No. 13 Bears Host California Tournament

March 9, 2010

Friday, March 5
3 p.m. - East Carolina vs. No. 13 Cal
Levine-Fricke Field n Berkeley
Series Record vs. Pirates: 1-1
Last Meeting: L, 8-3 (3/26/06)

Saturday, March 6
10 a.m. - Cal State Fullerton vs. East Carolina
Levine-Fricke Field n Berkeley

12:30 p.m. - East Carolina vs. UC Davis
Levine-Fricke Field n Berkeley

3 p.m. - Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 13 Cal
Levine-Fricke Field n Berkeley
Series Record vs. Titans: 23-15, Fullerton
Last Meeting: W, 2-1 (2/27/09)

Sunday, March 7
1 p.m./3 p.m. - UC Davis vs. No. 13 Cal
Levine-Fricke Field n Berkeley
Series Record vs. Aggies: 15-2
Last Meeting: L, 3-2 (2/9/08)

BERKELEY - After posting a perfect 5-0 record at last week's Eller Media Stadium Classic, it is the No. 13 California softball team's turn to host a weekend tournament with the California Tournament from Friday, March 12-Sunday, March 14. The Golden Bears welcomes East Carolina, Fullerton and UC Davis to the four-team, six-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, beginning at1 p.m.

Spotlight on...Sati Houston
For Sati Houston, the California softball team winning the 2002 Women's College World Series was not just something she watched on the television. Little did she know that when she and her family gathered around the television to watch the Golden Bears capture the first national team title for a women's team in Cal history, she would strive for the same thing eight years down the line. Prior to the 2008-09 school year, Houston achieved a life-long dream by walking on to the California softball team, but she did not take the usual roads to collegiate athletics.

To read the entire on Sati Houston, please click here.

To see all past Golden Bear Features, please click here.

Arioto Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
California junior Valerie Arioto was named the Pac-10 Conference's Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Tuesday. Arioto was key for the Bears in their 5-0 weekend at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium Classic - pitching two complete game wins. Arioto finished the weekend with 14 innings of work under her belt, allowing four hits for an opponent average of .081, giving up no runs for a 0.00 ERA and fanning a total of 23 batters. For Arioto this is also her first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor and the 62nd all-time for the Bears.

Last Weekend on the Diamond
The Bears blew through last weekend's line-up at the Eller Media Stadium Classic - defeating New Mexico State, 6-0 and Weber State, 10-2, on Friday, March 5 to begin the conquests. Saturday saw Cal continue its winning ways with a 7-0 defeat of Portland State and an 11-0 mercy win over Southern Utah before closing the trip to Vegas with a 5-1 victory against host UNLV. The Bears completely dominated the tournament and was the only team to boast a perfect record with the next closest successful team - UNLV - going 3-2.

Icing the Competition
Last weekend, the California pitching squadron silenced the opposition with a combined ERA of 0.45. The Bears gave up just 17 hits in 31 innings of work and three runs in five games. Junior Valerie Arioto led the way with no runs for a 0.00 ERA and struck out a team-high 23 batters in two complete games (14 innings). Freshman Jolene Henderson came in with the other three weekend wins, allowing two runs and fanning 18.

Arioto at Bat
Junior Valerie Arioto scored a team-high eight runs scored and eight RBI, collecting a squad-first 14 total bases and earning four walks in five games of play for the Bears en route to five wins at the Eller Media Stadium Classic. The Pleasanton, Calif., native was also first on the team through the weekend with a 1.167 slugging percentage and was second in terms of on base percentage at .625. She established a new season high of four RBI versus Southern Utah. Tying its season high with 12 hits, No. 15/13 California opened its weekend with a 6-0 victory against New Mexico State on Friday afternoon thanks to junior pitcher Valerie Arioto, who was the star of the game with a game-changing two-run homer and pitched a seven-inning one-hitter. In the bottom of the first, Shannon Thomas singled through the right side to bring up Arioto, who smacked the ball over the left-field fence, giving the Bears a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish. It was a similar story versus Southern Utah for Arioto, who cranked a pitch over the wall in center field for a two-run homer, giving Cal an early 2-0 lead. Later in the game, she singled down the right-field line to score Shannon Thomas and Jamia Reid, further upping Cal's lead to 4-0.

