No. 12/13 Bears Gas Up for Chevron Spring Fling

March 16, 2010

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Wednesday, March 17
7 p.m. PSF - No. 12/13 Cal (19-4) vs. Lipscomb (19-2)
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu
Series Record vs. Bisons: First meeting

Thursday, March 18
6 p.m. PST - Lipscomb (19-2) vs. No. 12/13 Cal (19-4)
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu

8 p.m. PST - No. 12/13 Cal (19-4) at Hawaii (18-9)
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu
TV: KFVE in Honolulu, available online
Series Record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 16-7, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 10-1 (5) (3/12/09)

Friday, March 19
7 p.m. PST - No. 12/13 Cal (19-4) vs. Lipscomb
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu

9 p.m. PST - No. 12/13 Cal (19-4) at Hawaii (18-9)
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu

Saturday, March 20
5 p.m. PST - No. 12/13 Cal (19-4) at Hawaii (18-9)
Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium - Honolulu

BERKELEY - The No. 12/13 California softball team leaves the continental United States for the Chevron Spring Fling, held in Honolulu from Wednesday, March 17-Saturday, March 20. The Golden Bears (19-4) will play both Lipscomb (19-2) and Hawaii (18-9) thrice. The Bisons of Lipscomb and the Bears face off on March 17 at 7 p.m., March 18 at 6 p.m. and March 19 at 7 p.m. The Rainbow Wahine hosts Cal on March 18 at 8 p.m., March 19 at 9 p.m. and March 20 at 5 p.m. All times Pacific Standard Time. Thursday's game against Hawaii will be broadcasted locally in Hawaii and available online for a nominal fee.

Quick Hits
- The Bears are currently riding a 10-game winning streak, which began with a 9-1 defeat of Colorado State on Feb. 28.
- In the past 10 games, the Cal has outscored its opponents, 74-5.
- The Bears' Hawaii trip comes on the heels of them posting a 3-0 record by the Bears at their California Tournament last weekend, shutting out their opponents, 18-0.
- Cal leads the Pac-10 Conference in steals with 77 stolen in 86 attempts.
- The Cal pitching staff had a 0.00 ERA last weekend and freshman Jolene Henderson has team-low and conference-leading 0.72 ERA in 58.2 innings of work.
- Cal has four Bears batting over .400 with sophomore Jace Williams leading the way with a .444 batting average.
- Head coach Diane Ninemire is in her 23rd year at the helm of the Bears. She is just 11 wins away from achieving 1000 career wins with 989 to her credit as of March 16.
- Neither Hawaii nor Lipscomb are nationally ranked, but they are both receiving votes in the national polls this week.

Last Weekend on the Diamond
Cal opened the weekend with an 8-0 mercy win over Cal State Fullerton on March 13, when the Bears scored one run in the bottom of the first and dropped seven scores on the Titans (3-20) in the fourth to end the game after just five innings. On Sunday, the Bears took two games from the Aggies in an afternoon double feature - 2-0 in the first and 8-0 mercy in the second. In the first game against Davis, Shannon Thomas singled up the middle and scored off an RBI single by Valerie Arioto, and then Thomas drove in the Bears' second score with a sacrifice RBI fly out. Cal capped off its stellar home-opening weekend in the second stanza, scoring the game-winning run in the second thanks to a Shannon Thomas RBI. But the Bears really put the hurt on in the fourth when Lindsey Ziegenhirt had a three-RBI double and Vernae Sevilla had a three-run homer.

Three-for-Three
Valerie Arioto was the one player on the Bears to hit a perfect 1.000 percent over the weekend. In her three at bats, Arioto had two singles and a double. She also knocked in two RBI and had six walks.

One-Hit Henderson
Freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson led the Bears to a 2-0 victory in the first game against UC Davis on Sunday in the California Tournament. In sevens inning of work in the circle, Henderson gave up just one Aggie hit and one walk. Facing just three batters over the minimum, the Elk Grove, Calif., native struck out six Aggies.

You've Got My Vote
Although neither Hawaii nor Lipscomb is nationally ranked, both of Cal's opponents this weekend are receiving votes in the major softball polls. Lipscomb earned four votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings and nine in the USA Today/NFCA polls. Hawaii had 11 votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.

20-20 Vision
Valerie Arioto continues to lead the team in walks, a total of 25 through 23 games of play. Over the weekend, Arioto earned a team-high six walks. Her 25 hitless trips to first base places Arioto in a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-10. Last season, the Pleasanton, Calif., native led the Bears with 41 free walks and in her freshman campaign (2008), Arioto had 48 outings to first, which placed her fifth on the all-time single-season walks list.

Superb Sevilla
In the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against UC Davis and already holding a 5-0 lead, the Bears were not done working the Aggie pitching staff. With Lindsey Ziegenhirt and third and Jace Williams at first, senior infielder Vernae Sevilla creamed a pitch over the wall in left center field for a three RBI roundtripper, giving the Bears a key 8-0 lead.

