No. 11-Seeded Bears Head to Columbus Regional

May 18, 2010

Friday, May 21
5 p.m. - Game one: No. 11-Seed Cal (41-17) vs. Bucknell (28-18-1)
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio
Cal Series Record vs. Bucknell: First meeting
7:30 p.m. - Game two: Kentucky (31-25) vs. Ohio State (37-12)
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio
Cal Series Record vs. Kentucky: 1-0, Cal
Last Meeting vs. Kentucky: W, 6-1 (2/13/10)
Cal Series Record vs. Ohio State: 5-4, Cal
Last Meeting vs. Ohio State: W, 2-0 (3/15/08)

Saturday, May 22
2:30 p.m. - Game three: game-one winner vs. game-two winner
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio
5 p.m. - Game four: game-one loser vs. game-two loser
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio
7:30 p.m. - Game five: game-four winner vs. game-three loser
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio

Sunday, May 23
2:30 p.m. - Game six: game-three winner vs. game-five winner
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio
5 p.m. - game seven: game-six winner vs. game-six loser (if necessary)
Buckeye Field - Columbus, Ohio

*All times Eastern.

BERKELEY - The No. 11-seeded California softball team has its ticket stamped for the 2010 NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid to the 64-team field, earning an at-large bid for its 25th time in the postseason. The Golden Bears (41-17 overall, 10-11 in the Pac-10 Conference) will head to the Ohio State Regional along with Bucknell (28-18-1), Kentucky (31-25) and host Ohio State (37-12). Cal will face Bucknell in the regional's opening game at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, May 21. The Bears have never met Bucknell before in program history, but Cal holds a 1-0 all-time series record against Kentucky after defeating the Wildcats, 6-1, earlier this season. The Bears lead 5-4, in all past games with the Buckeyes with the last game resulting in a 2-0 Cal victory on March 15, 2008.

Quick Hits
-The Bears are 41-17 overall, 10-11 in the Pac-10 Conference (tied for fourth).
-The fourth-place tie is the highest conference finish since 2003, when the Bears were third.
-Cal has not had a losing season since 1973 - a span of 35 years.
-Cal played 16 of the tournament's teams this year, posting a 19-16 record against them.
-The Bears bring a four-game winning streak to Columbus after sweeping Oregon State.
-Jolene Henderson (1.63 ERA, 0.66 ERA in nonconference play) and Valerie Arioto (1.31 ERA, 253 strikeouts) have split time in the circle.
-Five of Cal's starters are batting above .300 with Jamia Reid pacing the Bears at .383 and 45 steals.
-Diane Ninemire is in her 23rd year as the Cal head coach and recently won her 1,000th career game.

Cal in the Postseason
-This marks the 25th season the Bears are playing in the postseason.
-Last year, Cal won the Florida State Regional, defeating Mississippi State once and Oklahoma State twice.
-The 2009 run ended with two straight losses to No. 1-seeded Florida at Super Regionals in Gainesville, Fla.
-The Bears are 54-31 in regional games and 75-53 overall in the NCAA postseason.
-Three consecutive WCWS title game appearances (2002-04, national champions in 2002).
-The 2002 NCAA national title was the first by any women's team at Cal.
-Cal has appeared in seven of the last 11 NCAA WCWS and 10 overall, including three trips to the AIAW College World Series.

