No. 23 Cal Ready for a Pair of Pac-10 Showdowns with No. 1 Arizona State and No. 10 Arizona

March 27, 2008

Berkeley - The Pac-10 schedule certainly opens with marquee match-ups this weekend for the No. 23-ranked Golden Bear softball team, as No. 1 Arizona State and No. 10 Arizona roll into Berkeley for a weekend series at Levine-Fricke Field.

The Bears take on ASU on Friday at 3:00 p.m., before entertaining Arizona on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) and Sunday at Noon. The Bears took two-of-three from the Sun Devils last season (both wins came at home), but lost all three games to the Wildcats.

Cal is 31-10 on the season, and has won 13 of its last 14 games and 23 of its last 26 since Feb. 23. Earlier this week, Cal defeated UC Riverside on Tuesday by a score of 10-4 and Pacific on Wednesday by a count of 9-0. The Bears, who are undefeated at home, have not lost to a non-conference team at home since 2000. Cal plays one more non-conference opponent - UC Davis - on Apr. 30 at home.

The Sun Devils, Bears and Wildcats rank 1-2-3 in the conference in runs scored this season. A big reason for Cal's success is by jumping on its opponents early. The Bears, who have crossed home plate 243 times, have outscored their opposition, 88-17 in the first two innings of games played this year. In fact against Pacific on Wednesday, Cal scored four runs in the first and second innings.

All three teams also rank in the top-three in the conference in RBI. Freshman Sanoe Kekahuna is a big reason for that as she has accounted for 42 of Cal's total 212 RBI. In fact her 42 RBI are tops in the conference and No. 23 in the nation. Kekahuna is 16 RBI away from tying the school's single season RBI record held by Haley Woods.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense, Cal's pitching has been solid due in large part to sophomore Marissa Drewrey. The 6-3 product from Oakdale ranks fifth in the nation in wins (19) and ranks third in the conference in strikeouts, and fifth in ERA - 1.44. Drewrey, who tossed her first career no-hitter last week against St. Mary's, has seven shutouts this season, including a blanking of Northwestern on Mar. 22 and Pacific on Wednesday. In fact against Pacific, she only allowed one hit. The Golden Bear pitching staff has limited its opponents to a .196 batting average.

Arizona State, who is currently 36-2, has won 20 of its last 21 games, including a pair over Marshall on Mar. 25. Katie Burkhart leads the conference with the lowest ERA (0.51) and has posted a 17-2 record in the circle with a league-leading 239 strikeouts. Kaitlin Cochran and Jackie Vasquez not only rank 1-2 on the team in batting average, but also 1-2 in the conference as well.

Arizona is 23-8 on the season, and takes on Stanford on Friday before playing Cal. Taryne Mowatt is 12-6 in the circle, while Lauren Schutzler paces the team with a .417 batting average. Opponents are hitting just .194 against the Wildcats.

Cal concludes its conference slate at Arizona and Arizona State May 8-10.

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