No. 11/12 California Treks to the Desert for Five-Game Tournament

Feb. 18, 2010

BERKELEY - The No. 11/12 California softball team continues its stretch of tournament games, this time traveling to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic from Friday, Feb. 20-Sunday, Feb. 21. The Bears (4-1) will meet Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 19, 9 a.m.), Utah (Feb. 19, 11:15 a.m.), No. 21 Northwestern (Feb. 20, 11:15 a.m.), No. 12/13 Oklahoma (Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m.) and No. 9/10 Georgia Tech (Feb. 21, 9 a.m.). Cal went 4-1 in the season-opening weekend at last weekend's Kajikawa Classic.

About the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic
The four-day tournament takes place at four different fields in the Las Vegas area. Besides the Bears and their five opponents, the following squads are also playing: UNLV, Boise State, BYU, Cal State Fullerton, Hawaii, Indiana, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon and San Diego

Freshmen Power - Take I
In addition to batting in two runs off three hits at the plate, freshman pitcher/utility Jolene Henderson had a fantastic outing in the circle at this past weekend's Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Henderson, who pitched a team-high 14.2 innings, concluded her three-appearance weekend with a 0.48 ERA and allowed just a .164 opponent batting average. Against Texas A&M on Feb. 12, Henderson switched to pitcher from first base, and in her first collegiate appearance in the circle, had two looking strike outs to finish off the game. Later in the day, Henderson pitched a complete game against Wisconsin. Facing just six batters over the minimum, she issued 11 strike outs with only one walk, four hits and one earned run. Thanks to Henderson's work, the Bears came away with the 3-1 win over the Badgers. It was also Henderson's first complete game as a Bear, and her first win. On Feb. 13, Henderson got the nod against Kentucky and had a remarkable outing. Against 28 Wildcat batters, Henderson had no earned runs, dealt out six strike outs and allowed the Wildcats to only hit a collective 0.179. The Elk Grove, Calif., native finished the game with a 0.61 ERA, and the Bears won, 6-1.

Freshmen Power - Take II
In five appearances this weekend, freshman Lindsey Ziegnehirt had four home runs in her debut as a Golden Bear as well as seven hits in 14 plate appareances. Behind the dish, she boasted a 1.00 fielding percantage thanks to her 44 put outs and one assist w/ no errors. She also earned 11 RBI. In her first collegiate game and start - against Texas A&M on Feb. 12 - freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt led off for the Bears in their half of the second, and she smashed the third pitch she saw over the fence in right field to give Cal a 1-0 lead. In Cal's second game of the day and young season, which would end in a 3-1 victory for the Bears over Wisconsin, Ziegenhirt again teed off on the pitcher with a solo shot. On Feb. 13, the Bears dropped four runs on Western Michigan in the first inning en route to a 9-1 mercy win in five innings thanks to a Lindsey Ziegenhirt grand slam. In Cal's final game of the weekend, Ziegenhirt ended it in similar fashion with which she began the season-opening tournament slate. In the bottom of the first with fellow freshman and Sheldon High School grad Jolene Henderson on first, Ziegenhirt homered for the fourth time this weekend for two RBI and to give the Bears a 4-0 lead at the end of one complete. Later in the game, the 5-6 righty flied out to center for an RBI. She closed the weekend with a team-high 11 RBI.

Last Time Out

Opponent All-Time Record Last Meeting Score Winner
UIC First meeting      
Utah 10-6 3/18/04 8-3 Cal
Northwestern 11-7 3/22/08 1-0 Cal
Oklahoma 11-4 3/15/08 2-0 Cal
Georgia Tech 1-0 3/8/03 1-0 (8) Cal

Scouting the Opponent

Opponent Record Batting Avg.

Opponent

Batting Avg.

