Golden Bears Continue Pac-10 Play on the Road at UW and #1 UCLA
April 2, 2008
QuicklyThe 21st-ranked California softball team (32-12, 1-2) hits the road this weekend at No. 24 Washington on Friday, and at No. 1 UCLA for games on Saturday and Sunday.
Bear bitsJunior Gina Leomiti was selected as the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Tuesday after compiling a .750 batting average with six runs and three home runs last week for California. This was her first career Player of the Week honor. Leomiti joins sophomore Marissa Drewrey (Mar. 18) as the other Golden Bear to earn the weekly conference accolade this season. The left fielder from San Diego helped Cal to a 3-2 record, including wins over UC Riverside, Pacific and No. 10 Arizona (on Saturday) at Levine-Fricke Field. Against UC Riverside on Mar. 25, Leomiti went 1-for-2 with a two-run home run and two runs scored in a 10-4 win. The following day versus Pacific, she went a perfect 3-for-3 from the dish with a double, two runs and an RBI in Cal's 9-0 win. Against the No. 1-ranked Sun Devils of Arizona State, Leomiti had three hits on four plate appearances, including a solo home run off of the Pac-10s best pitcher - Katie Burkhart. Despite Cal's 5-2 loss to Arizona on Sunday, Leomiti smacked her sixth home run over the season in the third inning which gave Cal a 2-0 lead. For the season, Leomiti is hitting .344 with 36 runs (a personal-best), eight doubles and 37 RBI (a personal-best).
Cal (32-12, 1-2 Pac-10) jumped two spots to No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 poll released today, and entered the USA Today/NFCA Division Top 25 poll for the first time at No. 23 as well.
Olympic GoldThe Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) announced on Friday (Mar. 28) its 15-person roster and three replacement players that will compete this August in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The 15 athletes will look to defend three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals when they begin competition in China on August 12. Former California Golden Bear Vicky Galindo was named to the 15-member roster. Galindo played for Cal from 2003-05 and was a two-time All-American, a three-time all-region selection and a three-time all-conference selection. Galindo scored 141 runs at Cal - fourth-most in program history. Since softball's inception as an Olympic sport in 1996, a Golden Bear player or coach has participated in each Olympiad. Michele Granger (USA), Gillian Boxx (USA) and Lisa Martinez (Puerto Rico) appeared in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta. In addition, former Cal assistant coach Kim Maher, a standout at Fresno State, played for the United States as well that summer. In the 2000 Olympiad, Nicole DiSalvio was the pitcher for Team Italy. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, head coach Diane Ninemire, along with Lindsay James and Chloe Kloezeman, suited up for the inaugural Greek national team, while DiSalvio returned for a second stint with Italian national team. Cal players have also competed for various national teams during non-Olympic years. After suffering a broken arm at the beginning of the Bound 4 Beijing tour, Galindo battled back to make her first Olympic team roster. She is the perfect combination of speed, power and defensive play. Seeing time at second and designated player, she is coming off an outstanding 2007 summer where she was second on the team with a .500 (18-for-36) batting average and no errors in the field.
The dish on UW and UCLAWashington dropped two spots this week in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Apr. 1) to No. 25. The Huskieshave now been ranked in the poll for each of the last 189 weeks. Washington's streak began with the team's No. 15 preseason ranking in 1994 and also includes smaller streaks of 66 straight top-six rankings (2/28/96 - preseason 2001 poll) and 69 consecutive poll rankings in the top 10 (preseason 1996 - 2/28/01). Also, UW moved up one spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll (Apr. 1) to No. 24, marking the first time this season they have been ranked higher in the USA Softball poll than the NFCA poll. The Bruins swept through their first weekend of Pac-10 play in perfect fashion,not allowing a single run against Oregon and Oregon State. UCLA received its sixth Pac-10 Player or Pitcher of the Week award this season as Anjelica Selden was selected the Pitcher of the Week on Apr. 1. Freshman Gionna DiSalvatore has earned the Player honor twice (Feb. 12 & 26), while freshman Donna Kerr was named Pitcher of the Week on March 4.Against Oregon on Sunday, and for the 21st time this season, UCLA scored in its first at-bat, remaining undefeated when doing so.
NFCA RPI updateAccording to the NFCA, Cal's RPI is No. 27 through games played April 1. When determining the RPI for each team, the following basic formula is used for both the NFCA and NCAA RPI: 25% -- Winning percentage. 50% -- Opponents' winning percentage. 25% -- Opponents' opponents' winning percentage. It is critical to note that the NCAA does not endorse the NFCA's RPI. This season, Cal has faced or will face 14 opponents ranked in the RPI Top 50.
Hot batsCal has 351 hits (second in the Pac-10) through 44 games this season, 20 more than last season when the Bears had 331 hits through 44 games ... Cal entered the record books in 2007 with 470 hits - tenth-best all-time ... the Bears also have four players (with a minimum of 10 plate appearances) hitting .300 or better ... freshman Sanoe Kekahuna leads the team in batting average (.392), doubles (14), home runs (7), RBI (42) and total bases (86) ... Cal's RBI production is up from last season as well -- the Bears have accumulated 219 RBI (third in the Pac-10), 11 more than last year through 44 games ... Cal set a program record 278 RBI in 2007 ... the timely hitting has led to a bundle of runs as well -- Cal has crossed home plate 250 times, second-most in the Pac-10 and eight ahead of last year's pace of 242 through 44 games ... Cal had a school-record 322 runs scored in 2007 as well.
