No. 2 Cal Falls to Arizona State, 2-1; still earns share of Pac-10 title

May 14, 2005

BERKELEY - First baseman Sharee Zaleski belted a two-run homer and Katie Burkhart held Cal to three hits as Arizona State's 2-1 victory Saturday at Levine-Fricke Field against the No. 2 California softball team kept the Bears from an outright Pac-10 Conference title.

Cal (46-11 overall, 13-7 Pac-10) entered the day tied atop the conference standings with No. 4 Stanford and No. 6 Oregon State and needed a win and losses by the Cardinal and Beavers to secure the league pennant. Stanford fell to No. 3 Arizona, 3-2, and No. 12 UCLA defeated Oregon State, 5-1, but the Bears couldn't overcome Zaleski's second-inning blast.

Cal did earn its first Pac-10 title since 1987, although the room at the top is a little crowded. The Bears, OSU and Stanford were relegated into a four-way, first-place tie with Arizona - the largest split of the title in Pac-10 history. Although all four teams are expected to qualify for the NCAA Tournament when bids are handed out Sunday, Oregon State, by way of the conference's tie-breaking rules, earns the automatic bid.

Saturday, the last-place Sun Devils (29-24, 4-17) received a fielder's choice from second baseman Jen McCard and, with two in the second, Zaleski's team-leading 11th home run of the year.

The Bears struck back an inning later on right fielder Alex Sutton's first career homer, a towering shot to right center.

Cal, which stranded five runners in scoring position, squandered numerous chances to either tie the game or take the lead:

 In the fifth, a two-out sacrifice fly from third baseman Vicky Galindo advanced left fielder Kristen Bayless to third and Sutton to second. Shortstop Chelsea Spencer then flew out to end the inning.

 An inning later, back-to-back groundouts advanced Erika Racklin, pinch running for catcher Haley Woods who led off the inning with a single, to third. First baseman Julie Meyer then popped out to Zaleski to end the threat.

 Galindo struck out to end the game, leaving pinch runner Jessica Vernaglia on third.

Following Zaleski's homer, Cal starter Kelly Anderson yielded just one hit over the final five and one-third innings and didn't allow a runner past first base.

The Bears will find out where and against whom they begin postseason play when the 64-team Division I NCAA Tournament field is unveiled on ESPNews at 4:30 p.m., May 15.

Softball ResultLevine-Fricke Field; Berkeley, Calif.May 14, 2005

Arizona State 020 000 0 - 2 2 1California 001 000 0 - 1 3 0Burkhart and Knabe; Anderson and WoodsW - Burkhart (11-13); L - Anderson (24-7)HR - Zaleski (11), Sutton (1)Records:Cal: 46-11 (13-7 Pac-10)ASU: 29-24 (4-17 Pac-10)

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