No. 4 Cal Defeats No. 23 Notre Dame (6-0), Falls to No. 17 Alabama (4-2)
Feb. 22, 2003
The fourth-ranked California softball team (11-3) split its games Saturday afternoon at the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic, held in Columbus, GA. The Golden Bears (11-2) dominated No. 23 Notre Dame, 6-0, after falling short to No. 17 Alabama, 4-2, earlier in the day.
Against the Irish (2-3), the Bears jumped out to an early lead, as senior Courtney Scott hit her first dinger of the season, her seventh career, bringing in Veronica Nelson who reached base on a walk.
Cal scored four insurance runs in the second, capitalizing off two Notre Dame errors and two Cal hits. With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Kaleo Eldredge reached base on a fielding error by the Irish right fielder, scoring both Kristen Morley and Lindsay James. Scott hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring pinch runner LeAnna Hoglen, increasing Cal's lead to 5-0. The Bears scored their final run of the game as Eldredge scored off a fielding error by the first baseman on junior Eryn Manahan's hit.
The Irish were able to only scatter three hits of Cal's freshman righty, Kristina Thorson, who increased her record to 2-0. Thorson did not give up a hit until the fifth inning, silencing Notre Dame's bats by striking out seven. Lenn Stenglein (0-2) took the loss for the Irish, allowing four hits and walking three.
In the first game of the day, the Bears fell short to Alabama (4-2), as the Crimson Tide scored its runs off one hit, two walks and three Cal errors. Kelly Anderson took the loss for Cal (5-2) as Erin Wright collected the win (6-3).
The Bears scattered six hits off Wright, scoring their two runs in the top of the first. Head coach Diane Ninemire altered Cal's regular line-up, sliding powerhouse Veronica Nelson from her normal clean-up position to batting her in the second spot. Ninemire's theory was proven strong, as Lindsay James led off the game being hit by the pitch. Nelson then cranked a 1-2 count over the fence, collecting her third home run of the year and giving Cal an early 2-0 lead.
The Crimson scored their first two runs in the fourth, off their only hit of the game and one Cal error. With runners on the corners resulting from a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a single, Alabama's Lacy Prejean reached on a fielder's choice, scoring the runner from third. With two outs and a runner on second and third, the Crimson pulled off a double steal, scoring its second run of the game.
In the fifth, Alabama increased the lead to 4-2 off two Cal throwing errors and one walk. In the seventh, Cal rallied with two outs, receiving base hits from Chelsea Spencer and Mikella Pedretti, but the Crimson defense got the third out to end the game.
Next up, California takes on Illinois State Sunday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. EST.
Softball Results at South Commons FieldColumbus, GAGAME 1California 200 000 0 - 2 6 3Alabama 000 220 x - 4 1 0Anderson and Scott. Wright and Prejean.W - Wright (6-3). L - Anderson (5-2).HR: Cal, Nelson (3).
Records:California: 10-3Alabama: 12-5
GAME 2Notre Dame 000 000 0 - 0 3 2California 240 000 x - 6 4 0Thorson and Scott. Stenglein and Lenn. W - Thorson (2-0). L - Stenglein (0-2).HR: Cal, Scott (1).
Records:Notre Dame: 2-3California: 11-3
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