No. 14/16 California Begins NCAA Tournament Friday at Tallahassee Regional
May 13, 2009
Game Information- Tallahassee, Florida RegionalFriday, May 15th5:00 p.m. Game 1 No. 14 California vs. Mississippi State, JoAnne Graf Field7:30 p.m. Game 2 No. 16 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State, JoAnne Graf Field
Saturday, May 16th1:00 p.m. Game 3 (W Game 1 vs. W Game 2), JoAnne Graf Field3:30 p.m. Game 4 (L Game 1 vs. L Game 2), JoAnne Graf Field6:00 p.m. Game 5 (W Game 4 vs. L Game 3), JoAnne Graf Field
Sunday, May 17th1:00 p.m. Game 6 (W Game 3 vs. W Game 5), JoAnne Graf Field3:30 p.m. Game 7 (W Game 6 vs. L Game 6), JoAnne Graf Field (if necessary)
The No. 14/16 California Golden Bears begin their 24th trip to the NCAA post-season tournament on Friday, May 15, taking on Mississippi State in the opening game of the Tallahassee Regional. The No. 2 seeded Bears and the No. 4 seeded Bulldogs' first pitch is at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. Live stats for the game will be available on Gametracker at CalBears.com.
The Bears earned an at-large bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The winner of this Regional will advance to a Super Regional (best of three head-to-head series) against the winner of the Gainesville Regional featuring Florida, Florida A&M, Lehigh, and Texas A&M. The Bears and Florida Gators met last year in the Super Regional with Florida sweeping the Bears 2-0 with a pair of 4-2 victories.
This is the 24th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament for the California Golden Bears., the second longest streak in the nation. Since the Super Regional format was adopted in 2005, the Bears have advanced to a Super Regional three of the four years and won their Super Regional to advance to the WCWS in 2005.
This will be the second time that Cal has traveled to Tallahassee to play in a Regional. In 2001, the Bears won their first two games to advance to take on Florida State in the finals. After falling 2-1 in their first game against the Seminoles, the Bears outlasted FSU 3-2 in a ten-inning marathon to advance to the WCWS in Oklahoma City.
More recently, the two teams faced each other in the first round of the 2007 post season at the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Regional. The Bears beat the Seminoles 13-6 in the game, with Cal scoring 10 runs in the top of the third inning. Pitcher Marissa Drewrey, in her first career post season appearance, worked 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits, walking one, while striking out three.
The Bears are 6-1 against Florida State in the post-season and 1-0 against Mississippi State. They have never faced Oklahoma State in the tournament.
The Bears are 54-31 in regional games and 75-53 overall in the NCAA post season.
Cal enters the post-season with a pair of victories over top-ten ranked teams in the last two weeks. The Bears blanked No. 4 Washington 1-0 last weekend in Seattle. They earned a 4-2 victory over then-ranked No. 6 Arizona State at Levine-Fricke Field in their final home series of the season.
Freshman outfielder Jamia Reid is swinging the hot bat for Cal. Reid is batting .412 in the month of may with a .706 slugging percentage. In the final weekend of the season, Reid logged three singles, a triple, and a home run off of two top-five ranked teams (No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Washington). Reid has also had the blazing green light on the basepaths with 10 stolen bases in her last six games.
Junior pitcher Marissa Drewrey has also found her groove. She has appeared in each of the Bears' last eight games (dating back to 4/25 against Oregon). Over that span, Drewrey is 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA. She has thrown three complete games, two of them shut outs, including the 1-0 victory over No. 4 Washington in Seattle. In those 29.2 innings of work, she has struck out 25 batters with opponents hitting just .153 off Drewrey.
Record Breaking Season The 2009 California Golden Bears own two school records. The Bears shattered the season stolen base record, The previous record had stood for 30 years. In 1979, the team stole 104 bases. The 2005 team had flirted with the record, coming up a few shy (100 stolen bases). Shannon Thomas stole the 105th base of the season on March 27 in the Bears' home game against Washington.
Jamia Reid set the individual single-season stolen base mark when she stole her 29th base of the season on March 25 at Pacific. She passed the previous record of 28 that was jointly shared by Keri Kropke (1992) and 2009 Bears' volunteer assistant coach Erika Racklin, who stole 28 last season while playing for Cal. Shannon Thomas also passed the 28-steal mark this year and has the second-highest single-season total in program history, currently at 30. Elia Reid may also pass the previous record-mark. She currently has 26 stolen bases.