Arioto in the Circle
In addition to her hitting prowess this weekend, Valerie Arioto was also key for the Bears on the defensive end of the ball - pitching two complete game wins. In her superb outing in the circle in the 6-0 win against New Mexico State, Arioto gave up just one hit and three walks while striking out half (13) of the batters she faced (26). The Aggies hit a collective .047 while Arioto had a 0.00 ERA. The Pleasanton, Calif., native led Cal to a 7-0 win over Portland State thanks to her three-hit performance in seven innings of work, allowing just a .115 opponent batting average. Arioto finished the weekend with 14 innings of work under her belt, allowing four hits for an opponent average of .081, giving up no runs for a 0.00 ERA and fanning a total of 23 batters. On the season, Arioto is second on the squad with a 1.83 ERA and is 8-2 in 10 appearances. She has also fanned a team-high 91 batters.

Ninemire Watch 2010
Cal head coach Diane Ninemire is just 14 wins of achieving a major feat in coaching history - 1000 career wins. As of March 8, Ninemire has 986 victories to her credit. Already, the most winningest coach in Cal history - with a men's or women's team - Ninemire continues to bring the program to new heights.

Watch Out, Sluggers Coming Through
In the five games last weekend, sophomore infielder Jace Williams and junior utility Valerie Arioto had the big bats - boasting.769 and 1.167 slugging percentages, respectively. Williams hit .692 over the course of five games with nine hits, four runs and six RBI. Arioto had a team-best eight RBI off six hits and coming around to score eight times. In 2010's 20 games, Arioto leads with team with an .851 slugging percentage, following by Lindsey Ziegenhirt at .729 while Williams is third at .600.

The Haves and the Have Nots
After 31 innings of play at the Eller Media Stadium Classic, the Bears outscored their opponents in a remarkable way - 39-3. Cal averaged 7.8 runs per game, shutting out their opposition in three of last weekend's five games. The biggest margin of victory for the Bears came Saturday in their 11-0 demolishing of Southern Utah. The smallest margin was against host UNLV, a 5-1 win for Cal.

Perfection and Speed - a Deadly Combination
Last weekend, the Bears went 21-21 in their stolen base attempts. The 21 successful steals tied the weekend best, which was set in the first weekend of play at the Kajikawa Classic. It was also the first time this year that the Bears had been successful in each of their steals over a weekend. Cal stole a weekend high of six bags against New Mexico State, give against Weber State and four in the games against Southern Utah and UNLV.

A Veritable Hit Parade
With six starters each with double-digit hits to their credits through 20 games of play, the Bears are out-hitting the opposition, 177-95. Sophomore Jamia Reid leads the Bears with 35 hits, averaging 1.75 per game. In a tie for second place are Jace Williams and Frani Echavarria, who each have 23 clinks of the bats. Lindsey Ziegenhirt is fourth at 22 while Shannon Thomas has 21.

Walk This Way
With a keen eye in the box, thanks to her time in the circle, Valerie Arioto has a team-leading 19 walks. Last season, the Pleasanton, Calif., native led the Bears with 41 free trips to first. With at least 35 games still on the docket before the close of the year, Arioto seems poised to break that record. Arioto is currently fifth on the all-time single-season walks list with her 48 walks earned during her freshman campaign (2008). Arioto needs 88 this season to move ahead of Veronica Nelson's fourth-place standing with 87 walks in 2000.

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.

Next Week on the Diamond
The Bears leave the continental U.S. for the Hawaii Spring Fling, from Wednesday, March 17-Saturday, March 20 in Honolulu. Cal will see all teams at least twice - the University of Tokyo in a March 17 doubleheader, Lipscomb on March 18 (1 p.m.) and March 20 as well as host Hawaii on March 18 (5 p.m.) and March 19 at 7 p.m. Depending on the results of those games, the Bears will also play a to-be-announced schedule on March 20.

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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