No. 14 Bears Pounce on Tigers for 8-0 Mercy Victory

March 24, 2010

BERKELEY - The No. 14 California softball team mercied Pacific, 8-0, on Wednesday afternoon at Berkeley's serene Levine-Fricke Field in Strawberry Canyon.

The Golden Bears improve to 25-6 overall.

Full recap to follow.

Cal's first baserunner came from the third spot in the line-up with junior pitcher Valerie Arioto earning a walk, a category in which she leads the Bears with 32 walks. Arioto promptly stole second. In the final pitch of Lindsey Ziegnehirt's at bat, Pacific pitcher Gabby McDaniel issued a wild pitch, which put Ziegenhirt at fierst with a walk and moved Arioto to third.

The very next pitch from McDaniel - which was to Jace Williams - sailed over UOP catcher Karie Wilson's head for another wild pitch, which allowed Arioto to score and move Ziegenhirt to second. Williams earned a four-pitch walk, putting runners at first and second with two outs, but they would be left stranded as McDaniel got third baseman Vernae Sevilla out on a three-pitch swinging strikeout.

In the top of the second, Arioto struck out the side. Pacific's final batter of the inning - Megan Allen - could not help but swing at two of Arioto's stunning off-speed pitches. With Cal still holding the 1-0 advantage, the Tigers returned that favor in the Bears' end of the second with McDaniel getting two strike outs and one ground out to send Cal down in order.

It was an identical scenario in the top of the third with strike outs sandwiching a 1-3 ground out to send the Tigers down 1-2-3. Following her two Ks in the third, Arioto had struck five of the last six batters.

In the first at bat of the bottom of the third, Frani Echavarria broke the all-team 17-batter hit stalemate with a powerful hit into left field. Echavarria tagged up and moved to third when Shannon Houston had a pop up to foul territory in right field. Next up for the Bears was Arioto, and she hit the fifth pitch on a 1-2 count into left center for an RBI single. Lindsey Ziegenhirt teed off on McDaniel's first pitch to her for a two-run shot over the wall in center field, distancing the Bears, 4-0.

Arioto, the Bears and Tigers began the fourth with a 1-3 ground out. Arioto then sent the final two Tigers - Megan Hom and Nikki Armagost - down with strike outs to bring her K total to eight, seven of which were looking. After the top of the fourth, Arioto had retired the past 11 batters with a strike out or ground out.

Taylor Kelly opened the bottom of the fourth with her 17th walk of the year and freshman first baseman Jolene Henderson moved herself to first and Kelly to second when a McDaniel's pitch struck Henderson. Echavarria next had a one-out single up the middle to juice the bases and bring up Shannon Houston.

With Houston in the box, catcher Karie Wilson could not get a handle on a McDaniel pitch, which allowed Kelly to score and all the runners to move over one. Arioto earned a walked to load the bases with two away, bringing up Ziegenhirt.

With Jace Williams due up to hit, the Tigers made a pitching change, bringing in Nikki Armagost from first to pitch. It was of no help for Pacific for Armagost walked Williams to draw up the ninth batter of the half inning in Vernae Sevilla. Sevilla notched her 14th hit of the season with this one going past shortstop into left center for an RBI single.

In the top of the fifth, Arioto got the first batter - Kellee Wilson - to ground out, third to first. Next up for the Tigers, Karie Wilson had a high pop up that was of no trouble for second baseman Diane Leider. UOP got a runner in Allen, who struck out but reached on a error at catch

Cal's work is not done yet this week for the Bears 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.

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