The Bears also have set the new standard for home runs in a season. Valerie Arioto hit a lead off home run in the May 2 game against Arizona State, the 50th blast of the season for Cal. The 2007 team set the previous record of 49. There have only been three Cal teams to belt more than 40 home runs as a team in a single season, with the 2005 squad finishing with 46. The Bears enter the post season with 52 home runs. Bears batters have homered in four of the last six games.
Freshman outfielder Jamia Reid has stolen 10 bases in the last six games. Reid has not been caught stealing since March 7, a span of 33 games, and she has now been success on 26 straight steal attempts. The Bears have only had two runners thrown out since April 17, going 27-for-29 over the span of the last 11 games. Cal ranks fourth in the nation in steals per game (2.66) and has a Pac-10-best 141 stolen bases in the books (on 158 attempts). The second closest team in the Pac-10 is Washington with 73 stolen bases, 59 fewer than Cal. The Bears had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14), and have recorded five or more stolen bases in a single game 12 times this season. Cal stole seven bases last Wednesday at Davis, their highest single-game total since swiping seven against Hawai'i on March 12. The Bears base runners have stolen at least one base in 12 of their last 13 games. Freshman Jamia Reid had an unofficial school record four steals against Providence (3/7). Her twin sister Elia tied Jamia's output with four steals of her own against Hawaii (3/12). Valerie Arioto challenged the record, trying for her fourth steal of the game against Davis, but was thrown out at second. It was the first time this season Arioto was caught stealing and ended a streak of 15-straight stolen bases for Arioto. The Bears have six players who are still perfect on the base paths this season, including freshman Frani Echavarria who is a perfect 6-for-6 to start her college career and Vernae Sevilla who is 4-for-4 this season and has never been caught stealing in her three seasons at Cal.
Pitching Power The Bears pitching tandem of Valerie Arioto and Marissa Drewrey combined to strike out 11 Saint Mary's batters in the game. It was the 10th time this season the Bears' pitchers struck out double-digit batters. Drewrey and Arioto also had a combined one-hitter, the fourth of the year for the staff. Drewrey threw the fifth one-hitter of the year a week and a half later, downing Oregon 1-0. The Bears other three one-hitters came in back-to-back-to-back games between Feb. 15 and 20. Santa Clara, who like Saint Mary's plays in the PCSC conference, was also one-hit in their game against the Bears. The Bears are third in the Pac-10 or strikeouts with 387. The Bears' pitchers have doled out 107 more strikeouts than their opposition with Bears' batters logging K's 280 times. Drewrey comes into the post-season without having allowed a run in her last three appearances. Drewrey pitched a complete-game shut out against Washington (May 8), sandwiched between a pair of scoreless relief appearances. In her last 10 innings of work, Drewrey has struck out 11 while scattering seven hits.
Glove Work Valerie Arioto leads the Pac-10 in fielding percentage. With 154 put-outs and 62 assists between the circle and first base, Arioto has zero errors this season for a perfect 1.000.
The Battle for the Batting Titles Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid are battling for the Bears season batting title. Reid, who went 5-for-9 in the final three games of the season, slid past Arioto and currently leads with a .345 average. Arioto is batting .344. Vernae Sevilla ended the regular season with a .254 overall batting average but she finished strong, posting a .333 average against the tough Pac-10 pitching. Arioto's discerning eye at the plate has helped her work a team-leading 37 walks this season. She is ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in on base percentage with a .477. Arioto led the team last season drawing 48 free passes and posted a .444 OBP. Arioto also currently leads the home run race with 10 this season. Sanoe Kekahuna is second with 9. Arioto, who also has five doubles and a triple, is slugging .589. The RBI race is also presently being led by Arioto (34), with Gina Leomiti right on her heels (33). Kekahuna has driven in 28 runs
20-Game Winner Marissa Drewrey won her 20th game of the season with her four-innings of relief against UC Davis. She ended the regular season at 21-10. Drewrey now has back-to-back 20 win seasons and a career mark of 61-27. Drewrey struck out her 200th batter of the season April 26th against Oregon, giving her back-to-back seasons with over 200 K's. She has 594 career strikeouts. This season, her 222 rank her third in the Pac-10.
Hitting Streaks Sanoe Kekahuna owned Cal's longest hitting streak of the season at nine games (3/12-25). Valerie Arioto challenged with an eight-game streak (4/10-25). Arioto had a streak of 12 games reaching base safely (4/10-5/3). She made it to first base every game in the month of April but one. Jamia Reid has the longest active streak of three games (5/7-present) and has gotten a hit in six of her last seven games.
