No. 9 California Travels to the CCC in Palm Springs

Feb. 19, 2009

BERKELEY - Looking to keep its momentum after an 11-0 win over Santa Clara on Wednesday, the No. 9-ranked Cal softball team returns to Palm Springs for the Cathedral City Classic, Feb. 20-22. The Bears (8-1) square off against Ole Miss (10:30 a.m.) and North Carolina State (1:00 p.m.) on Friday, Maryland on Saturday (12:30 p.m.) and Kansas on Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

Quick Hits
Cal's 8-1 start is its best since starting 9-0 in 2005 ...the last time Cal was ranked higher than No. 9 was when it was ranked 5th in late 2006 ... the Bears have a Pac-10 best 37 stolen bases (on 39 attempts) ... Cal has outscored its opponents, 76-16, including a 16-0 burst in the first inning and 41-5 advantage in the first three innings ... Cal had a school single game record nine stolen bases against George Washington (2/14) ... Cal has scored 10 or more runs four times this season ... the Bears produced a season-high 12 RBI against Liberty (2/6) ... Twin sisters Elia (.440) and Jamia Reid (.419) rank 1-2 in batting average on the team ... Valerie Arioto had a career-high 16 Ks against George Washington (2/14) and a career-best six RBI against Santa Clara (2/18) ... Gina Leomiti had her first triple since 2007 against Santa Clara (2/14) ... Vernae Sevilla had two home runs at the Cathedral City Kickoff after hitting just one all last season ... playing competitive softball for the first time since high school in Fresno, Nikki Schrey (who played two years of soccer for Cal) has four runs this season ... Leomiti and Jamia Reid currently own five-game hitting streaks ... SP Marissa Drewrey has recorded eight or more Ks her last three outings, including a season-high 11 Ks against Wichita State.

Speed Kills
Head coach Diane Ninemire stated before the start of the season that this year's 2009 team is the fastest she's ever had, and it may be one of the fastest in the nation. Early season numbers are backing up that assertion thus far. Cal has a Pac-10-best 37 stolen bases in the books (on 39 attempts), and had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14). Freshman Elia Reid already has 13 steals this season and is 15 away from tying the single season record of 28. Her twin sister Jamia is 9-for-9, while newcomer Shannon Thomas is 7-for-8 in stolen bases.

Jamin' Jamia
Diane Ninemire couldn't have asked for a better performance from her freshman Jamia Reid at the Cathedral City Kickoff in the opening weekend. Playing in her first collegiate game, the EA Sports High School All-American went 2-for-5, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning against nationally-ranked Houston. The offensive output didn't stop there as Reid went 2-for-4 with two runs, including her second home run - a three-run job in the second inning against Liberty. Reid continued her torrid pace at the plate with two hits, two runs and two-run home run in the first inning against Illinois.

There was no let down in her second week of action at the Carolina Classic. With Cal up 2-0 late in the game against Wichita State, Reid helped widen the lead with a 2-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning.In the 5-1 win over George Washington Reid went 2-for-3 with two runs and three stolen bases - including consecutive steals of second and third base in the fifth inning before scoring. In the final day of the tournament, Reid launched her fifth home run of the season on the very first pitch in the fifth inning. She was the catalyst in the first inning for the Bears when she singled, stole second and then scored courtesy of Gina Leomiti's single, giving Cal the early 1-0 lead. Reid leads the Pac-10 in RBI (9) and is tied for the lead in home runs with three. For her efforts, Redi was selected to the Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team. Reid is second in the Pac-10 in RBI (13), fourth in runs (12) and third in stolen bases (9).

No Sophomore Slump for Val
Valerie Arioto had one of the best performances of her young career against Santa Clara on Feb. 18. She blasted her first career grand slam in the second inning and pitched her first shutout of the season, allowing just one hit and striking out nine in the process. Arioto, who has 25 strikeouts in her last 12 innings pitched, also went 2-for-3 from the dish with two runs and a career-high six RBI - the most since Sanoe Kekahuna had a school-record seven vs. Texas Tech last season. At the Carolina Classic, Arioto fanned a career-high 16 batters against George Washington - tying Marissa Drewrey for the third-most Ks in a game in program history. It was business as usual for Arioto at the Cathedral City Kickoff in the opening weekend. She produced a .417 batting average with five runs, a triple and two RBI. Arioto also earned the win in her start against Liberty and struck out a seven batters. Arioto's had a solid game against Illinois when she went 2-for-4 with two runs and a triple.

Freshman Impact
Jamia Reid wasn't the only freshman making headlines for the Bears in their 8-1 start to the season. Her twin sister Elia leads the Bears in hitting (.440) and stolen bases (13), which is also tops in the Pac-10. Elia was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI in her collegiate debut against nationally ranked Houston. Center fielder Frani Echavarria, who didn't play her senior year in high school, is getting into the groove of the college game with a .273 batting average with seven runs and a pair of RBI.

Bears on TV
Cal will be on television this season when it hosts Arizona on May 1 in Strawberry Canyon. Fox Sports will broadcast the game on a tape delay and re-air it on a later date still to be determined. The last time there was a TV game at Levine-Fricke Field was in 2005 when Cal played UCLA. Cal will also be on TV on KFVE-TV in Honolulu for the game on March 12 against Hawaii. CBS College Sports will carry Cal's game at Stanford on April 9.

Val on Preseason POY Watch List
Cal sophomore Valerie Arioto was named to the Amateur Softball Association of America's (ASA) initial 'Watch List' for the 8th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The 2009 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 32 schools and 13 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 1. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list

Pac-10 PowerWhile the SEC may have Alabama and Florida ranked 1-2 in this week's top 25 poll, the Pac-10 boasts five teams in the top 10, with Arizona ranked No. 11. Cal already played and defeated nationally ranked Houston to start the season, and despite losing 4-3 to No. 20 North Carolina (ranked No. 23 at the time of the loss), the Bears will face at least two more teams ranked in the top 25 before opening conference play.

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