No. 9 Cal Travels to Bayer CropScience Classic in Fresno
March 4, 2009
Cal began the season 11-1 before falling to Kansas on Feb. 22 - it was the best 12 game start to a season since 2005 ... the Bears still rank No. 9 in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll (No. 10 in the NFCA Top 25) - the last time Cal was ranked higher than No. 9 was when it was ranked 5th in late 2006 ... the Bears have a Pac-10 best 62 stolen bases (on 66 attempts) - 32 more than second-best Oregon which has 30 ... Cal has outscored its opponents, 104-32, including a 25-4 burst in the first inning and 60-13 advantage in the first three innings ... Cal had a school single game record nine stolen bases against George Washington (2/14) ... Cal has scored 10 or more runs four times this season ... the Bears produced a season-high 12 RBI against Liberty (2/6) ... Twin sisters Elia (.341) and Jamia Reid (.339) rank 1-2 in batting average on the team ... Jamia, who owns the longest hitting streak of the season (6 games), went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate against CS Fullerton (2/27) ... Sanoe Kekahuna has had six RBI, four hits, two runs and a home run her last six at bats ... Valerie Arioto, who led the team in runs scored last season, took the overall team lead in runs (17) and has scored multiple runs five times this season ... she had a career-high 16 Ks against George Washington (2/14) and a career-best six RBI against Santa Clara (2/18) ... Taylor Kelly has had six hits, including the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 8th vs. Nevada (2/28), over her last four games ... Gina Leomiti, who led the team in RBI last season, once again leads the team this year with 15 ... she had six RBI from Feb. 13-14 ... playing competitive softball for the first time since high school in Fresno, Nikki Schrey (who played two years of soccer for Cal) has seven runs this season ... SP Marissa Drewrey has recorded eight or more Ks six times this season, including a season-high 11 Ks against Wichita State - she is fourth in the league in strikeouts (87).
Head coach Diane Ninemire stated before the start of the season that this year's 2009 team is the fastest she's ever had, and it may be one of the fastest in the nation. Early season numbers are backing up that assertion thus far. Cal has a Pac-10-best 62 stolen bases in the books (on 66 attempts) - more than double of second-best Oregon (30). The Bears also had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14), and have recorded five or more stolen bases six times this season. Freshman Jamia Reid already has 16 steals (on 17 attempts) this season and is 12 away from tying the single season record of 28 owned by volunteer coach Erika Racklin. Her twin sister Elia is 14-for-15 in stolen bases, while newcomer Shannon Thomas is 13-for-14 in stolen bases.
Cal's pitching has been efficient all season long thanks to the 1-2 punch of Marissa Drewrey and Valerie Arioto in the circle. The Bears own the third-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 (1.54) and have allowed just 25 earned runs - third-lowest in the Pac-10. Also contributing to the effective pitching has been the ability not to give up the extra base hit. The Bears have allowed a seven doubles, second-lowest in the league, and no triples, while giving up just six home runs - third lowest in the conference. Opponents are hitting .185 against Cal as well, thanks to Valerie Arioto's 0.90 ERA (fourth-lowest in the Pac-10) and Marissa Drewrey's 87 strikeouts - fourth-best in the conference.
Marissa on a Mission
After issuing a season-high nine walks against Penn State (2/15) Marissa Drewrey turned it around in the circle and has allowed just seven walks in her last 30.5 innings. She was named the Muscle Milk California Student-Athlete of the Week (2/23) after her performances in the circle at the Cathedral City Classic. Drewrey went 3-1 at the CCC with a 0.33 ERA, two complete game shutouts and 25 strikeouts. Against Ole Miss, Drewrey pitched a one-hit shutout and was two outs away from a perfect game before giving up the lone hit in the seventh inning. Ole Miss scored 10 runs prior to its match up with the Bears and was shutout for just the second time this season. The following game against NC State, Drewrey relieved Valerie Arioto and pitched 6.2 innings and tied her season-high with 11 Ks. Against Maryland, Drewrey again pitched a complete game shutout, scattering four hits and walking just one with 8 Ks in Cal's 7-0 win. Drewrey tossed five shutout innings and recorded 10 Ks (1 hit) against Riverside (3/1). This season, Drewrey has nine wins and owns a 2.00 ERA with 87 strikeouts and four shutouts in 66.2 innings.
