No. 15/13 Cal Faces Five Teams at Eller Media Stadium Tournament

March 2, 2010

Friday, March 5
11:15 a.m. - New Mexico State (9-4) vs. No. 15/13 Cal (11-4)
Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record vs. Aggies: 15-2
Last Meeting: L, 3-2 (2/9/08)

3:45 p.m. - No. 15/13 Cal (11-4) vs. Weber State (0-10)
Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record vs. Wildcats: 2-0, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 4-3 (3/26/83)

Saturday, March 6
9 a.m. - No. 15/13 Cal (11-4) vs. Portland State (4-8)
Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record vs. Vikings: 17-2, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 8-0 (2/14/10)

1:30 p.m. - Southern Utah (1-9) vs. No. 15/13 Cal (11-4)
Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record vs. Thunderbirds: First meeting

Sunday, March 7
2:30 p.m. - No. 15/13 Cal (11-4) vs. UNLV (9-6)
Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record vs. Rebels: 13-6, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 8-0 (6), 3/20/09

BERKELEY - After playing in three tournaments in as many weekends to open the 2010 season, the No. 15/13 California softball team returns to that same schedule, this time for the Eller Media Stadium Tournament, which will be held Friday, March 5-Sunday, March 7 in Las Vegas. 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.

Rain, Rain Go Away
On Wednesday, March 3 at 2 p.m., the Bears were set to face off against UC Davis, but inclement weather cancelled the game. The game has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 14 following a pre-scheduled game against UC Davis as part of the California Tournament. Cal holds the all-time advantage at 16-6 against the Aggies.

Last Weekend on the Diamond
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 being 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, fiving 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 Dieg 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.

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. Addionally, Arioto is first on the team with 15 earned walks, averaging one per game.

J. Reid: 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.

Save Machine
Freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson has already proven her worth to the Bears in the circle with 36.2 innings of work and two saves under her belt. Henderson came in to pitch the final inning of work against Fordham on Feb. 26 and promptly struck out all three batters she faced. The Elk Grove, Calif., native closed the Feb. 27 game versus San Diego State to preserve Cal's 5-4 victory with the three fanned batters.

Triple, Triple, Triple
With three triples in 15 games in 2010, the Bears are tied for first in the Pac-10. Jamia Reid, Frani Echavarria and Lindsey Ziegenhirt each have a three-bagger to their credit. Cal is one of only two teams in the prestigious Pac-10 with zero opponent triples.

K-Zone
The California pitching squadron is second in the Pac-10 Conference in the strike out category. The Bears have fanned a collective 131 batters, just three shy of the first-place spot held by UCLA (134) but well ahead of third-place Oregon (121). Furthermore Cal is second in the conference with 37 looking strike outs, behind first-place UCLA with 41. Junior Valerie Arioto is first amongst the Bears with 68 Ks.

Hit Central
With 127 hits, the Bears are third in the conference and are out-hitting their opponents 127-78. Sophomore outfielder Jamia Reid is leaving the way with a team-best 25 hits. Nipping at her heels, however, are Frani Echavarria (19), Shannon Thomas (17) and Lindsey Ziegenhirt (16).

Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the third week in a row, the Bears are tops in the Pac-10 Conference in base stealing. They're first in steal attempts at 57 - more than twice as much as their closest competitor in Washington, which has 25. Cal has also stolen a conference high of 49, which is 26 more than the Huskies' second-place 23. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 20 steals in 24 attempts.

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 Bears side ERA is shades lower at 2.26, which dropped from last week's 2.78.

Next Week on the Diamond
It's the Bears' turn to host a weekend tournament with the upcoming California Tournament from Friday, March 12-Sunday, March 14. Cal welcomes East Carolina, Fullerton and UC Davis to the four-team, five-game weekend. Cal will play ECU on March 12 at 3 p.m., Fullerton on March 13 at 3 p.m. and close the weekend with a doubleheader against Davis on March 14 at 1 p.m. and 3 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, 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. 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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