No. 14/13 Cal Hosts Mid-Week Game Against UC Davis

March 1, 2010

BERKELEY - After playing in three tournaments in as many tournaments to open the 2010 season, the No. 14/13 California softball team hosts its first home game of the campaign. On Wednesday, March 3 at 2 p.m., the Golden Bears (11-4) face off against UC Davis (6-7) at Levine-Fricke Field. This marks the first mid-week match-up for the Bears after playing five games over the course of three days in each of the past three weekends. Cal holds the all-time advantage at 16-6 against the Aggies, with its last win occurring April 29, 2009 in a 3-1 Bear victory.

Fan Parking at Levine-Fricke Field
Fans should be aware that the parking availability has changed significantly this year at Levine-Fricke Field. Due to construction at Memorial Stadium, parking in Strawberry Canyon and at Levine-Fricke Field has been significantly reduced. To help alleviate this issue, Cal Athletics has partnered with Parking and Transportation to provide several different options.

To see all the options, please consult the Parking Information and Driving Directions for 2010 Cal Softball page by clicking here.

Last Time Out
The Bears posted a 4-1 record last weekend at the Palm Springs Classic, notching wins over Fordham, San Diego State, Colorado State and Long Beach State but were upset by Oklahoma State. In Friday's 5-2 win against Fordham, all three pitchers saw time in the circle with junior hurler Valerie Arioto grabbing the win and blasting a two-run home run to seal the deal. Senior Taylor Kelly came up huge in the 5-4 victory against San Diego State thanks to her three-run roundtripper. Following the SDSU win, Cal was upset by unranked Oklahoma State, 3-2, when the Cowgirls scored three runs in the top of the sixth to turn over the Bears. However, the weekend ended on positive note with the Bears winning a 9-1 mercy bout with Colorado State and taking an 8-1 decision over the 49ers of Long Beach.

Arioto the Ace
Junior hurler Valerie Arioto came through in a large way for the Bears in the final game of the weekend versus Long Beach State. Against the 49ers, Arioto gave up just two hits, two walks while fanning nine batters in seven innings of work to lead Cal to an 8-1 win over LBSU. Earlier in the weekend, Arioto also struck out nine batters - against Fordham on Friday - when she issued just one walk and allowed two earned runs on five hits in the Bears' 5-3 win. Arioto's work in Cal's 5-4 win against San Diego State on Saturday saw her giving up just four hits and striking out six. In all, Arioto had 24 strike outs in 12 innings of work for the Bears, giving up just 11 hits and issuing six walks.

Taylor to the Rescue
Senior Taylor Kelly helped the Golden Bears to a key 5-4 win against San Diego State on Saturday. Against the Aztecs, all of Cal's damage in the bottom of fourth came in the first three batters. Jace Williams led off and promptly doubled to left center to bring up Frani Echavarria, who singled to left. Taylor Kelly saw two balls before hammering the third pitch to center for a three-run homer, distancing the Bears, 5-1. Against the Rams of Colorado State, Cal's final hit of the fifth inning came from Taylor Kelly, who singled to right center, scoring Jace Williams to put the Bears up for good, 8-1. The Santee, Calif., native finished the weekend with three hits, four RBI, one double, one home run and hit a collective .333, bolstered by her .500 outing against San Diego State.

Q&A With the Golden Bears
Sophomore infielder Jace Williams is this week's star of Q&A With the Golden Bears - which is in video form this week. On the sidebar of the softball home page, Jace tells us what it's like to go from the small beach town of Encinitas, Calif., to the Bay Area, how she's talented outside of softball in soccer and art, as well as what the best part is about the Cal coaching team.

To watch the video with Jace, please click here.

To read all past Q&A With the Golden Bears, please click here.

The UC Davis-Pac-10 Connection
Aggie assistant coaches Alicia Hollowell and Dominique Lastrapes are no strangers to the competitive field of the Pac-10, widely known as one of the best softball conferences in the nation, with Hollowell lettering at Arizona and Lastrapes at Washington. Hollowell led Arizona to a national championship in 2006, was named the most outstanding player of the 2006 Women's College World Series after setting NCAA records with six complete-games and 64 strikeouts at the WCWS. As a Wildcat, Hollowell was twice named First-Team All-America and garnered two additional Second-Team All-America nods. She was twice a top-three finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award and was a four-time All-Pac-10 selection. Lastrapes has extensive postseason experience as a player, guiding Washington to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years, including two appearances in the Women's College World Series. The Huskies averaged 38 wins per season while Lastrapes was in uniform. In all, she batted .342 for her career while starting 232 games while receiving Pac-10 postseason honors all four years.

From A to Z
Though they could not be further apart in the alphabet, Valerie Arioto and Lindsey Ziegenhirt are proving to be a lethal combination just 15 games into the season. Each blasting four home runs, Ziegenhirt is tops on the team with a .791 slugging percentage with Arioto in second at .743. Ziegenhirt is second on the squad with four doubles and has knocked in 20 RBI. Additionally, Arioto is first on the team with 15 earned walks, averaging one per game.

Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a team-leading .431 and has started each of Cal's 15 games in 2010. Furthermore, she is tops on the team with 20 stolen bases to her credit in 24 attempts, averaging 1.33 steals per game. She notched seven of those steals in five games last weekend, averaging 1.4 stolen bags per game. 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.

Getting on Base? Ain't No Thang
Two key members of the Cal line-up boast an above .500 on-base percentage. Valerie Arioto is currently tops on the Bear squad at .538 while sophomore Jace Williams is right behind her at .510. With Arioto hitting third in the line-up and Williams coming in fifth or sixth, the pair are a force with which to be reckoned. Williams is fourth on the team with a .378 batting average while Arioto is seventh at .343.

In the Circle
Cal is splitting time at pitcher between three Bears - Marissa Drewrey (5.83 ERA), Valerie Arioto (2.37 ERA) and Jolene Henderson (0.95 ERA). Arioto has handled the majority of play with 47.1 innings under her belt, allowing 29 hits and fanning a team-high 68 batters, 24 of which came in 12 innings of work last weekend. Henderson, a true freshman, has gone straight to work for the Bears with 36.2 innings under her belt and boasts the team-best 0.95 ERA. Adding Henderson to the rotation is refreshing for the Cal pitching squad as all 379 innings of play in 2009 fell on the arms of Drewrey and Arioto.

No Runs for You
With 15 games under its belt, the Cal softball team is showing who's boss, boasting an opponent batting average of just .212 compared to the Bears' .318. Cal has blasted the opposing pitchers for 127 hits and 67 earned runs for a 5.04 opponent ERA while the Bear side's ERA is shades lower at 2.26, which dropped from last week's 2.78.

Later This Week on the Diamond
That same week, the Bears will travel back to Las Vegas, this time for the Las Vegas Tournament, which will be held Friday, March 5-Sunday, March 7. There, the Bears will face off against New Mexico State (March 5, 11:15 a.m.), Weber State (March 5, 3:45 p.m.) before two games on Saturday, March 6 - Portland State (9 a.m.) and Southern Utah (1:30 p.m.) and close the weekend against host UNLV on Sunday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Terrific Twitter
You can get the latest news and insider information by following Cal softball on Twitter! Twitter is a free social networking and micro-bloggging service that enables its users to send and read each others' updates that are only 140 characters long. Followers of @CalSoftball can see in-game scoring updates, pictures, links to stories on CalBears.com and more! To become a follower, click here or point your browser to www.twitter.com/CalSoftball.

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. You can also follow @GBSports on Twitter to get instant notifications when new albums and galleries are posted to the website. Visit www.twitter.com/gbsports to follow.

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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