No. 8 Cal Defeats Georgia Tech, 1-0, and No. 10 ASU, 6-1
March 8, 2003
The eighth-ranked California softball team (18-6) collected wins past Georgia Tech (1-0) and No. 10 Arizona State (6-1) Saturday afternoon at the NIST to advance to the championship game of the 11-team tournament. The Golden Bears have claimed the NIST title four times (1991, '98, '00 and '01) and will compete against No. 23 Oregon tomorrow at noon in hopes of their first tournament title of 2003.
Entering the second game of the day with 11 hits in the NIST, the Bears awoke their bats, smacking the ball hard while notching 12 hits in a powerful performance against their first Pac-10 opponent of the season.
Freshman Kristina Thorson tossed the win (5 hits, 1 run, 0 BB, 8 K's) improving her record to 5-2. ASU's freshman Ashley Werschky took the loss (5-2, 10 hits, 4 runs, 1 BB, 1 K) pitching 6.1 innings before Desiree Serrano closed the game (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 0 K).
Arizona State jumped out to an early lead, scoring its first run with a text-book first inning. Led off by a single, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to second, advancing the runner to third. With two outs, clean up hitter Phelan Wright dropped a single in right center for an early score of 1-0.
In the fourth, Cal answered back with two runs of its own, leading off the inning by catcher Courtney Scott's base hit to second base. Senior Veronica Nelson, who needs only four RBI's to become the Cal career RBI record holder, blasted a 3-0 count over the right field fence for her fifth home run of the year, to gain a 2-0 lead. The Bears chipped away two more hits and fielder choice's to load the bases, but were unable to score.
The Bears exploded again in the seventh, recording four runs off four hits. With the bases loaded, Eryn Manahan cracked a sacrifice fly line drive to left field, followed by a RBI base hit from Jessica Pamanian. Sophomore Kaleo Eldredge cleared the bases with a 2 RBI triple down the rightfield line, for an eventual final score of 6-1.
Gutsy pitching performances in the first game of the day led Cal and Georgia Tech into extra innings before a run would cross the plate. Sophomore Kelly Anderson dominated the Yellow Jackets, collecting a team season high 11 strikeouts. Anderson gave up just one hit -to the first batter of the game- while walking three to improve her record to 8-3. Jessica Sallinger kept the Bears' bats silent, allowing one hit, a base hit bunt by sophomore Kaleo Eldredge in the second, while giving 10 free passes - three alone to Nelson- and striking out seven.
In the top of the eighth, Georgia Tech started with a pinch runner on second base (international tie-breaker rule). The runner didn't stay there long as after the first pitch to the batter Scott gunned the ball across the diamond to pick her off at second and notch the first out of the inning. Anderson got the next two batters to ground out to third base, shutting down the Yellow Jackets' scoring opportunity.
In their second extra-inning game of the year, the Bears needed only one play to score the winning run. Manahan was placed at second base, as rightfielder Jessica Pamanian laid down a sacrifice bunt. Georgia Tech's third baseman threw the ball into rightfield, allowing Manahan to score from second and Cal to walk off the field with its fifth consecutive victory.
Twice Cal ended the inning with the bases loaded without scoring a run, leaving a total of 12 runners on base to the Yellow Jackets' three.
Softball Results at Twin Creeks ComplexSunnyvale, CAGAME 1Georgia Tech (13-10) 000 000 00 - 0 1 1California (17-6) 000 000 01 - 1 1 0Sallinger and Wood. Anderson and Scott.W - Anderson (8-3). L - Sallinger (6-7).
GAME 2California (18-6) 000 200 4 - 6 12 1Arizona St. (20-7) 100 000 0 - 1 5 0Thorson and Scott. Werschky, Serrano (7) and Garcia.W - Thorson (5-2). L - Werschky (5-2).HR- Nelson, Cal (5).