No Shortage of Drama in Cal's 8-6 Win over Stanford in Rubber Game
April 11, 2009
BERKELEY - The 16th-ranked California softball team built a 6-1 lead over the second-ranked Stanford Cardinal, only to see Stanford tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the seventh with five runs, before junior Taylor Kelly blasted a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Golden Bears an 8-6 win over their Bay Area rival.
Cal (28-12, 5-4) pounded out a season-high 15 hits, the most hits Stanford's given up all season. After dropping a 4-1 decision to Stanford on Thursday, Cal defeated the Cardinal on Friday and today to take the series.
The Bears play a non-conference affair against St. Mary's on Wednesday (3:00 p.m.) in Strawberry Canyon, before traveling to Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Saturday and Sunday.
Five Cal players had two or more hits on the afternoon, including Valerie Arioto, Jamia Reid and Shannon Thomas all with three each. Kelly and Frani Echavarria both had two hits and Gina Leomiti and Sanoe Kekahuna had one hit each.
Arioto in fact was a perfect 3-for-3 (two doubles) with a walk, two runs and two RBI. She also earned the win in the circle - her 12th of the season - going the distance with seven Ks.
Jamia Reid, Leomiti and Kelly also had two RBI each. Leomiti also extended her hitting streak to five games.
Kekahuna planted her team-leading ninth home run of the season - a solo shot in the third inning. Cal, who had two home runs against Stanford on Friday as well, has 42 for the season - third most in program history. The Bears are seven HRs away from tying the school record of 49 set in 2007.
'This is just a typical rivalry game,' said Kekahuna. 'Stanford didn't quit at the end there, so give them credit for battling back, but we bounced right back with Shannon [Thomas] and Taylor with big hits when we needed it most. This is a great win for us.'
The Bears got on the board in the bottom of the first when Leomiti planted a two-run single to left field to plate both Jamia Reid and Arioto.
Cal added runs in the second and third innings to take a 4-0 lead, before adding two more in the bottom of the fourth when Arioto and Jamia Reid provided back-to-back RBIs, pushing the lead to 6-0.
Stanford began to mount a comeback in the top of the fifth when Alissa Haber clocked a solo home run to trim the lead to 6-1.
Stanford's Ashley Chinn, who relieved starter Missy Penna in the second, got out of a huge jam in the bottom of the sixth when Cal loaded the bases with no outs by inducing three straight fly outs to end the inning.
The Cardinal then put five runs on the board, including a key two-run hit by Melisa Koutz, and a fielding error by the Bears which allowed the tying run to score at 6-6.
Cal did not waiver, as Thomas notched a leadoff single through the middle, followed by Kelly's home run to end the game in victory.