THORSON GETS THE BALL FOR CAL: Junior Kristina Thorson (22-5, 1.13 ERA) will make her second start in the Fresno State Regional today. Thorson had allowed just one earned run in 35.2 innings entering the postseason but was touched up for three runs in Cal's opening-round loss to BYU. The junior did strike out seven Cougar hitters. She relieved starter Kelly Anderson in the second inning of yesterday's game against Long Beach and yielded two runs. Thorson's has a 3.01 tournament ERA in 11.2 innings pitched and has allowed nine hits, five runs (all earned), struck out 10 against three walks and faced 48 batters.
ANDERSON COMES UP HUGE: Senior Kelly Anderson's five inning no-hitter against BYU Friday not only kept Cal in postseason contention but made history as well. Anderson's six career no-hitters tie her for second place with Erin Cassidy (1986-89) all-time at Cal. Last evening's gem was just the second postseason no-hitter by a Cal pitcher and the first since Jocelyn Forest (1999-02) no-hit Massachusetts in a 2-1, eight-inning Cal victory May 22, 1999. The start was a redemption of sorts for Anderson (25-7, 1.21 ERA), who started Cal's Friday win against Long Beach State, but was knocked out after just 1.1 innings. She tossed an inning of relief in the Bears' opening-round loss to BYU. In three tournament appearances and 7.1 innings of work, Anderson has allowed one run (none earned), struck out seven, walked seven and faced 30 batters.
CAN'T STOP SUTTON: If you're looking for the hottest hitter in Cal's lineup, you'd have to go down to the No. 9 slot in the order to find her. Sophomore right fielder Alex Sutton has hit safely and had at least one RBI in five of Cal's last six games. The best nine-day stretch of Sutton's 2005 season began May 12, when she hit a game-winning, bottom-of-the-seventh RBI-single that helped Cal topple No. 3 Arizona, 1-0. She went 2-for-3 a day later as Cal defeated Arizona State, 9-1, and hit her first homer of the year in the Bears' season-ending, 2-1, loss to the Sun Devils May 14. Against BYU Friday, she singled home senior shortstop Chelsea Spencer in the second inning for an early 1-0 lead. Sutton went hitless against Long Beach State on Friday but rebounded with two hits and a pair of RBI in the Bears' 9-0 trumping of BYU. On May 12, Sutton was hitting .198. Since going 7-for-14 (.500) with six RBI over Cal's last six games, she is now batting .236. Sutton has had a penchant for coming through in the clutch. In 2004, she collected three hits and had two RBI in a 4-1 national semifinal win against LSU that helped vault Cal into the Women's College World Series title game.
JAMES UPDATE: Junior left fielder Lindsay James' current season average of .455 is 11 points shy of the program's single-year mark of .466 set by Gillian Boxx (1992-95) in 1995. Even if James doesn't set a new mark, she still has an excellent shot at becoming the first Bear to hit over .400 since Boxx. James made her return to the Cal lineup in the regional opener against BYU Thursday after an 18-game hiatus (4/8-5/14) due to a broken left hand.
LOOKING AHEAD: The winner of the Fresno State Regional faces the survivor of the Auburn Regional, which includes the host Tigers, 15th-seeded Baylor, Florida State and Florida A&M. In Friday's opening round, 2004 WCWS participant Florida State defeated Auburn, 5-0, and Baylor slid past Florida A&M, 1-0. Early Saturday, Baylor advanced to the title game with a 9-5 victory over Florida State.
MISCELLANEOUS: Senior center fielder Kaleo Eldredge became Cal's career runs scored leader at 157 when she touched home against BYU last evening ... Eldredge set the Bears' career hit by pitch mark at 18 Thursday after getting plunked by BYU's Summer Tobias ... the Bears have left 19 runners on base in three tournament games.
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