No. 7 California Travels to Hawaii Chevron Invitational
March 19, 2002
WHATS ON TAP: Seventh-ranked California (29-9) embarks on its last tournament trip of the 2002 season. The Golden Bears travel to the state of Hawaii to take part in the Chevron Invitational hosted by the University of Hawaii. Also participating in the six-team tournament are Hoftra, Northwestern, Hawaii and a split squad from Japan representing Nippon Sports Science University (Nittaidai).
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Cal lost in the finals of the Sacramento Capital Classic last week as No. 5 Nebraska downed the Bears, 4-3, in extra-innings. The game featured five homeruns including back-to-back-to-back round-trippers by the Huskers and back-to-back shots by Cal. The Bears were awarded a bye in the first round of bracket competition after going undefeated in round robin play in pool A. In the quarterfinals, Cal defeated host, Sacramento State, 6-2, and dispatched No. 25 Wisconsin, 1-0, in the semis, to face the fifth-ranked Huskers. The Bears are now 2-6 against ranked opponents.
BEARS GET DEFENSIVE: Pitching has been a steady component of Cal's defense, considering the staff ERA is hovering around a 1.23. An even brighter spot for the Bears has been the support the defense behind the pitching staff. Two of the outfielders have a 1.000 fielding percentage. The middle infield of freshman shortstop Chelsea Spencer (.985) and second baseman Jessica Pamanian (.992) have robbed many hitters of sure base hits. Senior Candace Harper, who solidifies the hot corner, owns a fielding percentage of .975. Behind the plate, veteran catcher Courtney Scott has a .997 fielding percentage and has gunned down base runners at steady rate.
PAMANIAN AT FEVER PITCH: Freshman second baseman Jessica Pamanian started off the season struggling at the plate. A steady hand on defense, Pamanian was hitting a dismal .188 in her first 18 collegiate games. Fortunately, all that seems to be in the past for the Milpitas native. A grand slam against Illinois, Feb. 24, seemed to be the turning point in Pamanian's season. Since the 8-0 win against the Illini, she is hitting .397, with 23 hits and 17 RBI. In her last 10 games, including an impressive 11-for-24 performance at the Capital Classic, she is batting .458.
POWER SURGE: After hitting 10 homers in the first 31 games, the Bears pounded the ball for six homeruns in just seven games. Junior All-American Veronica Nelson, the NCAA career walk leader, showed opponents why its unwise to pitch to the slugger. She smacked three out of the park last weekend in Sacramento. Harper and freshman Jessica Vernaglia hit their third and second homers, respectively, and Spencer blasted her first collegiate homerun against Wisconsin.
THE 300 CLUB: Five players are currently batting over .300. Freshman Kaleo Eldredge leads the charge with a .357 batting average. Scott follows with a .340 average, while Harper is at .326. Nelson, who has walked 53 times this year, is hitting just two-hundreths of a point behind her at .324. Pamanian rounds out the group with a .302 batting average.
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