Nelson's Seventh Inning Single Sends Cal to Victory
May 17, 2003
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The No. 2 seed California Golden Bears earned a dramatic 1-0 victory over the No. 1 seed DePaul Blue Demons Saturday afternoon (May 17) at the NCAA Softball Region 7 Championship held at the University of Michigan's Alumni Field. Solid defense by both teams allowed the game to remain scoreless for six innings, until California's Veronica Nelson came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and sent a ball deep into left field, scoring Kristen Morley from third to clinch the victory. With the shutout, California has now held its opponents scoreless for forty straight innings over a six game span.
California got its first great scoring chance in the bottom of the second inning. Nelson started things off with a walk and the pinch- runner, LeAnna Hoglen, was advanced to third base after a single by Kaleo Eldredge. DePaul pitcher Lindsay Chouinard escaped trouble, as Chelsea Spencer lined out and Jessica Pamanian struck out to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning, DePaul earned its first hit of the game off of a single by Dana Kenney. Kenney went on to reach second base after a groundout, but a bunt by Liz Bouck resulted in an out at first base and an end to the inning. After holding California without a hit in the bottom half of the inning, Chouinard doubled to left field, but Cal pitcher Kelly Anderson got out of the inning after Katy Kukman grounded out.
Two straight singles by Courtney Scott and Nelson led to a runner on second and third base for California. With two outs, Pamanian reached base on a fielder's choice but Nelson was tagged out at third base to prevent another scoring chance for the Golden Bears.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, another single by Scott and one by Haley Woods put runners on first and second for Cal. Eldredge's single to center field sent Scott towards home plate, but the throw was in time and catcher Gina Ramacci tagged Scott for the final out of the inning.
Chouinard collected two strikeouts in the seventh inning for DePaul and Bouck lined out for the third out. In the bottom of the seventh, Morley reached base on a walk for Cal and was advanced to second after a single by Vicky Galindo. A groundout by Lindsay James moved Morley to third and Galindo to second. Scott was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, setting up the game winning single by Nelson.
With the win, Anderson improves to 19-10, while Chouinard falls to 33-5.
DePaul (48-6-1) moves on to play No. 3 seed Michigan today (May 17) at 5 p.m., while California (44-18) will face the winner of that game at noon tomorrow (May 18).
California head coach Diane Ninemire
On the pitchers' dual ... 'It was a great pitchers' dual between Kelly (Anderson) and Lindsay Chouinard. It was just a game between two really good teams. I didn't expect it to be anything but a close game today. I was really proud of my team. Although we had opportunities almost every inning and didn't capitalize on them, we didn't give in. We kept fighting and believing we were going to get that key hit to score a run.'
On Veronica Nelson ... 'I feel really happy for Veronica. She's been struggling a little in this tournament, not hitting like she is capable of doing. For her to come up with that key drive on an off-speed pitch was a great thing for her mentality. It
On the battery of Kelly Anderson and Courtney Scott ... 'Kelly has been very consistent. She has been ahead in the count and has been able to keep batters off balance with her change up. You also need to give Courtney a lot of credit,she is such a general behind the plate, scooping balls out of the dirt, calling the game and setting the batters up for Kelly. The two of them have done an extremely outstanding job.'
On going into tomorrow having to lose twice to be eliminated ... 'We go into tomorrow, whether we face DePaul or Michigan, with the same mental attitude. We will take it one game at a time and we know we are going to be in for a great game. Again, we are going to have to come up with out best game and get the key hits we've had in the past few games.'
California first baseman Veronica Nelson
On the game ... 'Throughout the game each team had people on base and had an opportunity to get in. It was a little frustrating at times but when you're facing great pitchers like (Lindsay) Chouinard and Kelly (Anderson) you're going to have those situations. Fortunately for us, our pitcher held us in the game and allowed us to get a run first.'
On the pitch she hit for the game-winning RBI ... 'In my first four at bats today the first pitch was a change up. Going up in the seventh, I decided that I was going to swing at the first pitch because I knew what was going to be coming. I just focused on staying back and driving the ball.'
On preparing for tomorrow ... 'We're going to come out and give it our all to try to end it in one game. We know both Michigan and DePaul are going to battle. We're lucky enough to be in the position where they are going to have to beat us twice.'
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