No. 14 Bears Set to Square off Against No. 11/9 Stanford

March 30, 2010

Thursday, April 1
7 p.m. - No. 14 Cal (28-6) at No. 11/9 Stanford (25-5)
Smith Family Stadium - Palo Alto, Calif.
Series Record vs. the Cardinal: 55-21, Cal
Last Meeting: W, 8-6 (4/11/09)

Friday, April 2
7 p.m. - No. 14 Cal (28-6) at No. 11/9 Stanford (25-5)
Smith Family Stadium - Palo Alto, Calif.

Saturday, April 3
1 p.m. - No. 14 Cal (28-6) at No. 11/9 Stanford (25-5)
Smith Family Stadium - Palo Alto, Calif.

BERKELEY - The No. 14 California softball team opens its Pac-10 Conference season on the road this week with a three-game stand at rival No. 11/9 Stanford. At the Cardinal's Smith Family Field, the Golden Bears (28-6) will face Stanford (25-5) at 7 p.m. on both Thursday, April 1 as well as on Friday, April 2 before concluding the series with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday, April 3.

Quick Hits
- This is the first conference game for either team.
- Over the course of five games last week, Cal outscored its opponents, 24-3.
- Head coach Diane Ninemire is just two wins away from achieving 1000 career wins with 998 to her credit as of March 28. Ninemire is in her 23rd year at the helm of the Bears.
- The Bears took two out of three games last year against Stanford in Berkeley.- Junior pitcher Valerie Arioto pitched 19 scoreless innings for a 0.00 ERA last week.
- Overall, the Cal pitching limited last weeks' opponents to an .080 batting average.
- All 17 Bears saw playing time during Cal's five games last week.
- The Bears take on Cardinal riding a six-game winning streak. Cal's longest streak of the season was 10 straight victories.
- The Cardinal comes in at 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 14 in the USA Today/NFCA rankings, Stanford is Cal's first ranked opponent since Feb. 21, when the then-No. 11/12 Bears upset then-No. 10/9 Georgia Tech, 4-1.

Last Time Out on the Diamond
The Bears posted five wins over the course of five days during the Cal campus spring break last week. The Bears begun their break on an extremely high note - with a 8-0 five-inning mercy win over Pacific on March 24. Against the Tigers, freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt led all players with three RBI off two walks and a homer. Cal then made the short trip to Davis, Calif., for the Aggie Stampede from March 26-28. The Bears were the only team that emerged with a perfect record at 4-0 thanks to a 3-1 win over Sac State on March 26, defeating Riverside, 3-0, and Saint Mary's, 6-2, on March 27 and dropping host Davis, 4-0.

Last Season's Series Versus Stanford
Cal took the three-game series against the Cardinal in 2009 with two wins, while Stanford won the middle game. In the rubber match, the then-No. 16 Bears built a 6-0 lead over the then-No. 2 Stanford, only to see the Cardinal tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the seventh with five runs, before junior Taylor Kelly blasted a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bears an 8-6 win over their Bay Area rival.

Ninemire Watch 2010: T-Minus Two Games to 1000 Wins
Cal head coach Diane Ninemire is just two wins of achieving a major feat in coaching history - 1000 career wins. As of March 28, Ninemire has 998 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 take a quick break from conference action with a mid-week match-up against Sacramento State on Wednesday, April 7 in the friendly confines of Levine-Fricke Field at 3 p.m. The game against the Hornets, who the Bears beat last weekend, is free to attend. Next weekend, Cal will face off against Oregon for a three-game match-up with the Ducks in their home pond of Eugene, Ore., from April 9-10.

Lindsey 'Home Run' Ziegenhirt
Thanks to two homers last week, freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt upper her season count to seven roundtrippers. The first came against Pacific on March 24. With Arioto already aboard at first with an RBI single off the Tigers, the Cal batting practice continued with Ziegenhirt teeing off on McDaniel's first pitch to her for a two-run homer over the wall in center field, distancing the Bears, 4-0. The Elk Grove, Calif., native ended her weekend in similar fashion. After neither the Aggies nor the Bears could register a hit for the next 2.5 innings, until the top of the fourth. With the Bears leading, 1-0, Ziegenhirt stepped up to bat. She watched one pitch go by for a strike before connecting on the next for a solo shot to left center. The freshman catcher's homer, her seventh of the season, put Cal up, 2-0.

