Bears Defeat Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, to Advance to Fourth Consecutive World Series
May 19, 2002
FRESNO -- With senior Jocelyn Forest throwing her fourth complete game in as many days, the Cal softball team advanced to its fourth consecutive Women's College World Series with a 1-0 shutout of Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Seed 4 Regional final Sunday afternoon.
Cal, the third seed in the regional, swept through all four games in Fresno to go undefeated in regional competition for the first time ever. The Bears beat host Fresno State (2-1), Stanford (1-0) and Cal State Fullerton twice (4-2, 1-0).
Considered by many as the toughest region with five of the six teams ranked among the top 14 teams in the nation, the Golden Bears (52-19) prevailed for their seventh overall trip to the WCWS.
'This was such a competitive regional,' said California head coach Diane Ninemire. 'It was action packed and stressful at times.'
Forest, who was voted the regional's Most Outstanding Player, allowed just three runs in her four starts. Sunday against CSUF (53-13), she tossed a four-hitter and retired the final 12 Titan batters of the game.
Cal scored the game's only run in the top of the third inning. Freshman Kristen Bayless led off the frame with a walk, then moved to second base when she beat the throw on Kaleo Eldredge's ground ball. Kristen Morley walked to load the bases, bringing junior first baseman Veronica Nelson to the plate. Nelson hit a rocket towards shortstop, but all runners were safe on the infield hit, which brought Bayless in from third.
'I was really excited because I knew I was going to get pitched to,' said Nelson, who broke the NCAA single season walk record this weekend. 'I just had to remind myself to be patient.'
Fullerton's biggest threat came in the bottom of the first inning when the Titans loaded the bases with one out. However, Forest forced Yasmin Mossadeghi to pop out and then struck out Amy LaRocque.
'You really have to throw hard and do what you've got to do to win,' said Forest, who struck out six batters in her 31st complete game of the season. 'At the end of the game, we just went with the heat. We weren't going to mess around.'
'The last three innings were amazing,' said catcher Courtney Scott. 'They were three of the best innings I've seen Jocelyn pitch.'
In addition to Forest, two other Bears were voted to the all-regional tournament team - Nelson and senior third baseman Candace Harper. Forest and Harper become the first Cal players to play in the WCWS all four seasons with the Bears.
With the win, Cal inherits the No. 4 seed in the WCWS and will face No. 5 Oklahoma in the first round Thursday at Don E. Porter Stadium in Oklahoma City.