No. 4 Softball Battles No. 3 Stanford In Three-Game Series
April 12, 2001
On The Horizon
This weekend, Cal heads across the Bay for a Pac-10 battle versus the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal (36-4-1, 5-1 Pac-10) on Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday, the Cardinal come to Berkeley for a doubleheader to begin at 1 p.m. Game one on Saturday will be featured on taped delay locally on Fox Sports Bay Area at 4 p.m. Check local listings for areas outside of the Bay Area.
Scouting the Cardinal
The Cardinal find themselves in a first-place tie atop the Pac-10 with a 5-1 record, 36-4-1 overall. Prior to this weekends match-up versus Cal, Stanford split a doubleheader with Fresno State on Tuesday, 2-0 and 0-1, respectively. Thus far, the Cardinal is led by the 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year Jessica Mendoza who carries a .439 batting average and Sarah Beeson who has a .431 AVG, good enough for fourth and seventh in the conference, respectively. As a team, Stanford ranks fifth in the conference with a .278 batting average. In the circle, Dana Sorenson anchors the Stanford pitching staff, holding a Pac-10 leading 0.20 ERA and a 20-1 record. The Cardinal fall fourth in the conference with an 0.83 team ERA.
Head Coach Diane Ninemire
Diane Ninemire, the winningest softball coach in Golden Bear history, is in her 14th year as head coach at Cal with a school and career record of 585-303. The 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Ninemire has led the Bears to 13 NCAA Tournament berths and four College World Series appearances (1992, '96, '99, 2000). She is assisted by John Reeves, who is in his eighth season, and Kim Maher, who is in her second.
What A Week It Was
After losing to the rain last Friday in a game that was supposed to feature the No. 16 Oregon State Beavers, the Bears defeated the Oregon Ducks on Saturday and Sunday, 4-0 and 9-4, respectively. Junior Jocelyn Forest picked up her 21st win in 2001 on Saturday, pitching seven strong innings, allowing just two hits while striking out 15 and walking only one. Senior Paige Bowie led the offensive attack, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Sunday, the offense came to life, scoring nine runs on 10 hits. Sophomore Kristen Morley, junior Candace Harper and sophomore Veronica Nelson each had two hits apiece, with Morley and Harper scoring two runs each and Nelson driving in three runs, including her 14th homer on the year. Senior Nicole DiSalvio pitched six innings for her 15th win on the year with only one loss. DiSalvio allowed four runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and only two walks. Sophomore Jen Deering pitched a hitless seventh inning including a strikeout. Wednesday, the Bears traveled to the state's capital for a nonconference doubleheader versus the Sacramento State Hornets. Cal took game one, 5-1, and then won the night cap, 9-1. Sophomore Courtney Scott led the Bears with six hits on the day (6-for-9), including her eighth double on the year (team high). Forest earned the win in game one, pitching five strong innings of one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts. Deering pitched the final two innigs in relief, allowing one run on two hits while striking out three. DiSalvio pitched a one -run, five-hitter throught six innings in game two, giving way to Deering in the seventh who got the final three outs in successive fashion. Cal had a combined 24 hits in both games at Sac. St, 10 in game one and 14 in game two.
Forest earned her second Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor after going a perfect 3-0 at the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic, including her first career perfect game, March 23-25. Forest allowed no earned runs while striking out 30 opposing batters in 18 innings. Forest earned the same honor after going 5-0 with two saves at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, March. 9-11. A week later, senior Pauline Dueï¿½as earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, the first such honor in her career. Dueï¿½as earned the distinction after she batted .375 (6-for-16) at the Capital Classic in Sacramento, CA, with two doubles, six runs and six RBI, March 15-18.
Bears Receive National Exposure
The Bears are finally getting the recognition that they deserve. Forest and Nelson have been selected by the Amateur Softball Association as two of fifty-one of the nation's finest women's fast pitch softball players to participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp, May 30-June 3 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. USA Softball will select two 16-player teams to represent the U.S. in international competitions such as the U.S. Cup in Honolulu, the Canada Cup in Vancouver and the Pan Am Qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela during the 2001 season.
Bears Continue in the Top 10
After finishing the 2000 season with a seventh-place finish at the College Wold Series and ranked seventh in the final USA Today/NFCA Poll, the Bears began the 2001 season ranked seventh in the preseason poll. With 32 consecutive wins to begin the 2001 schedule, Cal jumped to No 5 in the Feb. 21 poll, and a week later found itself ranked fourth in the Feb. 28 poll and again on March 7. The Bears then rose to No. 3 in the March 14 poll, and stayed there for three consecutive weeks. With a Pac-10 season opening sweep to Washington (once) and UCLA (twice), the Bears dropped to fifth in the April 4 poll. Last weekend, Cal swept Oregon and now finds itself ranked fourth: behind UCLA (1), Arizona (2) and Stanford (3).
Nelson Approaching Some Records and Surpassing Others
Nelson, a sophomre from Oakland, CA, ended her senior season at Bishop O'Dowd High School as an all-state selection after batting .710. Her freshman season at Berkeley was no let down. Nelson batter .317 in 2000, however that was not the most impressive of her stats, as she belted 14 homers, setting the Cal season home run record, and walking 87 times, shattering the NCAA season walk record. This season, Nelson has another 14 homers, giving her 28 in her young career, and tying her for the Cal career home run mark with Melanie McCart (1994-97). With another 58 freebies already in 2001, Nelson holds the Cal career walk record with 145, and ranks sixth in the NCAA career all-time walk record book, just 66 free bases away from the No. 1 spot held by Terra Beyster of Oregon State with 211 (1997-2000).
Offense ImprovesCal ended the 2000 campaign with a team batting average of .261 and an opponents batting of .219. This year, both stats are taking a turn for the best. Thus far, the Bears are batting .290 overall, .294 against nonconference foes and .261 since battling conference opponents. The opposition, however, is batting just .155 overall, while nonconference opponents are batting just .142 and the Pac-10 comes in with a .248 AVG against Cal pitching. The Bears are jumping out with the lead more frequently than their opponents, also, scoring 63 runs in the first two innings combined, compared to just 11 runs scored by the opponent in the first two frames. Overall, Cal is outscoring its opponents by a 217 to 44 margin.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Scott has thrown out a Pac-10 leading 13 baserunners ... From the fourth inning versus Nebraska on Feb. 17, until the third inning versus Purdue on March 15, Forest had an 88 consecutive scoreless inning streak, placing her sixth on the NCAA all-time record book for consecutive scoreless innings pitched ... Furthermore, Forest's 729 career strikeouts ranks third on the Cal career strikeout list, 911 behind Michele Granger's 1640 in first place and 153 behind Leslie Partch's 982 in second place ... Since joining the Bears after competing on the Cal basketball team, Deering is 3-0 from the circle with a 1.36 ERA in 25.2 innings, including 30 strikeouts ... Dueï¿½as is tied with ASU's Nichole Thompson for the Pac-10 lead with 14 sacrifice bunts ... Manahan ranks eighth in the conference with 51 hits ... As a team, the Bears rank fourth in the Pac-10 with a .290 batting average, and second behind Arizona with a 0.75 earned run average and .978 fielding percentage.