No. 2 Softball Drops Pac-10 Opener To Cal, 2-0.

March 28, 2003

BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 2-ranked Washington softball team (31-3-1) lost its Pac-10 opener to No. 7 California on Friday, 2-0. It marked the fifth time the Huskies have lost their conference debut since the program was introduced in 1993.

The Bears threatened in the bottom of the first inning, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Kaleo Eldredge then singled a one-hopper to right fielder Aimee Minor (San Jacinto, Calif.) who came up throwing home. Catcher Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.) blocked the plate and put the tag on Vickey Galindo who attempted to score from second base to get UW out of the inning.

The game remained scoreless through four and a half innings as Washington's Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Cal's Kristina Thorson were locked in a pitchers' dual. Neither team was able to move a runner beyond second base, despite Thorson walking four batters.

The Huskies challenged in the top of the fifth when Sarah Hyatt (Sedro-Woolley, Wash.) led off with UW's first hit of the game with a double to the left centerfield wall. Pinch runner Traci Tawney (Falls City, Wash.) moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Amy Hanson (Mount Vernon, Wash.) but Washington could not score her. Thorson struck out the next batter and Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) lined out to the third baseman to end the inning.

The Bears put the first run of the ballgame on the board in the bottom half of the inning, manufacturing a run with just one hit. Eryn Manahan led off the inning with a double to right centerfield and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Lindsay James then hit a bloop single that fell in no-man's land behind second base, despite a tremendous effort by shortstop Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) who laid out for the ball.

Cal added an insurance run in the sixth on two hits. Veronica Nelson led off the frame with a single to centerfield and was replaced at first base by pinch runner LeAnna Hoglen. A Bear ground out to Bollinger and a passed ball moved Hoglen to third base. Chelsea Spencer then floated a single into shallow centerfield to score Hoglen and give Cal the 2-0 lead.

Washington put a rally together in the sixth with a runner on third after a hit by pitch, wild pitch and Husky ground out. Thorson got herself out of the jam, freezing the next batter on strikes for the third out. UW made its final attempt at a comeback in the seventh with hits by Hanson and Roach, but it wasn't enough as the Huskies couldn't advance the runner home.

Bollinger (17-2) earned the tough loss as she scattered six hits and struck out two batters. Thorson (10-3) picked up the win as she held Washington to three hits, its second-lowest hit total of the season, while striking out five. The Huskies stranded nine runners on base, while Cal marooned six.

UW looks to rebound with a weekend series at Stanford on Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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