No. 14 Bears Host Pacific, Travel to Aggie Stampede

March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 24
2 p.m. - Pacific vs. No. 14 Cal
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley
Series Record vs. Tigers: 50-36-1, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 11-6 (3/25/09)

Friday, March 26
12:15 p.m. - Sacramento State vs. No. 14 Cal
La Rue Field - Davis, Calif.
Series Record vs. the Hornets: 44-11, Cal
Last Meeting: L, 1-2 (8) (3/24/09)

Saturday, March 27
1:15 p.m. - No. 14 Cal vs. UC Riverside
La Rue Field - Davis, Calif.
Series Record vs. the Highlanders: 8-0
Last Meeting: W, 8-3 (3/1/09)

3:30 p.m. - No. 14 Cal vs. Saint Mary's
La Rue Field - Davis, Calif.
Series Record vs. the Gaels: 44-0
Last Meeting: W, 1-0 (4/15/09)

Sunday, March 28
2:30 p.m. - No. 14 Cal at UC Davis
La Rue Field - Davis, Calif.
Series Record vs. the Aggies: 18-6
Last Meeting: W, 8-0 (5) (3/14/10)

BERKELEY - The No. 14 California softball team 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., then faces off against 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.

Quick Hits
- Wednesday's game versus Pacific is free to the public.
- In the past six games, the Cal has outscored its opponents, 18-8.
- The last time the Bears played at home, Cal posted a 3-0 record by the Bears at their California Tournament on March 13 and 14, 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 1.11 ERA last week and freshman Jolene Henderson had a team-low 1.00 ERA after allowing four runs in 21 innings of work.
- Henderson's overall 0.79 ERA is the second lowers in the entire Pac-10 Conference.
- Junior Valerie Arioto had 37 strike outs last week in Hawaii and is third in the Pac-10 with a .566 on-base percentage.
- Head coach Diane Ninemire is in her 23rd year at the helm of the Bears. She is just seven wins away from achieving 1000 career wins with 993 to her credit as of March 23.
- None of Cal's opponents this week are nationally ranked.

Feature on the Golden Bears
Highlighted this week on CalBears.com is sophomore outfielder Frani Echavarria in a video Q&A with CalBears.com. As of March 21, Echavarria has started 28 of Cal's 29 games and is fifth on the squad, batting .341with five doubles and 16 RBI. The 5-6 left-handed batter is the first person in her family, which resides in Riverside, Calif., to attend college. CalBears.com chatted with Echavarria in this Q&A about that, what makes the sport of softball unique as well as her career ambitions to join the FBI.

To see the video, please click here.

Last Time Out on the Diamond
The Golden Bears went 4-2 over four days of play at last week's Chevron Spring Fling in Honolulu, hosted by University of Hawaii. Cal lost the first game, 1-0, to Lipscomb despite a great outing by Valerie Arioto, who fanned 12 batters for the third time this year. The next day on March 18 against Lipscomb again, it was a different story today with Cal scoring its three runs in the second inning and tallying a collective six hits to defeat the Bison, 3-0. Following the win over Lipscomb and behind a 17-stike-out and performance by Arioto, who also hit a two run homer, the Bears defeated host Hawaii, 5-0. In a rubber match against the Bison on March 19, Cal took the series with a 5-3 defeat of Lipscomb before dropping a 3-0 decision to Hawaii. Once again, however, the Bears won the series against the Rainbow Wahine with a 5-1 win on March 20.

Strike-Out Machine
The trip to Hawaii was good to Valerie Arioto's right arm for she amassed a grand total of 37 strike outs in 19 innings in the circle. Against Lipscomb on March 17, she struck out 12 Bison, a feat she has thrice accomplished in 2010. The junior utility led the Bears to a 5-0 victory over Hawaii, allowing just four hits in seven innings of work, striking out a season high 17 batters, four Ks above her previous 2010 season high. As of March 23, Arioto is third in the Pac-10 with 147 strike outs this year.

Fast Feet Lead to Triples
The Bears are second in the Pac-10 with seven team doubles. Jamia Reid paces her squad with three of those seven three-baggers. When you combine Reid's team-high .424 batting average with her Pac-10 leading 31 steals, you get a recipe for triples. In Hawaii, Reid had one triple, which came in Cal's 3-0 win over Lipscomb.

Double Trouble
Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Jace Williams each have two doubles, which places them in a tie with each other for third in the Pac-10 conference. The doubles leader is Stanford's Ashley Hansen, who has 10. Williams had one triple last week in Hawaii. Also contributing is Frani Echavarria, who had a team-high three doubles over the six games last week.

20-20 Vision
Valerie Arioto continues to lead the team in walks, a total of 31 through 29 games of play. Over the games in Hawaii, and for the second consecutive week, Arioto earned a team-high of six walks. Her 31 hitless trips to first base places Arioto in sole possession of 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.

Spreading the Steal Wealth Around
It was not just the Pac-10 steal leader Jamia Reid who paced the Bears in stolen bases last weekend in Hawaii for senior second baseman Shannon Thomas, just like Reid, went three-for-three on steals. Collectively, Cal had eight successful steals on as many attempts, its feet proving much too fast for the Lipscomb and Hawaii defenses. In addition to Reid and Thomas' three steals apiece, Valerie Arioto also grabbed herself two extra bags.

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 eight sacrifice bunts, three of which came last weekend. She's also tied for second in the conference with 18 stolen bases. The spritely 5-2 infielder has scored the majority of Cal's 158 runs, crossing the plate 29 times, good for a tie for fifth in the Pac-10.

Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the sixth week in a row, the Bears are tops in the Pac-10 Conference in base stealing. They're first in steal attempts at 94 - 41 more than their closest competitor in Washington, which has 55. Cal has also stolen a conference high of 85, which is almost more than double the Huskies' second-place 47. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 34 steals in 38 attempts.

J. Reid: Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a squad-leading .424 and has started 27 games in 2010. She also has team-best 42 hits, which leads the league. Furthermore, she is tops on the team and in the Pac-10 Conference with 34 stolen bases to her credit in 38 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 Seven Games to 1000 Wins
Cal head coach Diane Ninemire is just seven wins of achieving a major feat in coaching history - 1000 career wins. As of March 23, Ninemire has 993 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.

Next Week on the Diamond
The Bears begin Pac-10 play in their next outing with a three-game road trip to nearby Stanford. As of March 21, the Cardinal is 20-3 overall and has the reigning Pac-10 pitcher of the week and national player of the week in Teagan Gerhart. Last weekend, Gerhart threw three-straight no-hitters, beginning with her first career perfect game in an 8-0 win over Santa Clara. Offensively, Alissa Haber leads the team with a .479 batting average and a .558 on-base percentage in addition to boasting a her .775 slugging percentage.

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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