Ninemire Seeks 900th Win; Cal Travels to Las Vegas for Tournament

Feb. 27, 2008

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21st year head coach Diane Ninemire will look to collect career win No. 900 this weekend when the California softball team (10-7) will play at the ELLER MEDIA STADIUM CLASSIC hosted by UNLV, Feb. 29-Mar. 2 in Las Vegas. Ninemire has a chance to reach the milestone on Friday, when the Bears take on Long Beach State at 1:30 p.m. Cal also tangles with Pittsburgh, Hawaii, UNLV and Western Kentucky in the three-day tournament.

More on Ninemire

Ninemire has accumulated the second-most wins in Pac-10 history (899) and will be the 11th softball coach in NCAA history to have 900 or more wins. The next winningest active coach in the Pac-10 is Stanford's John Rittman, who had 465 entering the 2008 season. Mississippi State's Jay Miller (slated at No. 12 all-time in NCAA wins) has 898 wins in 26 years through games played Feb. 25. Entering the 2008 season, Ninemire had 889 wins in 20 years of service at Cal, ranking her first among active coaches in their 21st year, well ahead of Tennessee's Ralph Weekly, who has 841 (15th all-time) and Texas Tech's Teresa Wilson (16th all-time) with 801.

Recapping the Cal Poly Classic

Cal finished last weekend's Mustang Classic, hosted by Cal Poly, with a 3-2 record ... freshman Sanoe Kekahuna continued her torrid pace at the plate, notching a .615 batting average with four runs, a home run and nine RBI ... newcomers Carrie Arth and Lauren Bauer hit back-to-back home runs against Santa Clara on Feb. 23 (their first home runs as members of the team) ... Marissa Drewrey picked up a pair of victories in the circle and registered 24 strikeouts in the process.

Hot bats

Cal has 146 hits (second in the Pac-10) through 17 games this season, 23 more than last season when the Bears had 123 hits thru 17 games ... the Bears also have six players (with a minimum of 10 plate appearances) hitting over .300 ... freshman Sanoe Kekahuna leads the team in batting average (.460), hits (23), doubles (5), home runs (6), RBI (28) and total bases (46) ... Cal's RBI production is up from last season as well -- the Bears have accumulated 94 RBI, six more than last year through 17 games ... the timely hitting has led to a bundle of runs as well -- Cal has crossed home plate 103 times, third-most in the Pac-10.

The Big Kahuna

To say that Sanoe Kekahuna is playing well this season would be a severe understatement. The freshman product from Maui is producing at a blistering pace at the dish this season. Kekahuna ranks in the top 10 in several categories among the Pac-10 leaders - No. 9 in batting average (.460), first in home runs (6), first in RBI (28), second in slugging percentage (.920), first in total bases (34) and third in doubles (5). Kekahuna owns the league's longest hitting streak, which lasted 12 games from Feb. 10-Feb. 23. Kekahuna is already 30 RBI away from tying the school single-season record of 58 set by Haley Woods in 2005. Kekahuna could also potentially break into the top 5 single season hits record. Gillian Boxx had 90 hits in 1995.

Rarely caught stealing

Senior Erika Racklin has seven stolen bases in nine attempts this season and currently has 51 for her career (60 attempts). Racklin entered the Cal record books at No. 5 all-time when she stole two bases against UAB at the Mustang Classic on Feb. 22.

Standing tall in the circle

Marissa Drewrey, the 6-3 product from Oakdale, CA, has a team-high six wins in the circle (fourth in the Pac-10) this season with a 1.43 ERA (eighth in the Pac-10) and 86 strikeouts (third in the Pac-10). She allowed just one hit in five innings and struck out nine of the 15 batters she faced in Cal's 8-0 win over Santa Clara on Feb. 23. Drewrey earned the win against Nebraska at the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 15 when she allowed one run on one hit and six Ks in seven innings of work in Cal's 6-1 victory. She was impressive in Cal's opening weekend of play at the Cathedral City Classic when she recorded a career-best 14 strikeouts vs. Winthrop and had 13 strikeouts the following game vs. New Mexico State. She finished the tournament with 40 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched (with a 0.73 ERA) ... last season, Drewrey didn't record her 40th strikeout until Mar. 28 at Pacific (or 73.3 innings pitched).

Senior leadership

Before the start of the season, head coach Diane Ninemire was hoping to get plenty leadership from the seniors to guide the Bears this season. So far so good. Katie Vickers is hitting .349 this season with seven RBI ... Erika Racklin has a .357 batting average with a team-high 17 runs (second in the Pac-10) and seven stolen bases (third in the Pac-10) ... Julie Meyer is hitting .262 and hit her first home run of the season against Texas Tech on Feb. 16.

How are the newcomers doing?

Referenced by Graham Hays of ESPN.com on his 'new faces poised to make instant impacts,' Valerie Arioto is quickly developing her craft at the plate and in the circle. Arioto hit .333 at the dish at the Mustang Classic, with six runs and five RBI. She picked up her third of the year after allowing an earned run on three hits in five innings of work with five strikeouts against UAB on Feb. 22. She went 1-0 in the circle and tossed her first collegiate complete game, one-hit shutout against Western Michigan on Feb. 16 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. She also posted nine strikeouts against WMU. She tallied a .467 batting average to go along with two runs, a double, a triple and four RBI at the Cathedral City Classic (Feb. 8-10). Her impact at the plate was key in Cal's 5-1 win over Winthrop (2/9), when she went 2-for-3 with four RBI, including a bases-clearing triple in the second inning which gave Cal a 3-0 lead. Arioto is hitting .345 this season and has a 2.15 ERA with 31 strikeouts in the circle.

Carrie Arth has provided a nice spark for the Bears lately, earning two straight starts on Feb. 23 and 24 ... she went 1-for-3 and hit her first career home run against Santa Clara on Feb. 23 and scored a run and had a double against Sacramento State on Feb. 24.

Savannah Hensley has appeared primarily as a pinch runner, but has produced when on the base pads ... she has four runs and two RBI in eight games played this season

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