Most Recently on the Diamond
Cal won its second conference series last weekend, sweeping visiting Oregon State. On May 15, the Bears gave their seniors - Marissa Drewrey, Shannon Houston, Taylor Kelly, Vernae Sevilla and Shannon Thomas - a great finish to the 2010 regular-season with an 11-3 mercy victory. In the bottom of the first, the Bears scored seven runs with five hits and two OSU errors to pull ahead early. Cal tacked on two more runs with three hits and another Beaver error in the third, taking a 9-0 lead. The game changed in the top of the third, when OSU scored its three runs of the game off four hits and two Cal errors. Thanks to a two-run double from Lindsey Ziegenhirt in the bottom of the fifth, Cal ended the game early with the 11-3 mercy win. In the middle match on May 14, Cal defeated OSU, 6-0, thanks to a five runs scored in the third inning, none of which were earned for OSU pitcher Paige Hall. Valerie Arioto allowed just two Beaver hits and freshman first baseman Jolene Henderson drove in two runs to secure the win. To start the series, Cal was far too much for the Beavers with Cal claiming the 9-1 mercy win in five innings. Oregon State got on the board in the top of the first, but the Bears scored in the bottom end of the inning and then five in the third to build an insurmountable lead. One run in the fourth gave Cal a 7-1 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Arioto walked to make the score 8-1 when freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt singled to left to score the pivotal ninth Bear run, giving Cal the 9-1 run-rule victory.

Ziegenhirt Leads Bears Past Beavers
Freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt was a key leader in Cal's three wins over Oregon State over the weekend. She had two RBI to lead the Bears to a 9-1 victory on May 13, both of which came in the fifth, and allowed Cal to take the mercy victory. Similarly, on Sunday, Ziegenhirt doubled in the fifth to plate two Bears and end the game with an 11-3 mercy victory for the Bears. Overall, she hit .545 with a 1.00 slugging percentage, bolstered when she slugged 2.33 on May 14. In that 9-1 win, Ziegenhirt sent the first pitch she saw from OSU starter Marina Demore to the wall in centerfield for a stand-up double, moving Arioto to third, and she would come around to score on the next at bat. In the bottom of the fifth, Arioto walked to make the score 8-1 when freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt singled to left to score the pivotal ninth Bear run, giving Cal the 9-1 run-rule victory to open the three-game weekend against OSU. On May 15, Lindsey Ziegenhirt put a hit on the ground down the right-field line for a two-RBI single, plating Thomas and Williams to give Cal an early 2-0 lead. With Cal leading, 9-3, Arioto at third, Thomas at second and Kelly at first, Ziegenhirt stepped up to the plate. With a 2-1 count, the freshman catcher singled to left, easily scoring Arioto and Thomas to end the game early on account of the mercy rule.

Ever-Enhancing Echavarria
Sophomore outfielder Frani Echavarria has improved by leaps and bounds from her freshman campaign. Last season, Echavarria finished the year with a .193 batting average after starting 49 of Cal's 58 games. This year, the Riverside, Calif., native is batting .349, good for second on the team. She's also slugging .438, placing her fourth amongst the Bears, and has 24 RBI to her credit.

Reid + Thomas = Lethal One-Two Combo
Jamia Reid is earning her keep in the lead-off spot with her team-high .383 batting average and slapping ability in addition to a .402 on-base percentage. Batting behind her is Shannon Thomas, who leads the conference with 14 sacrifice bunts. When you factor in that Reid paces the Pac-10 with 45 steals and Thomas is right behind her with 29, you get a deadly combination in the first and second spots in the Cal line-up.

ASA Top-10 Watch List: Arioto
Valerie Arioto has been named one of the best 10 players in the nation, making the cut for the top-10 contenders for the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)'s watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered 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. The winner will be announced at the opening of the NCAA 2010 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Similar to last year, in 2010, Arioto was named to the top-50 and top-25 list, but this is the first time she has progressed to the highly competitive and widely respected top-10 finalist list.

Hurlin' Henderson
Freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson has made a seamless transition into Division I softball. In nonconference play, Henderson has a 0.66 ERA, allowing just 10 earned runs in 106.0 innings of work. Overall, Henderson is seventh in the Pac-10 with her current 1.63 ERA. She is also third in the league with 65 looking strikeouts and seventh in appearances (34).

Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the entirety of the season, the Bears have topped the Pac-10 in stealing. Cal recorded a conference high of 122 steals, far above second-place Stanford's 80. They are also first in attempts at 139 - 48 more than their closest competitor in the reigning national-champion Washington, which has 91. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 45 steals in 54 attempts.