No Sophomore Slump for Val
Valerie Arioto is back in the groove for the Golden Bears and produced a season-high three hits in Cal's 8-3 win over Riverside (3/1), lifting her batting average to .319. She had one of the best performances of her young career against Santa Clara on Feb. 18. She blasted her first career grand slam in the second inning and pitched her first shutout of the season, allowing just one hit and striking out nine in the process. Arioto, who has 61 strikeouts this season, also went 2-for-3 from the dish with two runs and a career-high six RBI - the most since Sanoe Kekahuna had a school-record seven vs. Texas Tech last season. At the Carolina Classic, Arioto fanned a career-high 16 batters against George Washington - tying Marissa Drewrey for the third-most Ks in a game in program history. It was business as usual for Arioto at the Cathedral City Kickoff in the opening weekend. She produced a .417 batting average with five runs, a triple and two RBI. Arioto also earned the win in her start against Liberty and struck out a seven batters. Arioto's had a solid game against Illinois when she went 2-for-4 with two runs and a triple. She is hitting .319 with 17 runs (tops on the team) and 11 RBI this season.
Diane Ninemire couldn't have asked for a better performance from her freshman Jamia Reid at the Cathedral City Kickoff in the opening weekend. Playing in her first collegiate game, the EA Sports High School All-American went 2-for-5, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning against nationally-ranked Houston. The offensive output didn't stop there as Reid went 2-for-4 with two runs, including her second home run - a three-run job in the second inning against Liberty. Reid continued her torrid pace at the plate with two hits, two runs and two-run home run in the first inning against Illinois. There was no let down in her second week of action at the Carolina Classic. With Cal up 2-0 late in the game against Wichita State, Reid helped widen the lead with a 2-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning.In the 5-1 win over George Washington Reid went 2-for-3 with two runs and three stolen bases - including consecutive steals of second and third base in the fifth inning before scoring. In the final day of the tournament, Reid launched her fifth home run of the season on the very first pitch in the fifth inning. She was the catalyst in the first inning for the Bears when she singled, stole second and then scored courtesy of Gina Leomiti's single, giving Cal the early 1-0 lead. Reid also made some early history with her first 4-for-4 performance at the plate against CS Fullerton (2/27). Reid was selected to the Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team, and leads the Pac-10 in steals (16).
Jamia Reid isn't the only freshman making headlines for the Bears in their 14-3 start to the season. Her twin sister Elia leads the Bears in hitting (.341) and ranks second in stolen bases (14), second in the Pac-10. Elia was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI in her collegiate debut against nationally ranked Houston, and had her first career grand slam against Wichita State (2/13). Center fielder Frani Echavarria, who didn't play her senior year in high school, is getting into the groove of the college game with eight runs and a pair of RBI.
Bears on TV
Cal will be on television this season when it hosts Arizona on May 1 in Strawberry Canyon. Fox Sports will broadcast the game on a tape delay and re-air it on a later date still to be determined. The last time there was a TV game at Levine-Fricke Field was in 2005 when Cal played UCLA. The Bears will be on Fresno's Comcast channel 14 for their game against the Bulldogs on Mar. 8. Cal will also be on TV on KFVE-TV in Honolulu for the game on March 12 against Hawaii. CBS College Sports will carry Cal's game at Stanford on April 9.
Val on Preseason POY Watch List
Cal sophomore Valerie Arioto was named to the Amateur Softball Association of America's (ASA) initial 'Watch List' for the 8th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The 2009 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 32 schools and 13 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 1. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list
Cal's RPI is annually one of the best in the nation thanks to the difficult Pac-10 Conference. This season will be no different, as the Pac-10 boasts five teams in the top 10, including No. 1 Washington (Arizona State is ranked No. 11). Cal already played and defeated nationally ranked Houston to start the season, and despite losing 4-3 to No. 15 North Carolina (ranked No. 23 at the time of the loss), the Bears will face at least one more team (Fresno State) ranked in the top 25 before opening conference play.