No Spring Break for Arioto
Although the rest of her Cal classmates were on spring break last week, the work did not stop for junior pitcher Valerie Arioto, whose drop ball and change-up mystified batters this week as Arioto pitched three complete-game wins. In total, Arioto finished the weekend with three complete-game wins, all of which were shutouts, and 26 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. Arioto also had two one-hitters and one two-hitter, allowing just four hits through the three games in which she threw. On March 24 against Pacific, Arioto allowed just one hit through five innings of work in Cal's 8-0 mercy win, notching 10 strikeouts, solely retiring 10 of 17 batters she faced. Ten strikeouts by Arioto was the name of the game again when Arioto returned to the circle on Saturday versus UC Riverside to pitch Cal to a 3-0 win with 10 Ks in her two-hit performance in seven innings. Arioto further continued to dominate the batters she faced in the 4-0 win over host Davis on Sunday. In her second one-hitter and third shutout of the weekend, Arioto fanned six Aggies.

Hurtful Henderson
Hitters who faced freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson last weekend batted a collective .065. Henderson, who earned two wins in 13.1 innings of work, allowed two earned runs off three hits last week. Walking just two batters over the course of the two games, Henderson struck out 16. On the weekend, the Elk Grove, Calif.'s ERA was 0.53 to maintain her second-place stature in the Pac-10 with her season 0.73, just .02 off of first place Kenzi Fowler of Arizona (0.71).

Sevilla Serving It Up
Senior infielder Vernae Sevilla has made her way into the starting lineup as of late at third base. Sevilla started four of the five games in which she and the Bears played last weekend and hit .364. Over spring break, Sevilla was one of three Bears to knock in four RBI. Against the Aggies, Sevilla came through in a large way. When Jace Williams reached on a fielding error at short in the top of the sixth, the error was more costly than just a baserunner for the Aggies but inversely fruitful for the Bears. The next batter - Vernae Sevilla - fouled a pitch off before sending the second over the wall in center field for a two-run roundtripper. Sevilla, who has three home runs in 17 starts (21 appearances) for the Bears, upped Cal's advantage to what would be the final 4-0. Overall, Vernae is hitting .208 and slugging .396 with 19 RBI.

Fast Feet Lead to Triples
The Bears are second in the Pac-10 with eight triples. Jamia Reid paces her squad with four of those seven three-baggers. When you combine Reid's team-high .419 batting average with her Pac-10 leading 39 steals, you get a recipe for triples. At the Aggie Stampede, Reid had one triple, which came in the very first pitch of the game in Cal's 4-0 win over Davis.

Double Trouble
Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Jace Williams each have eight doubles, which places them in a tie with three others for sixth in the Pac-10 conference. The doubles leader is Stanford's Ashley Hansen, who has 12. Also contributing is Frani Echavarria, who had one of Cal's three doubles last week.

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 moved into a tie for first in the Pac-10 with eight sacrifice bunts. She's also tied for second in the conference with 22 stolen bases. The spritely 5-2 infielder has scored the majority of Cal's 182 runs, crossing the plate 31 times, good for a tie for eighth in the Pac-10. She knocked in two RBI last weekend as well, bringing her season total to 12.

Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the seventh week in a row, the Bears top the Pac-10 Conference in stealing. Cal has stolen a conference high of 99, which is almost more than double the Huskies' second-place 51.They're also first in attempts at 111 - 50 more than their closest competitor in the reigning national champion Washington, which has 61. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 39 steals in 44 attempts.

Arioto's 20-20 Vision
Valerie Arioto continues to lead the team in walks, a total of 41 through 34 games of play. Last week, for the third consecutive week, Arioto earned the team high in walks, this time with 10. Her 41 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.

J. Reid: Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a squad-leading .422, seventh in the conference, and has started 29 games in 2010. She also has team-best 46 hits, which leads the league. Furthermore, she is first on the team and in the Pac-10 Conference with 39 stolen bases to her credit in 44 attempts. In 2009, Reid finished the season with 47 steals, which was tops in the Pac-10, and third in the nation per game.

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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