Arioto's 20-20 Vision
Valerie Arioto continues to lead the conference and team in walks, a total of 74 through 58 games. Her 74 free passes to first base places Arioto in sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with the nearest competitor 25 walks behind in second place (Stacie Chambers, ASU, 49 walks).

J. Reid: Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a squad-leading .383, which is 10th in the conference, and has started 51 of Cal's 58 games in 2010. She also has a team-best 72 hits, which ties her for first in the league. Furthermore, she is first on the team and in the Pac-10 with 45 stolen bases to her credit in 54 attempts. In 2009, Reid finished the season with 47 steals, which was tops in the Pac-10, and was third in the nation per game.

Come on Niner, Hit a Liner
Redshirt sophomore Jace Williams has made an impact in her first year in a Cal uniform after transferring from Washington after the 2008 season. Williams is fifth amongst the Bears, batting.313 and slugging .417. She is tied with Ziegenhirt for first on the Cal squad and tied with two others for fifth in the Pac-10 with 12 doubles. Her 40 walks place her second with the Bears and fifth in the conference.

Z for Ziegenhirt
In only her freshman season, Lindsey Ziegenhirt has solidified her stature as a fixture in the Cal line-up. Starting all 58 games behind the plate as catcher for the Bears, Ziegenhirt leads the team in RBI (58) and total bases (106), tied for first in doubles (12), and is second in slugging (.586) and homers (15). Her 58 RBI rank her third in the Pac-10 and her 15 roundtrippers place her in a five-way tie for third in the conference. In addition to her work over the Beavers, Ziegenhirt was instrumental in Cal's first conference series sweep at Arizona State, hitting four home runs. She finished that weekend with a 1.600 slugging average with six RBI.

How Does This All Work?
The Bears are one of 64 teams who will be competing at 16 regional sites in the first round double-elimination Regionals. The top 16 teams were seeded in order, and the remaining teams were placed in regional brackets to create balanced competition and avoid conference match-ups, when possible. The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series at eight campus sites. The eight teams that win the Super Regionals will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The championship final will be a best-of-three-series. The WCWS will be conducted May 28 to June 3 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Flashback - Cal: 2, Ohio State: 0
Sophomore Marissa Drewrey pitched a seven-hit shutout to help lead the Bears to a 2-0 upset victory over No. 19 Ohio State in the second day of the Capital Classic hosted by Sacramento State on May 15, 2008. Drewrey, who improved to 11-4 in the circle, also recorded 10 strikeouts, while just walking two batters. She pitched her way out of two early jams in the first and second inning as Ohio State left a total of five runners on base, including three in the second. In fact Drewrey allowed just three more hits after the second inning. The Bears claimed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after Bernice Masaniai crossed home plate after Katie Vickers reached base on a fielding miscue by the Buckeyes. Cal tacked on another run in the bottom of the third inning when Sanoe Kekahuna's RBI single to left field plated Erika Racklin, who reached base on an error by the Ohio State shortstop. The win helped Cal atone for last year's 10-7 loss to the Buckeyes on Feb. 24, 2007.

