Michigan Outlasts Cal; Bears Rebound Against Liberty
March 23, 2007
Louisville - The No. 25-ranked California Golden Bears had plenty of offense to defeat Liberty, 18-6, but not enough against the sixth-ranked Wolverines of Michigan, falling 11-8 in the first day of the Women 4 Women Softball Invitational hosted by Louisville on Friday night.
Cal (23-13) returns to action versus Louisville tomorrow at 10 a.m.
The 18 runs scored by the Bears were the most runs scored since 1993 when Cal defeated Stanford 22-2. In all, Cal scored 18 runs on 15 hits with 14 RBI vs. Liberty. Freshman Bernice Masaniai extended her hitting streak to 12 games after going 1-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of runs. Katie Vickers went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored as well, while Erika Racklin scored three runs.
Cal exploded for six runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead on Liberty. Gina Leomiti provided the first key hit of the inning when her double to right field plated Alex Sutton, who led off the inning with a single. After Masaniai punched a single to right field to plate Christina Schallig, Vickers followed with a single to score Gina Leomiti, giving the Bears a 3-1 lead. Vernae Sevilla then delivered her first career home run when her three-run blast sailed over the left field wall, scoring Vickers and Masaniai as well.
The Lady Flames would not fade away and actually tied the score at 6-6 after a five-run third inning. Two RBI doubles each from Ashley Williams and J'nae Jefferson were the key hits in the inning for Liberty.
The Bears came right back with a five-run fourth inning to take a commanding 11-6 lead. Vickers provided a crucial single to right field to score both Morgan Siegel and Schallig. Head coach Diane Ninemire then called a double steal, resulting in Vickers moving to second and Masaniai scoring from third.
Cal left little doubt in the sixth with another six runs to put the game out of reach for good. Brittany LaRosa was inserted as a pinch hitter and delivered with a key double to left field to score both Julie Meyer and Shannon Houston.
Due to traveling issues, Cal's game versus Michigan resulted in a later start time. Cal did not feel the effects of having to wait a little longer for its start time after posting a three-run first inning to take a 3-0 lead on the Wolverines. After Sutton drew a walk to begin the inning, Racklin notched a single to left field to advance Sutton to second base. Schallig then smacked a double into center field which scored both Racklin and Sutton. After Leomiti singled and stole second base, Katie Vickers singled to right field to plate Schallig, giving the Bears the early upper hand.
Michigan responded in the top of the second inning with three runs of its own to knot the score at 3-3. An error and back-to-back RBI from Samantha Findlay and Molly Bausher allowed Michigan to square the contest.
The Bears came right back in the seesaw affair to take a 6-3 lead courtesy of a three-run second. Racklin's second single of the game plated Siegel, who led off the inning with a walk. After Racklin stole second, Schallig connected for a double to center field to score Racklin. Two batters later, Masaniai singled to plate Schallig. Masaniai was out on the play after Schallig had scored.
The Wolverines managed to even the count at 6-6 with another three-run output in the third stanza. Michigan produced three consecutive hits resulting in its first run. A sacrifice fly and a bunt single drove in the next two runs.
After a scoreless fourth, Michigan created some separation with four runs in the fifth to take a 10-6 lead. Findlay produced the inning's big hit with a grand slam off of LaRosa, who relieved starter Lauren Frankiewicz in the top of the fourth.
Cal had a brief seventh inning rally when Sevilla connected for a bases loaded one-out single which allowed the pinch runner, Houston to score. Meyer then grounded out to the short stop allowing Masaniai to score, before Carly Winger grounded out to Michigan pitcher Nikki Nemitz to end the game.
LaRosa suffered the loss for Cal to fall to 4-4. Schallig went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of runs, while Racklin went 3-for-4 with two runs. Masaniai extended her hitting streak to 11 games after registering two hits on four plate appearances.
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