No. 16 Cal Takes on Bay Area Rival and No. 2 Stanford
April 8, 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 fell four spots to No. 16 in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll (No. 17 in the NFCA Top 25) ... Cal's highest ranking of the season thus far has been 9th - 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 and school-record 110 stolen bases (on 122 attempts)... Cal is second in the nation in steals per game (2.97) ... the Bears have clocked 12 home runs since Mar. 24, including a season-high four at Pacific (3/25) ... Cal extended its perfect record to 16-0 when scoring six or more runs after putting up 12 on Oregon State on Mar. 29 ... the Bears are also 21-5 when scoring first this year ... Cal had a school single game record nine stolen bases against George Washington (2/14) ... Cal has scored 10 or more runs seven times this season ... the Bears produced a season-high 12 RBI against Liberty (2/6) ... Jamia Reid owns the single-season steals record (currently at 31) ... Sanoe Kekahuna owns Cal's longest hitting streak of the season at nine (3/12-3/25) ... Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid lead the team in multi-hit games (10) ... Jamia (.336) and Elia Reid (.325) rank 1-2 in batting average on the team ... both sisters recorded single-game records of four steals this season (Elia at Hawaii, and Jamia vs. Providence) ... Gina Leomiti, who led the team in RBI last season, once again leads the team this year with 27 RBI ... playing competitive softball for the first time since high school in Fresno, Nikki Schrey (who played two years of soccer for Cal) has eight runs this season ... SP Marissa Drewrey has recorded eight or more Ks eight times this season, including a season-high 11 Ks against Wichita State - she is fourth in the league in strikeouts (177).
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 ranks second in the nation in steals per game (2.97) and own a school record and Pac-10-best 110 stolen bases in the books (on 122 attempts). The Bears also had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14), and have recorded five or more stolen bases 10 times this season. Freshman Jamia Reid currently owns the school single-season record of 31 steals (No.1 in the Pac-10) and had an unofficial school record four steals against Providence (3/7). Her twin sister Elia is 23-27 in stolen bases (t-No. 3 in the Pac-10), and tied Jamia's output with four steals of her own against Hawaii (3/12), while newcomer Shannon Thomas is 23-24 in stolen bases - t-No. 3 in the Pac-10.
Cal's pitching has been pretty 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 (1.83) and have allowed just 64 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 21 doubles, second-lowest in the league, and two triples - tied for second-best in the conference, while giving up just 10 home runs - third lowest in the conference. Opponents are hitting .219 against Cal as well, thanks to Valerie Arioto's 1.49 ERA (fifth-lowest in the Pac-10) and Marissa Drewrey's 177 strikeouts - fourth-best in the conference.
The Bears have been on a home run tear of late, knocking 12 home runs in their last eight games. Cal hit four home runs at Pacific (3/25) - including two by Valerie Arioto, and combined for five HRs against UCLA (3/28-29). Cal (38 home runs this year) is 11 HRs away from the team record of 49 home runs set in 2007.
No Sophomore Slump for Val
Valerie Arioto has shown no signs of a sophomore slump after her fabulous first year as a freshman in Berkeley. Arioto helped ignite Cal's 12 run game at Oregon State (4/5) when she hit a leadoff home run - her seventh of the season. She had her best game of the season at Pacific (3/25) when she went a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs, five RBI and two home runs. Later in the week against UCLA (3/28), Arioto earned her first save when she was re-inserted back as the pitcher in the top of the seventh with no outs and the bases loaded with Cal up, 7-5. She calmly delivered, inducing a ground out (a run scored), a pop up and a strikeout swinging to end the game. She is tied for the team lead in multi-hit games (10) and leads the Bears with 32 runs this year (she scored the second most runs for a season in school history last season with 55), and has nine games with two or more runs. She has well surpassed her home run total of two last with seven this season. Arioto had another career performance against Santa Clara on Feb. 18 when 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. She 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.
Drewrey in Charge
16-game winner Junior Marissa Drewrey is fourth in the Pac-10 in strikeouts this season with 177, sixth in ERA (2.04), and eighth in opposing batting average (.221). Drewrey compiled a 3-0 record at the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament in Hawaii with a 0.40 ERA, one shutout, allowing just six hits, one earned run, three walks and 20 Ks in 17.1 innings pitched. She tossed a complete game shutout against Memphis (3/11) in the opening game of the tournament, allowing just one walk and scattering three hits with 7 Ks in 7 innings of work. The next game vs. Hawaii (3/12), Drewrey allowed just two hits with a run in five innings, as the Bears blasted Hawaii, 10-1 in five innings. Drewrey then relieved Valerie Arioto in the second inning of the game against St. John's (3/13) the following game (with Cal down 2-0) and dominated the Red Storm by striking out 10 and allowing just one hit with no walks and no runs in 5.1 innings of work to earn the win as Cal rallied for a 6-2 win. It was the fourth time this season that Drewrey has posted 10 or more Ks in an outing this season. 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), and pitched a two-hit shutout against Providence (3/7).
Sanoe Kekahuna leads the Bears in home runs this season with eight and owned the longest hitting streak at nine (3/12-25). In fact Kekahuna has 16 hits in her last 18 games, and produced her seventh multi-RBI game (tops on the team) after producing three at Oregon State (4/5). Prior to the start of Pac-10 play, she returned to the Hawaiian Islands and felt right at home in the batters box. The Maui native went 4-for-11 in the Chevron Spring Fling tournament with four RBI, including a 2-run home run against Hawaii (3/12). With the productive weekend, Kekahuna raised her batting average to .317, her highest of the season (now currently at .302). The sophomore picked up her offensive production from Feb. 28 to Mar. 8 when she had six hits, including two home runs, and 10 RBI. Against BYU (3/7) Kekahuna sparked the Bears comeback with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning that cut the deficit in half. She also leads the team in slugging percentage (.594) and has also played solid defense behind the plate with 301 putouts and two errors this season.
Diane Ninemire couldn't have asked for a better output from her freshman Jamia Reid this season. The Buena Park product broke the school single-season record with her 29th stolen base at Pacific (3/25). Her current 31 steals is also tops in the Pac-10 (seventh in the nation per game). Reid is also first on the team in hits (38) and second in runs with 27. She has eight hits in her last nine games, and is tied with Vernae Sevilla with the current longest hit streak at four. She had two hits, two runs, two RBI and two steals at Oregon State on Apr. 5. At the Cathedral City Kickoff in the opening weekend, 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). She hit .533 with five runs, one triple, two RBI, 10 total bases a slugging pct of .667 and eight stolen bases at the Bayer CropSciences Classic hosted by Fresno State. Against Northern Illinois (3/6), the freshman had three hits on four ABs with two runs and two RBI, including a triple and two steals and produced her first career triple. The following game against Providence (3/7), she again went 3-for-4 with two runs and an unofficial school record four steals. She collected two more hits, a run and two steals against Fresno State (3/8). Reid has been selected to two All-Tournament Teams - the Carolina Classic and the Bayer CropSciences Classic.
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 were also on Fresno's Comcast channel 14 for their game against the Bulldogs on Mar. 8, and were 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.