Flashback - Cal: 1, Kentucky: 0
The Bears earned a 6-1 win over Kentucky on Feb. 13, 2010. Cal scored two runs in both the second and third innings to overpower the Wildcats in Cal's second day at the Kajikawa Classic. Neither team produced any successful offense in the first, but the Bears' bats came alive in their half of the second. Freshman Jolene Henderson led off with a spark, homering to left field. Jace Williams singled to right and moved to second when Elia Reid made her way to first after being hit by a pitch. Thanks to a single up the middle by Frani Echavarria, Williams scored Cal's second and final run of the inning. Speed was the theme of the bottom of the third for Cal. Shannon Thomas and Valerie Arioto both singled to put themselves on base and then each stole a base to move them to third and second, respectively, when Williams doubled to right center to score Thomas and Arioto. After leaving a runner stranded in the fourth, Cal tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Arioto, who walked and advanced to second on a ground out by Henderson, scored thanks to a Lindsey Ziegenhirt double to left center. Ziegenhirt, who moved to third on an error at short then scored off a sacrifice fly courtesy of Williams for her third RBI of the game. Henderson sent the 'Cats down in order in the sixth but UK avoided the shutout in the final half inning of the game. Meagan Hull reached on a fielder's choice and came around to score thanks to a single to third by Destinee Mordecai. Henderson then struck out the next batter - Annie Rowlands - looking and got Molly Johnson to ground out to notch her second collegiate win in the circle.

Pac-10 Powerhouse
The Bears finished in a two-way tie with Arizona State for fourth place in the nation's strongest softball conference. Cal's 10 conference wins equal last season's total, which was the most for the team since 2006. This year is the 15th time the team has logged double-digit victories in Pac-10 play. This is the highest finish in the conference for the Bears since 2003, when they were third. Seven of the Pac-10's eight softball teams advanced to this season's NCAA Tournament.

Talk of the Polls
For each week this season, the Bears were recognized as one of the top-25 teams in the nation, being ranked in each of the national polls. Cal's highest ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll was 11, which it was given in the preseason poll and held the spot for the first two weeks of the season. The USA Today/NFCA poll named the Bears the No. 12 team in the preseason poll, and Cal spent two weeks (Feb. 16 and May 11) in the 12th spot.

Jamia Reid: All-Time Steals Leader
Only halfway through her sophomore season, Jamia Reid became the new California career leader in steals when she stole her 75th base on March 13 at home versus Cal State Fullerton, breaking a record that stood for 17 years. Tallying 47 steals in her freshman campaign (2009) and 41 as of April 28, 2010, for her current career total of 88, Reid well surpasses Keri Kropke (1990-93), who had 74.

The Future of the National Team
Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid have been placed on the 2010 USA Softball Women's Futures National Team. Arioto and Reid join 16 other athletes on the team, which includes both USA Softball rookies and those with national team experience and consists of athletes who currently play or have played at 13 schools in six Division I conferences. The Futures Team derives its name from the talent that could make up the women's senior national team in years to come. The squad will kick off the season with exhibition games against the senior national team in Canton and Ashland, Ohio from June 16-17. They will also compete against the national teams of Canada, Japan and the USA at the 2010 World Cup of Softball. That tournament will be held July 22-26, at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

Jolene for the Save
With her work against Santa Clara, freshman right hander Jolene Henderson earned her third save. This moved her into a five-way tie for third place in single-season saves. The Elk Grove, Calif., native needs two saves to mount her tally to five to tie for fourth on the career saves list.

Shannon's Stealing Her Way Into the Records
With her 28 steals thus far in 2010, Shannon Thomas is now tied for fourth place on the single-season stolen-base list. Also in fourth place are Erika Racklin and Keri Kropke. Thomas' 33 steals last season are third while Jamia Reid holds down the first and second spots with 27 in 2009 and 43 in 2010, respectively. On the career list, Thomas is also tied for fourth with 61 bags, which is a record also shared by Vicky Galindo.

Cal Softball Honors Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee
Before the then-No. 16/13 California softball team upset then No-3 Arizona, 8-0, on May 2, the Bears took time to give back to their community. Through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation, the Cal softball team has adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families. Prior to the game, Bebe, whose full name is Barbara, and her mother, Nancy, who graduated from Cal, and her father, Geoff, gathered in front of the 439 fans in attendance at Levine-Fricke Field. Geoff threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Due to the all-consuming treatments that Bebe has been receiving in Texas, this game was the first opportunity that she and her family had to meet the Bears and watch the team play. Following the 8-0 mercy win in six innings, the family met with the players on the field. The Bears signed their autographs, posed for a photo and gave their encouragement to Bebe and her family. In the future, the Cal softball team hopes to further their involvement with Bebe. FOJ matches a child in need of love, support and friendship with a college or high school sports team, and the child becomes an extension of the team. After the adoption is completed, the child becomes an extension of the team where a unique bond is formed between the team members, the child and the family.

