No. 7 California Visits Fullerton Worth Invitational

Feb. 25, 2002


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WHATS ON TAP: Winners of 11 straight, the No. 7 Golden Bears (15-4) travel down south to take part in the Worth Invitational hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The tournament, which kicks off Friday morning, pits California against six opponents, two on each day. The Bears open up with Oklahoma State, followed by San Diego State. On Saturday, Cal goes up against Ohio State and the host of the tournament - No. 14 Cal State Fullerton. The tournament concludes Sunday with Minnesota and Portland State.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Cal swept the UCSB 'Softball by the Beach' Invitational, going 5-0 last weekend. It wasn't an easy task, however. The Bears defeated Santa Clara (7-2), UCSB (3-1) and Illinois (8-0) with ease, but BYU and Cal Poly gave Cal a run for its money. Both games went into extra innings. Incidentally, it was senior pitcher Jocelyn Forest (5-3), who kept the team in both games with superb outings, combining for 29 strikeouts in the two games. The Bears did come through in the clutch as they prevailed, defeating BYU, 1-0, Friday morning and beating Cal Poly, 4-1, on the strength of Veronica Nelson's, three-run home run, Saturday evening. The weekend was capped off by freshman Cassie Bobrow's perfect game on Sunday, as Cal shutout Illinois, 8-0, in a game shortened due to the mercy rule.

ELEVEN HEAVEN: The Bears are currently riding an 11-game winning streak in a span of two weeks and two tournaments. After starting the season off with a 4-4 record, including a disappointing 2-3 showing at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Cal regrouped and has won the last to tournaments. Among the victims during the Bears' hot streak were then-No. 5 LSU, BYU - twice - and a romp of Illinois. Cal is batting .296 during this streak, and has racked of 60 runs during that span.

FOREST FIRE: Although senior pitcher Jocelyn Forest hasn't had much run support this season, you might say she likes to get things done herself. Last weekend, in both her outings, the Bears failed to give her any run support, forcing Cal to go to extra innings against BYU and Cal Poly. Forest struck out 14 and 15 batters, respectively. The latter mark was a season-high. She allowed just one earned run in 16 innings and walked just five batters. Her season-to-date ERA is 1.30 in 48.1 innings.

PERFECT BOBROW: Bobrow is perfect in many ways. She has a perfect season thus far at 4-0. Her 0.00 ERA in 25.0 innings is another flawless mark in the early season. And last but not least, Bobrow liked perfection so much, she threw a game of it last Sunday, vs. Illinois. Bobrow threw only the 11th perfect game in Cal history, en route to defeating Fighting Illini, 8-0.

MAKING THE MOST OF LITTLE: Juniors Veronica Nelson and Mikella Pedretti have made the most of their at-bats. For Nelson, her imposing ability to hit for power has forced many pitchers to walk her. But when she has had an opportunity to make contact, she's made opponents pay dearly. In 60 plate appearances, she's walked 30 times, but has eight hits in 30 at-bats, including a team-leading three homeruns. At the UCSB Invitational, Nelson went 4-for-9 with two home runs and four RBI. Pedretti, also capitalized on her opportunities, collecting a season-high two hits and three RBI against Santa Clara last Friday. She went 3-for-7 on the weekend and now bats .286, which is fifth best on the squad.

THE 300 CLUB: Three out of the four are upperclassmen who are experienced in the art of playing grueling weekend tournaments. The fourth is a freshman, who may not realize the extent of her accomplishments thus far this season. Senior Candace Harper (.397), juniors Kristen Morley (.319) and Courtney Scott (.340) and freshman Kaleo Eldredge (.381) have maintained a steady average above the .300 plateau after 19 games. Harper and Eldredge have even flirted with a .400 batting average throughout the course of the season.

HARPER HYPE: Harper had just one RBI in the first eight games, but in the last two weeks, the 2001 Pac-10 honorable mention has exploded offensively. She had 12 RBI in the last 11 games and went 18-for-39 (.462). Harper is on an 11-game hitting streak, which coincides with the teams 11 consecutive wins.

SCOTT ROUNDS THEM UP: Hitting behind four players, who each have an on-base percentages of .407 or better, junior catcher Courtney Scott has had many opportunities to bring in runners. Currently, she leads the team with 14 RBI. In addition, Scott doesn't force the issue at the plate, walking 14 times to give the next hitter a chance to give Cal runs. With runners in scoring position, she's hitting .304, including two sacrifice RBI.

SCOUTING THE TOURNAMENT FIELD: No. 14 Cal State Fullerton is the only ranked team that the Bears face this weekend. Cal's first opponent of the tournament will be Oklahoma State (15-2), which reeled off 12 consecutive wins to start the season before dropping games to Arizona State and Iowa. Juniors Ryan Realmuto and Stephanie Hodges, and sophomore Jade Lindly all bat over .400 for the Cowgirls. Junior pitcher Lauren Bay leads the staff with a 1.34 ERA and a 6-1 record.A veteran San Diego State (9-9-1) squad is the Bears' second opponent on the docket Friday. Senior Sarah Hershman leads the team in hitting with a .356 batting average. Senior Kellie Nordhagen bats .353 and leads the team with 18 hits in 2002. Senior Tiffany Gaudy has 11 RBI in 16 games, which is a team-high. Sophomore Jessi Green has a 3-1 record this year and carries a 1.78 ERA in seven appearances.On Saturday, Ohio State and the host Titans fill Cal's schedule. The Buckeyes (9-1) are led by speedster Jennifer Link, who leads the team in batting with a .467 average, and has nine stolen bases to her credit. Senior Stacy Roth is hitting .407 and has driven in 11 runs for the team lead. Sophomore pitcher Wendy Allen has a 0.34 ERA and a 3-1 record in five appearances. The Titans (8-8) visit No. 1 UCLA in a double header Wednesday before hosting the Worth Invitational. Monica Lucatero leads Fullerton this season on offense with a .359 batting average. Amanda Hockett leads the team in homers with three and in RBI with 11. Jody Cox has 15 hits this year in 50 at-bats for an average of .300. Pitcher Gina Oaks has a 0.99 ERA and a 4-2 record in eight appearances inside the circle.On the final day of competition, the Bears face another Big Ten foe in Minnesota and finish off with a rematch against Portland State. The Golden Gophers (11-1) boast five players that are batting above the .350 plateau. Senior Tammi Hays is hitting .421. Sophomore pitcher Piper Marten, the ace of the staff, has an 8-0 record with an ERA of 0.47 and 67 strikeouts in 45 innings. Cal faced the Vikings (1-4) at the UNLV Softball Classic, shutting out Portland State by an 8-0 score, Feb. 17. Freshman Kara Ray leads the Vikings with a .357 batting average.

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