ERA

USA Today/

NFCA Poll

ESPN.com/

USA Softball Poll

UCI 3-2 .228 .200 2 NR NR
Utah 5-0 .331 .202 2.41 NR NR
Northwestern 2-3 .209 .137 2.02 21T 21
Oklahoma 2-1 .239 .174 1.47 12 13
Georgia Tech 4-0 .302 .160 0.27 9T 10

Q&A With the Golden Bears
Going away to college for California softball freshman Jordan Wallace entailed a 40-minute car ride down the freeway. A product of Fairfield, Wallace was a multiple all-league performer and was selected as the MVP of the Monticello Empire League in 2007. She was also co-MVP in 2006. Wallace earned all-state honors twice, including a first-team nod for the 2008 season when she hit a league-leading .461 with six home runs, 23 RBIs and 36 runs scored after batting .477 and hitting nine homers as a sophomore. She was a member of the Sorcerer's 18 Gold (ASA), and helped her team to a 13th-place finish at the 2008 Nationals. Wallace also earned several accolades in volleyball, including all-league honors for the Fairfield Falcons. Her father, Melvin, is a former player with the San Diego Chargers.CalBears.com caught up with Wallace to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.

To read the Q&A with Wallace, please click here.

Cal in the Rankings

Date Cal Record USA Today/NFCA Poll ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll
Preseason 0-0 12 11
Feb. 16 4-1 12 11

Speedy Feet
The Bears wasted no time in demonstrating their base-stealing prowess in the season's opening weekend. Cal went 21-23 on the base paths. Leading the way was Jamia Reid, who collected eight bases on nine attempts. Shannon Thomas was no slouch either, going 3-4. Last season, Jamia Reid broke the school single-season record with her 29th stolen base at Pacific (3/25) and finished the season with 47 steals, which was tops in the Pac-10, and third in the nation per game. Thomas was second on the squad in 2009 with 33 steals (36 attempts).

Next Week on the Diamond
It's more tournament play for the Bears, but this time, they get to stay in California. Traveling to Palm Springs, Cal will face open its weekend against Fordham at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. Saturday will feature a game against San Diego State (3 p.m.) and Oklahoma State (5:30 p.m.). The Bears will close out the weekend onslaught against Colorado State (11 a.m.) and Long Beach State (1 p.m.).

The Paparazzi
Like any of the pictures on CalBears.com? They are available for purchase! GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of the Cal Athletics Department, has meet photos available for purchase on their Web site at GoldenBearSports.com. Check out the photo galleries by GoldenBearSports.com by clicking here.

Top of the Rankings to Ya!
In the preseason rankings, the Bears faired quite well. Cal was ranked 11th in the country, according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll after finishing in the 12 spot in the final 2009 ranking. During the 2010 regular season, the Bears will face off against nine of the other 24 teams in that poll, including defending national champion Washington. The Bears were ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll.

Remembering Last Season
Last year, Cal qualified for the postseason for the 24th consecutive season, the second-longest streak in the nation and the longest in the Pac-10. The Bears won their NCAA Regional at Florida State before falling at top-seeded Florida in the Super Regionals. Over the course of the year, the Bears broke team records for stolen bases (146) and home runs (55).

Arioto Named to ASA Top-50 Watch List
Valerie Arioto was selected to the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)'s initial watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Arioto, who is an alternate for the U.S. senior national team, earned placement on the list last year as well.

Bears on the National Scene
Vicky Galindo, a three-year letterwinner for the California softball team, accepted a spot on the U.S. national team and current junior standout Valerie Arioto was named an alternate, the Amateur Softball Association announced recently. Arioto and Galindo attended the 2010 softball women's national team selection camp, which was held in Chula Vista, Calif., from Jan. 4-8. Galindo was one of 17 athletes who were offered a USA Softball Athlete Agreement for the 2010 season. The final roster for the 2010 USA softball women's national team will be announced in March. The squad will be competing in the ISF Women's World Championships, held June 23-July 2 in Caracas, Venezuela as well as other events to be scheduled at a later date.

Hall of Fame Status
California head coach Diane Ninemire was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's 2009 Hall of Fame class in December. Ninemire, who joined Frank Cheek of Humboldt State University and Bill Edwards of Hofstra University, was inducted in front of the NFCA, former Golden Bears, her colleagues and family members at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. During Ninemire's tenure at Cal, 35 All-America, 86 all-region and 146 all-conference certificates have been issued to the Bears. Since her first year in the dugout in 1988, Diane Ninemire has continually taken the Bears to new heights as one of the winningest and most successful softball programs in the nation. From 1999-2005, Cal made seven straight trips to the College World Series, and Ninemire has one national championship, nine Women's College World Series trips, and 21 straight NCAA Regional appearances to her credit.

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