The numbers gameCal has outscored its opponents 89-18 in the first two innings of games played this season (46-12 in the first inning and 43-6 in the second inning) ... that scoring outburst has helped Cal to 24-2 record when leading after two innings this season ... additionally, Cal is 30-2 when leading after four innings and 19-0 when leading after six ... it also pays to score three or more runs. Cal is 28-2 when scoring three or more runs, but just 4-10 when being held to two runs or less ... the Bears are a perfect 23-0 when holding its opposition to two runs or less as well.
Multiple offendersTen Golden Bears have had multi-hit games this season, including Gina Leomiti, Erika Racklin and Sanoe Kekahuna producing 13 multi-hit games ... Valerie Arioto has five three-hit games this season ... Leomiti is also a multiple offender, leading the team with 13 multiple RBI games this year ... In fact three Bears have had five or more RBI in a single game this season (Kekahuna, Masaniai and Julie Meyer) ... Leomiti also owns the current longest hitting streak of six games.
Standing tall in the circleMarissa Drewrey, the 6-3 product from Oakdale, CA, has compiled a 20-7 record with a 1.59 ERA and 199 strikeouts (fourth in the Pac-10), including six 10+ strikeout performances ... she has allowed just eight earned runs since Mar. 22 .... she earned win No. 20 after allowing one run to the nationally-ranked Arizona Wlidcats on Mar. 29 ... she earned her first career Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor on Mar. 18 after compiling a 4-0 record and a 0.72 ERA at the Capital Classic in Sacramento (Mar. 14-16) ... Drewrey returned from an injury that sidelined her a little over a week and threw two complete game shutouts against nationally ranked Ohio State and Oklahoma at the Capital Classic ... Against No. 19 Ohio State, she allowed seven hits (and just three after the second inning) to go along with 10 strikeouts in the 2-0 victory ... The following game against No. 11 Oklahoma, she limited the Sooners to three hits over seven innings with three strikeouts ... In the final day of the tournament versus Nevada, Drewrey fanned a career-best 16 batters to help the Golden Bears to a 5-2 win over the Wolf Pack ... she won her 20th career game, allowing one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts against No. 15-ranked Hawaii (Mar. 1) ... she tossed a one-hitter against Santa Clara (Feb. 23), striking out nine of the 15 batters she faced ... she 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 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).
The big kahunaTo 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 - eighth in batting (.392), second in hits (51), second in RBI (42), ninth in slugging percentage (.662), second in total bases (86) and first in doubles (14). Kekahuna also owns the league's longest hitting streak, which lasted 12 games from Feb. 10-Feb. 23. Kekahuna is already 16 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 five single season hits record - Gillian Boxx had a school-record 90 hits in 1995, and break the single-season doubles record of 18 set by Vicky Galindo in 2004 and Candace Harper in 2002.
Local celebrityReferenced by Graham Hays of ESPN.com on his 'new faces poised to make instant impacts,' Valerie Arioto is one of the brightest young stars in the Pac-10 at the plate and in the circle .. the freshman product from Pleasanton is hitting .353 this season, with 40 runs (second in the Pac-10), four triples (No. 1 in the Pac-10), 21 RBI and has a 1.88 ERA with 61 strikeouts in the circle ... she notched her first career home run as a Golden Bear against Sacramento State on Mar. 11 ... she went 2-0 and collected a save at the NIST, Mar. 7-9 ... she produced a team-best .563 average with two doubles, a triple and eight runs at the Eller Media Stadium Classic (Feb. 29-Mar. 2) ... she hit .333 at the dish at the Mustang Classic, with six runs and five RBI .. she picked up her third win 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 tossed her first collegiate complete game, one-hit shutout (and nine strikeouts) against Western Michigan on Feb. 16 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. ... 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.
Rarely caught stealingSenior Erika Racklin has 21 (second in the Pac-10) stolen bases in 24 attempts this season and currently has 65 for her career (74 attempts) - second all-time in program history. But Racklin isn't the only Cal Bear not getting caught stealing. Shannon Houston is a perfect 9-for-9, Gina Leomiti is 7-for-8 and Bernice Masaniai and Katie Vickers are both 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts.
Senior leadershipBefore 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 .295 this season with 14 RBI and 13 runs ... Erika Racklin has a .286 batting average with 39 runs (third in the Pac-10) and 21 stolen bases (second in the Pac-10) ... Julie Meyer is hitting .258 with five HRs and 18 RBI.
This and thatSenior Julie Meyer entered the Cal record books on Mar. 16 after she belted two home runs against Nevada at the Capital Classic, giving her five for the season and 24 for her career - fourth all-time in program history ... Cal recorded grand slams in two straight games - Sacramento State on Mar. 11 (Shannon Houston in the bottom of the fourth inning) and Princeton on Mar. 14 (Sanoe Kekahuna in the bottom of the fourth inning). Both grand slams were career firsts for Houston and Kekahuna ... Savannah Hensley has appeared primarily as a pinch runner, but has produced when on the base pads ... she has 11 runs in 28 games played.
900 for Ninemire21st year head coach Diane Ninemire reached another milestone in her storied California tenure with career win No. 900, after the Golden Bears defeated Long Beach State, 15-7 at the Eller Media Stadium Classic (hosted by UNLV) on Feb. 29. 'I'm very proud to have coached 21 years at Cal,' said Ninemire. 'The 900th win is very special and the team did it in style, putting up 15 runs against a quality opponent in Long Beach State. I'm extremely proud of my career at Cal. Every win has been sweet, but I'll remember this for a long time.' Ninemire has accumulated the second-most wins in Pac-10 history (921) and is 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.