Reminiscing About the 2009 Spring Fling
Cal also participated in last season's Chevron Spring Fling Tournament in Honolulu, finishing the tournament with an unblemished 4-0 record, and outscoring its opponents 19-3. The Bears needed just two hits and a run to defeat Memphis, 1-0, in the opening day last year behind a three-hit shutout by Marissa Drewrey. Cal also shut out Wisconsin, 2-0, and defeated Saint John's, 6-2. In what would be its final game of the tournament due to inclement weather cancelling the last two games, California's offense lit up the scoreboard with 10 runs on 13 hits, including three home runs in the first inning in a 10-1 victory over the Hawaii in five innings.

Spreading the Steal Wealth Around
For the first weekend all season, someone other than Jamia Reid led the Bears in steals. Senior second baseman Shannon Thomas had four stolen bases (in six attempts) over the course of three games. Collectively, Cal had seven successful steals, getting caught twice. Jamia Reid was two-for-two, while Valerie Arioto also grabbed herself an extra bag.

Practically Perfect Pitchers
In last weekend's 17 innings of labor in the circle, the Cal pitchers - Valerie Arioto and Jolene Henderson - combined for a team 0.00 ERA. Arioto allowed a total of four hits across 10 innings for two wins. Arioto struck out 19 batters, 12 of which came in Saturday's 8-0 win against Fullerton. Henderson had a one-hitter against UC Davis with six strike outs and just one walk.

Come on Niner, Hit a Liner
Sophomore transfer third baseman Jace Williams has already stood out in her first year in a Golden Bear jersey. Through 23 games, Williams paces Cal with a .444 batting average, good for ninth place in the competitive Pac-10 Conference. Williams is also second on the Cal squad with 17 walks and a .581 on-base percentage.

Arioto in the Circle - Take I
In her first outing over the weekend - Saturday against Fullerton - Valerie Arioto allowed just two hits in Cal's 8-0 mercy victory over the Titans. Arioto struck 12 batters, which was one Titan shy of this season's high for strike outs in a game, which is13 - a feat she has twice achieved in 2010. With three walks in her shutout, Arioto improved to 9-2 overall.

Arioto in the Circle - Take II
The Pleasanton, Calif., native returned to the one-position in the second game against Davis on Sunday. In five innings of work, Arioto permitted two Aggie hits and held them walkless. Additionally, Arioto fanned seven batters. This season to date, Arioto has twice had zero walks - against UCD and also versus Northwestern.

Sha-Sha-Sha-Shannon
Senior second baseman Shannon Thomas has provided the Bears with some key senior leadership at second base and at the plate this year. Committed to the Bears' success, Thomas has taken one for the team multiple times for she is second in the Pac-10 with five sacrifice bunts. She's also tied for second in the conference with 15 stolen bases. The spritely 5-2 infielder has scored the most of Cal's 140 runs, crossing the plate 26 times, good for a tie for fifth in the Pac-10.

We Spell Double, Z-i-e-g-e-n-h-i-r-t
Freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt is making waves in the Pac-10 as a young starter. Ziegenhirt is tied for first with eight doubles to her credit. Most recently, Ziegenhirt came through in a huge way with a double against UC Davis. With the bases juiced, Ziegenhirt stepped up to the plate and after watching a ball go by, she crushed the next pitch from the Aggie pitcher Alex Holmes deep into center field for a three-RBI stand-up double. No doubt related to her number of doubles, Ziegenhirt is also tied fifth in the Pac-10 with 27 runs batted in, three of which occurred last weekend.

Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the fifth week in a row, the Bears are tops in the Pac-10 Conference in base stealing. They're first in steal attempts at 86 - more than twice as much as their closest competitor in Washington, which has 45. Cal has also stolen a conference high of 77, which is 38 more than the Huskies' second-place 39. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 31 steals in 35 attempts.

J. Reid: Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a squad-second .430 and has started each of Cal's 23 games in 2010. She also has team-best 37 hits, which leads the league. Furthermore, she is tops on the team and in the Pac-10 Conference with 31 stolen bases to her credit in 35 attempts. In 2009, Reid finished the season with 47 steals, which was tops in the Pac-10, and third in the nation per game.

Ninemire Watch 2010: T-Minus 11 Games to 1000 Wins
Cal head coach Diane Ninemire is just 11 wins of achieving a major feat in coaching history - 1000 career wins. As of March 16, Ninemire has 989 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.

Lucky No. 4
Cal has four Bears hitting above. 400. Sophomore standout Jace Williams has a team-leading .444 batting average, which places her in a tie for ninth in the Pac-10. Jamia Reid is second at .430, with a team-leading 37 hits. Valerie Arioto, who boasts a conference-third .610 slugging percentage, is batting .420 and senior Shannon Thomas rounds out the top-four at .403.

Next Week on the Diamond
Cal has a mid-week match-up against Pacific on March 24 at 2 p.m. in Berkeley at Levine-Fricke Field, which will be free to the public. The Bears will then play in their last nonconference tournament in Davis from Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28. At the Aggie Stampede, Cal plays Sacramento State on March 26 at 12:15 p.m., Riverside (1:15 p.m.) and Saint Mary's (3:30 p.m.) on Saturday before closing with host Davis on Sunday 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, 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 fared 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 year, 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's (ASA) initial watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This ASA 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 ASA 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 was 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, 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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