No. 9 Cal Breezes past Northern Illinois, 8-1

March 6, 2009

FRESNO - The ninth-ranked California softball team opened the Bayer CropScience Classic (hosted by Fresno State) with an 8-1 win over Northern Illinois on Friday afternoon. Freshman Jamia Reid had two steals, two RBI and two runs in the victory.

Cal (15-3) plays two games on Saturday - Providence at Noon and BYU at 2:00 p.m.

Hitless in her last six at bats, Jamia Reid found her stroke at the plate against the Huskies, pounding out three hits, two runs, two RBI and two stolen bases. Valerie Arioto had a season-high two steals with a run, while Shannon Thomas had two runs and Vernae Sevilla knocked in a pair of RBI.

The Golden Bears registered seven steals against NIU - the fifth time that they have had seven or more thefts in a game this season. Cal leads the Pac-10 with a dizzying 69 steals.

Cal wasted little time generating runs, with four in the first inning. Cal has now outscored its opponents 29-4 in the first inning of games this season.

With Jamia Reid already on second base (single and a steal) and two outs, Bernice Masaniai clocked a double to right-center field to plate Reid, giving Cal a 1-0 lead. An infield miscue kept the inning alive for the Bears as Masaniai rounded home, putting the Bears up 2-0. Two batters later (after two more fielding errors by Northern Illinois); Sevilla jacked her second double of the season to score Taylor Kelly and Sanoe Kekahuna.

Cal tacked on three more runs in the top half of the second to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Jamia Reid was the catalyst again, notching her first career triple to left field and plating both Thomas (walk) and Arioto (walk) in the process. Two batters later, Kekahuna laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Reid.

Kekahuna was key again in the top of the fourth frame when she connected on a sacrifice fly to plate Jamia Reid (single, steal), giving Cal the 8-1 advantage.

Arioto and Marissa Drewrey split pitching duties, with Arioto (4 IP, 0 ER, 6 Ks) collecting the win - her sixth of the season.

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