No. 8 California Hosts No. 6 ASU and No. 1 Arizona
April 15, 2002
WHATS ON TAP: Six of the Golden Bears (39-14, 5-4 Pac-10) next eight games are at home Levine-Fricke Field. All six contests in Berkeley are against conference opponents, while the two away games are part of a double header at St. Mary's, April 24. Arizona State comes in Friday at 2 p.m. for one game while top-ranked Arizona marches in for two-game set Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The weekend started off well with California claiming one game, 4-1, from No. 10 Washington last Friday afternoon. The Bears won behind a brilliant pitching performance from senior Jocelyn Forest, who was just one hit away from her fourth career no-hitter. UW's Jaime Clark golfed a lowball pitch over the centerfield wall to ruin Forest's no-hitter and shutout bid with no outs in the seventh inning. Junior Veronica Nelson gave Cal an offensive lift with a two-run shot over the left field fence. On Saturday and Sunday, No. 2 UCLA blanked the Bears 3-0 and 1-0, respectively. Junior Jen Deering threw a respectable game Saturday, but the Bruins' ace Keira Goerl shut down the Bears' offense for most of the contest. Sunday's game was a 10-inning marathon that involved an intense pitching battle between Forest and UCLA's Amanda Freed. Forest struck out 11 batters, the most anyone has struck out the Bruins this year. Natasha Watley singled in Kasey Hiraiwa from second for the game-winner.
FOREST REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE: 2001 All-American Jocelyn Forest has many school records to her credit and on her four-year journey in Berkeley, she has bumped off quite a few Cal players off the Top Five career list in various pitching categories. Recently, Forest (1097 K) overtook Leslie Partch (982 K) for second place all-time for career strikeouts. Against Washington Friday, she matched Partch again for second place, this time for most wins all-time at Cal with 92. Michele Granger is the leader in both categories with 119 wins and 1640 strikeouts.
BEARS LOOKING TO STAY ABOVE .500: The Pac-10 is arguably the toughest softball conference in the country. To stay above .500 in league-play is a testament of a high level of play. A good illustration of this is Cal's performance in conference the last two years. The Bears won six game each year, dropping 14 games in 2001 and 15 games in 2000. Yet, the team made the Women's College World Series both years and tied for fifth and seventh place overall, respectively. This season, nearing the half way point of the season, Cal is a game over .500 and with a duplicate performance of the first half of conference play, could wind up with a high finish in the Pac-10. The feat hasn't been accomplished since 1996 when the team recorded a 14-12 mark and a fourth place finish in conference.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The sixth-ranked Sun Devils (35-10, 5-3 Pac-10) are led by three players that are hitting above or near the .400 plateau. Phelan Wright (.443, 54 H, 13 2B, 6 HR, 31 RBI), Kara Brun (.419, 57 H, 10 2B, 6 HR, 44 RBI) and Nichole Thompson (.393 53 H, 2 3B, 11 SB). In the circle, Erica Beach has started 25 games, going 22-7 with a 1.14 ERA. Beach is also dangerous at the plate as she's fourth on the squad in batting with a .322 average and six homers. Pitchers Kristen Voak and Kristen Swetel may also see action. The Bears lead the all-time series, 41-25.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: When talking about the top-ranked Wildcats (38-5, 7-1 Pac-10), one name comes to mind - Jennie Finch. The senior All-American has a 0.68 ERA, the top mark in the conference and recently had a record 60 game-winning streak snapped against UCLA, April 7. On offense, Arizona boasts four hitters that have double-digit homerun tallies. Lovieanne Jung (.421, 53 H, 33 RBI .810 SLG) has 13 homers, Leneah Manuma (.368, 39 H, 59 RBI, .877 SLG) has 17, Finch (.345, 41H, 45 RBI, 689 SLG), who also hits for the team, has 12 and Jackie Coburn (.292, 35 H, 37 RBI) totals 10 along with Jenny Gladding (.288, 30 hits, 37 RBI, .606 SLG).