Ziegenhirt Named April 19 Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week
Lindsey Ziegenhirt was instrumental in Cal's first conference series sweep at Arizona State, hitting four home runs. She finished the weekend with a 1.60 slugging percentage and six RBIs, making the freshman catcher the Muscle Milk California Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of April 19. Ziegenhirt homered to left, jump starting the Bears, who went on to win, 3-1, halting a three-game losing skid. In the middle match on April 17, Ziegenhirt smashed her 11th and 12th roundtrippers of the season to lead the Bears to an 8-0 win. On Sunday, April 18, after battling through seven pitches, Ziegenhirt homered to distance the Bears, 8-3, in the series finale that would end with an 11-3 Cal win.

Arioto to Play in Canada, Japan
Valerie Arioto was named one of 20 athletes who will represent the United States this summer at competitions and exhibitions in Canada and Japan. The athletes, who are members of the 2010 USA Softball women's national team and the Women's Future National Team, will participate in three events over two months. Arioto and the 19 other players will play at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship, from July 7-11, in Surrey, British Columbia. There will be several exhibition games held July 13 and 14 in Whitehorse, Yukon. In August, Arioto and her teammates will make a return to Japan for the Japan Cup from Aug. 3-9 in Sendai City, Japan. At last year's Japan Cup, Arioto was part of the USA Softball squad that earned the gold medal, sweeping through the tournament, winning all four of their games in the tournament. Arioto had an RBI in the first meeting against Japan, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, driving in the first run of the game. Arioto also hit a solo home run against Chinese Taipei.

Valerie Arioto Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
After she pitched two complete-game wins, Valerie Arioto was named the Pac-10 Conference's Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 9. In her superb outing in the circle in the 6-0 win against New Mexico State (March 5), 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. The Pleasanton, Calif., native led Cal to a 7-0 win over Portland State (March 6) 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. For Arioto this is also her first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor and the 62nd all-time for the Bears.

Ninemire Watch 2010: 1,000 Wins
Thanks to Cal's 6-0 win over Sacramento State on April 7, Cal head coach Diane Ninemire achieved an impressive career milestone with her 1,000th career win. Ninemire is the ninth coach in the history of Division I softball to notch 1,000 wins. Already the winningest coach - male or female - in all of Cal history for any sport, Ninemire and is in her 23rd year as the Bears' head coach. Ninemire has overseen countless players, including 25 All-America selections, 146 All-Pac-10 players, 44 academic All-Americans and 86 All-Region choices. Ninemire won her first game at the helm of the Bears on Feb. 15, 1988, with a 2-0 decision over Pacific in only her second game as a head coach. All of her head coaching experience has been at Cal, where she has registered 22 winning seasons and 22 consecutive trips to the postseason. Ninemire also led Cal to a Women's College World Series title in 2002, which was the first NCAA championship for any women's team in Cal history.

Drewrey Striking Out the Record Holders
Thanks to her 20 strikeouts halfway through the 2010 season, senior Marissa Drewrey has moved into the top-five of all-time strikeout leaders at Cal. With 644 career strikeouts to her credit, she displaced Whitney Floyd, who had 628. Coming into this year with 624 Ks, Drewrey earned her 629th strikeout in her first appearance of the season on February 13, 2010 against Michigan State to pass Floyd's 628.

In-Game Updates
For all home games, and for so much more, check out the Cal Softball Twitter page. In addition to in-game updates, 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 game 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 faced off against at least 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).

Bears on the National Team 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 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 25 straight NCAA Regional appearances to her credit.

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