No. 6 Bears Host SJSU, Travel to Washington and UCLA
April 9, 2002
BERKELEY - WHATS ON TAP: California (37-12, 4-2 Pac-10) hosts a rare midweek nonconference game Wednesday as it faces San Jose State at 2 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field. The Golden Bears embark on another Pac-10 road trip following that game as they make a Pacific Coast swing with a Friday matchup against No. 10 Washington and a two-game set with No. 2 UCLA.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: For the second straight week, Cal took two of three games from conference opponents. Last Friday, the Bears suffered a disappointing setback when they dropped a contest to No. 14 Oregon State, 3-2. Cal took a 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning, but the Beavers Steph Adams smashed a three-run homer to lift her team to its fourth conference win of the season. The Bears bounced back by defeating Oregon 3-2 and 7-0 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The shutout of the Ducks was the most lopsided blanking of a conference opponent since Cal defeated Washington, 7-0 April 25, 1999.
JUMP START: Credit the schedule makers or just a fast start by the Bears, but Cal's league record (4-2) is the best conference start since 1996 when the program jumped out to a 7-1 record. The Bears have faced No. 3 Stanford three times, No. 14 Oregon State once and Oregon twice. There is no break for Cal, however as top 10 teams UCLA (No. 2) and Washington (No. 10) await Cal along with the Arizona schools the following week. Nevertheless, a good start is an indicator of postseason success for the Bears, as history can attest. The 1996 team tied for 5th in the College World Series.
BEARS GET DEFENSIVE: The Cal defense is a big part of its success this season. The Bears boast a conference-best .982 fielding percentage and have committed just 24 errors all season. Opponents have a .958 percentage with 64 miscues. Highlighting the defense is the infield where two players, with 100 or more chances, have a .994 FLD% or better. Junior Courtney Scott has shot down 16 of 31 would-be base stealers and has a .998 FLD%. Freshman Jessica Pamanian has had 154 chances and has committed just one error all season (.994 FLD%).
SCOUTING SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans (16-32, 4-8 WAC) took Cal to the brink in their last meeting, March 14 at the Capital Classic. SJSU had a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning, but the Bears rallied to score a run, knotting the game. In extra innings, Cal overwhelmed the Spartans with five-run outburst to win 6-1. Becca Baldridge leads SJSU with a .359 batting average. Veronica Ramos is the only other player on the roster with a .300-plus average at .315. Pitchers Carol Forbes (12-14) heads the staff with a 2.53 ERA.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The 10th-ranked Huskies (32-12, 1-4 Pac-10) suffered a three game sweep by the Arizona schools last weekend. But UW has a solid lineup with two players batting .400 or better. Jaime Clark (.428, 59H 10 2B, 14 HR, 57 RBI, .819 SLG), Rita Roach (.409, 47H, 6 2B) and Kristen Rivera (.375, 48H, 9 2B, 10HR, 41RBI) supply the offensive punch. In the circle, the Huskies have a two-headed monster in Tia Bollinger (14-6, 1.22 ERA, 120.1 IP, 123 SO) and Ashley Boek (12-2, 1.24 ERA, 102.1 IP, 94 SO). UW leads the all-time series 17-20, but the Bears won the last meeting 6-3, April 29.
SCOUTING UCLA: The second-ranked Bruins (34-6, 2-3 Pac-10) lost two of three games from the Arizona schools last weekend, but capped off the series with a thrilling come-from-behind win over top-ranked Arizona, 6-5. Stacey Nuveman (.543, 57H, 10 2B, 11HR, 42RBI, 1.010 SLG) smashed two solo homers to lead UCLA to its second conference win of the season. Natasha Watley is the other part of the one-two hitting combo as she bats .521 with a team-leading and conference-best 75 hits. In the circle, head coach Sue Enquist has the option of throwing Keira Goerl (17-4, 0.59 ERA, 12 SHO, 131.0 IP, 175 K) or Amanda Freed (15-2, 0.82 ERA, 111.0 IP, 115 K) at the opponent. The Bruins' pitching staff leads the conference with an 0.72 ERA. UCLA leads the all-time series, 56-13.