National Rankings California is ranked fourth in the country in stolen bases per game (2.66) and 22nd in home runs per game (0.98). Jamia Reid has moved up to third in stolen bases per game (0.87), with Shannon Thomas ranked 23rd (0.57) and Elia Reid 27th (0.55). Valerie Arioto is 27th in walks, drawing 0.7 per game as a batter. Marissa Drewrey's nine shut outs ranks her 24th among all DI pitchers.
Pac-10 Standings Cal ended the season in fifth place in the Pac-10 standings, equalling last season's finish. Their 10 Pac-10 wins are the most for the team since 2006. It is the 14th time the team has logged double-digit victories in Pac-10 play.
Winning Tradition Cal will finish the season with their 36th consecutive winning record. The Bears have not had a losing record in softball since 1973. They come into the post season with an all-time program record of 1353-671-3.
Scouting the Opposition
No. 1 Seed: Florida State Seminoles The Florida State Seminoles finished the season with a 43-14 record and a 17-4 mark in the ACC. FSU lost in the championship game of the ACC Tournament, falling to Georgia Tech, 3-1. Florida State finished second in the ACC, a half-game behind Georgia Tech, and are one of three Atlantic Conference Teams that made it into the NCAA tournament. Florida State is led by ACC Pitcher of the Year Sarah Hamilton. Hamilton has a 17-5 record and a 0.84 ERA. She has 283 strikeouts on the season with batters hitting just .158 off her. She is tied with Marissa Drewrey with nine shutouts this season. Offensively, Kaleigh Rafter paces them in the power stats with 11 home runs. and is second with a .349 batting average. She has driven in a team-high 42 runs. Carly Wynn is the one to watch on the basepaths. Wynn has scored 40 times this season and is a perfect 21-for-21 in stolen base attempts. Wynn also took over the team batting lead, raising her average to .351 during the ACC Tournament. Cal holds an 11-1 record all-time against Florida State and a 6-1 mark in post-season match ups against the Seminoles.
No. 3 Seed: Mississippi State Bulldogs The Mississippi State Bulldogs (28-26, 8-19 SEC) are making their third straight NCAA post season appearance and the eighth overall in program history. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the SEC Western Division and are one of nine teams from the Southeastern Conference to make the tournament. There are 11 teams in the SEC for softball. Chelsea Bramlett was named First Team All-SEC Catcher for the second-straight season, and Ka'ili Smith was tabbed to the second team and the all-freshman squad. In addition to holding the league's top batting average, Bramlett finished the SEC slate second in the conference with a .433 average. She also scored 20 runs and stole 16-of-19 bases against SEC squads. Smith batted at a .338 clip her first year of league play. Over the 27-game SEC slate, she drove in a team-high 17 runs behind six extra-base hits (four doubles, a triple and a home run). In the circle, the Bulldogs have a 3.62 team ERA. Lindsey Dunlap leads the pitching staff holds a 17-14 record and a team-best 3.27 ERA. She 157 strikeouts in 297.2 innings of work. MSU will be meeting the Golden Bears for the third straight season, with the Bulldogs claiming the last two meetings in the series. MSU won a 4-1, nine-inning decision last February in Palm Springs, Calif., after taking a 9-0 victory in six innings in Las Vegas during the 2007 campaign. The Bears own a 3-2 overall record against MSU. Cal won the only post-season meeting between the two squads in 2004, 2-1, in the second game of the Nebraska Regional.
No. 4 Seed: Oklahoma State Cowgirls The Oklahoma State Cowgirls (34-20) are returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2005 season and for just the third time since 1998. It will mark the Cowgirls' 16th appearance overall in the postseason tournament. OSU lost in the quarterfinals of the Bog 12 Championship, falling 10-0 to Missouri. They ended the regular season with an 8-10 conference mark and a seventh place finish. Seven Big 12 schools earned NCAA Tournament berths. Junior catcher Sam Heinlein, sophomore third-baseman Mariah Gearhart and freshman first-baseman Julie Ward were all named All-Big 12 Second Team. Heinlein batted a team-high .357 during Big 12 Conference play. Gearhart won the regular-season team batting title with a .350 average. She was 31-for-33 in stolen base attempts, scoring a team high 45 runs. Ward was the leading slugger for the Cowgirls, hitting 9 home runs with 7 doubles. In the circle, Anna Whiddon posted a 19-13 record with a team-best 2.34 ERA. Whiddon logged 173 strikeouts in 41 appearances. She had 14 complete games in 35 starts with eight shut outs. She also earned three saves this season. Batters hit .199 off her. The Bears and Cowgirls have never had a post-season showdown., but Oklahoma State does hold a 5-4 series lead in their regular-season match ups. The two teams last faced one another in 2007 with Cal earning a 6-3 victory.
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