No. 4 Softball Hosts Santa Clara Before Heading To No. 2 UCLA and No. 13 Washington
April 25, 2001
On The Horizon
This week, Cal hosts Santa Clara in a nonconference doubleheader on Wednesday, April 25, at 2 p.m., at Levine-Fricke Field. Friday, the Bears travel to Los Angeles to battle the No. 2 UCLA Bruins at 2 p.m., at Easton Field, and then head north to take on the No. 13 Washington Huskies on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., both games are at Husky Softball Stadium.
The Santa Clara Broncos come to Berkeley with an overall record of 14-31 and 1-5 in the West Coast Conference and are coming off a doubleheader sweep by San Jose State on Tuesday, 1-0 and 5-1. The Broncos bring a a team batting average of .193 and team ERA of 3.60 into Levine-Fricke Field. Sydney Wiginton leads SCU with a team-high 35 hits and .297 AVG, while Krista Barry leads the staff in the circle with an 8-14 record and 2.93 ERA.
Behind the Bruins
UCLA ended last weekend second in the Pac-10 with a 7-4 record, 44-4 overall and winning five of its last six. Before hosting Cal on Friday, the Bruins travel to U.C. Riverside for a doubleheader on Wednesday with the Highlanders. UCLA won two of three over the weekend, losing the opener, 2-1, to Oregon State and coming back to sweep a two-game series with Oregon, 4-3 and 6-3. The Bruins currently carry a .348 (second in the Pac-10) team batting average and a 0.91 (third in the Pac-10) team ERA. 2000 USA Olympian Stacey Nuveman leads the team and is third in the conference with a .427 batting average. Amanda Freed leads the Bruins with a 17-3 record and Pac-10 leading 0.51 ERA, but had arm troubles and was forced to sit out last weekend's series. UCLA swept the Bears in a two-game series earlier this year in Berkeley, 2-1 and 5-1 on March 31 and April 1, respectively and holds a 13-55 series record over Cal.
Washington enters the weekend with a 31-17 overall record and 5-6 in the Pac-10. The Huskies are fresh off a doubleheader sweep of Portland State on Tuesday, 6-0 and 12-0. The Huskies won two of three last weekend, taking Friday's game, 10-1 over Oregon in five innings and Saturday's game over Oregon State, 2-0. Sunday, Washington lost to OSU, 8-3, to fall into a three-way fourth-place tie at 5-6 in the Pac-10. UW is led offensively by Kelly Hauxhurst who has 56 hits and a .388 batting average. In the circle, Tia Bollinger achors the Husky staff with a 27-4 record and a 0.89 ERA. The Huskies defeated the Bears in their last meeting, 2-0 in Berkeley, and holds a 16-19 series record.
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 588-307 (.657%). 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.
A Look at What Transpired
Over the weekend, the Bears traveled to Arizona and came home with a victory over No. 8 Arizona State on Friday, 4-2, in eight innings, but lost two heartbreakers to No. 2 Arizona in identicle scores on Sunday, 2-1. Friday, the Bears and the Sun Devils took a 2-2 tie into the eighth inning, and after a leadoff walk by junior Candace Harper, sophomore Veronica Nelson quickly made the score 4-2 with her 16th homer on the year. Senior Nicole DiSalvio and junior Jocelyn Forest each went four innings for the Bears, with Forest earning the win to improve to 24-4 on the year. After waiting nearly an hour through a rain delay on Saturday, Cal and Arizona could not complete the first inning before the rain returned to postpone the completion until Sunday, resulting in a doubleheader versus the Wildcats. Sunday, with a 0-0 tie going into the seventh inning, sophomore Jen Deering homered to left-center field for her first roundtripper on year to give the Bears a 1-0 lead going into the seventh, but a single run in the bottom of the seventh and another in the eighth gave U of A the 2-1 final. Arizona took the early 2-0 lead in game two, and Cal was only able to score a single run in the six for the eventual 2-1 final. The Bears' pitching staff limited the Wildcats, who are leading the nation in hitting, to just four runs (only two earned) on 10 hits.
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 PanAm Qualifier in Maracay, Venenzuela 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. The Bears currently rank No. 4 for the third consecutive week, behind the new No. 1 and 2, Arizona and UCLA, respectively, and No. 3 Stanford.
Nelson Looks To Put Records Out of Reach
Nelson is showing no signs of letting up as the most prolific power hitter in school history. With her two-run game-winning blast to beat ASU on April 20, Nelson has extended both Cal's single season home run record (16), as well as the career home run record (30), and ranks ninth in the NCAA with .30 jacks per game. Furthermore, with another 65 freebies already in 2001, Nelson holds the Cal career walk record with 152, and ranks sixth in the NCAA career all-time walk record book, just 59 freebies away from the No. 1 spot held by Terra Beyster of Oregon State with 211 (1997-2000).
Pitching Pitching and More Pitching
With an 0.74 ERA, the Bears pitching staff ranks second in the Pac-10, just 0.05 points behind Arizona (0.69) for the No. 1 spot and third in the NCAA. Opponents are also hitting just .157 against Cal, good enough for the league's No. 3 spot. Forest and DiSalvio are the Bears' work horses in the circle, picking up a combined 326.1 of the 369.1 innings thus far in 2001. Forest leads the team with a 0.47 ERA, ranking her third in the conference, but not far behind is DiSalvio, who ranks fifth in the conference with an 0.74 ERA. Forest's dominance runs farther than just a low ERA, however, as she has run away as the leader in the Pac-10 with 304 strikeouts, averaging just under 11 K's per seven innings (10.96). Deering and sophomore Kourtney Davis also add support to pitching staff. Deering is 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA, while Davis is 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA.
Not a Bad Way To Start
The 1999 Cal squad set a school record by posting 51 wins on the year. In 2001, the Bears, with a 45-8 mark, are just six wins shy of tying that record,. Although it won 51 games in 1999, Cal began that season, just 34-16 after 50 games, but ended the season on a tear, going 17-6 in the last 23 games to finish 51-22. This season's team won its first 32 games of the year.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Scott has thrown out a Pac-10 leading 14 baserunners ... Forest's 764 career strikeouts ranks third on the Cal career strikeout list, behind Michele Granger (1640) and Leslie Partch (982) and her 304 Ks thus far is the most since Granger fanned 484 in 1993 ... Senior Pauline Dueï¿½as sits atop the Pac-10 with 17 sacrifice bunts ... As a team, the Bears rank fourth in the Pac-10 with a .279 batting average and third with a .975 fielding percentage ... Cal is outscoring its opponents 230 to 60 and is batting .325 with runners in scoring position.