No. 7 Cal Prepares For Capital Classic in Sacramento
March 17, 2009
The Bears moved up two spots to No. 7 in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll (and one spot up to No. 10 in the NFCA Top 25) - the last time Cal was ranked higher than No. 7 was when it was ranked 5th in late 2006 ... Cal began the season 11-1 before falling to Kansas on Feb. 22 - it was the best 12 game start to a season since 2005 ... the Bears have a Pac-10 best 89 stolen bases (on 95 attempts)... Cal has outscored its opponents, 140-411, including a 34-7 burst in the first inning and 77-19 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 five times this season ... Cal's pitching staff has allowed just one extra base hit since Mar. 8, and hasn't allowed a home run since Mar. 1 ... the Bears recorded three home runs in the first inning in a 10-1 route of Hawaii (3/12) ... the Bears produced a season-high 13 hits against Hawaii (3/12) ... Jamia Reid (25 steals), Elia Reid (19 steals) and Shannon Thomas (17 steals) rank 1-2-3 respectively in the Pac-10 in stolen bases ... Jamia and Elia Reid have both stolen four bases in a game this season (an unofficial school record) ... Sanoe Kekahuna has three home runs in her last six games ... Valerie Arioto had her third multi-hit game of the season against Hawaii (3/12) ... Bernice Masaniai has five hits, four RBI and two doubles in her last three games ... Gina Leomiti, who led the team in RBI last season, once again leads the team this year with 21 RBI ... she had five RBI in Fresno, including three against BYU ... playing competitive softball for the first time since high school in Fresno, Nikki Schrey (who played two years of soccer for Cal) has seven runs this season ... SP Marissa Drewrey has recorded eight or more Ks seven times this season, including a season-high 11 Ks against Wichita State.
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 89 stolen bases in the books (on 95 attempts). The Bears also had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14), and have recorded five or more stolen bases eight times this season. Freshman Jamia Reid already has 25 steals (on 27 attempts) this season (No. 1 in the Pac-10) and is three away from tying the single season record of 28 owned by volunteer coach Erika Racklin. Jamia had an unofficial school record four steals against Providence (3/7). Her twin sister Elia is 19-for-20 in stolen bases (No. 2 in the Pac-10), and tied Jamia's output with four steals of her own against Hawaii (3/12), while newcomer Shannon Thomas is 17-for-18 in stolen bases - No. 3 in the Pac-10.
Cal's pitching has been efficient all season long thanks to the 1-2 punch of Marissa Drewrey and Valerie Arioto in the circle. The Bears own the third-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 (1.34) and have allowed just 32 earned runs - third-lowest in the Pac-10. Also contributing to the effective pitching has been the ability not to give up the extra base hit. The Bears have allowed 11 doubles, second-lowest in the league, and no triples, while giving up just six home runs - third lowest in the conference. Opponents are hitting .177 against Cal as well, thanks to Valerie Arioto's 0.84 ERA (third-lowest in the Pac-10) and Marissa Drewrey's 123 strikeouts - third-best in the conference.
Utility Player Masaniai Comes through at the Plate
Bernice Masaniai started three games in the Chevron Spring Fling and recorded hits in each game. The junior went 5-10, including two doubles, with four RBI. Against Hawaii (3/12), Masaniai recorded a season-high three hits. Masaniai raised her batting average from .182 before the tournament to .281.
Marissa on a Mission
Junior Marissa Drewrey walked a season-high nine batters against Penn State on Feb. 15. Since then her walk totals are in a steady decline, along with her ERA. She has not walked more than three batters (or 63.3 innings) in an outing since that game. Drewrey's ERA dropped from 2.60 to 1.68 over that stretch and has had two games of 10+ strikeouts. The 14-game winner is now third in the Pac-10 in strikeouts this season with 123, sixth in ERA (1.68), and seventh in opposing batting average (.184). Drewrey compiled a 3-0 record at the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament in Hawaii with a 0.40 ERA, one shutout, allowing just six hits, one earned run, three walks and 20 Ks in 17.1 innings pitched. She tossed a complete game shutout against Memphis (3/11) in the opening game of the tournament, allowing just one walk and scattering three hits with 7 Ks in 7 innings of work. The next game vs. Hawaii (3/12), Drewrey allowed just two hits with a run in five innings, as the Bears blasted Hawaii, 10-1 in five innings. Drewrey then relieved Valerie Arioto in the second inning of the game against St. John's (3/13) the following game (with Cal down 2-0) and dominated the Red Storm by striking out 10 and allowing just one hit with no walks and no runs in 5.1 innings of work to earn the win as Cal rallied for a 6-2 win. It was the fourth time this season that Drewrey has posted 10 or more Ks in an outing this season. She was named the Muscle Milk California Student-Athlete of the Week (2/23) after her performances in the circle at the Cathedral City Classic. Drewrey went 3-1 at the CCC with a 0.33 ERA, two complete game shutouts and 25 strikeouts. Against Ole Miss, Drewrey pitched a one-hit shutout and was two outs away from a perfect game before giving up the lone hit in the seventh inning. Ole Miss scored 10 runs prior to its match up with the Bears and was shutout for just the second time this season. The following game against NC State, Drewrey relieved Valerie Arioto and pitched 6.2 innings and tied her season-high with 11 Ks. Against Maryland, Drewrey again pitched a complete game shutout, scattering four hits and walking just one with 8 Ks in Cal's 7-0 win. Drewrey tossed five shutout innings and recorded 10 Ks (1 hit) against Riverside (3/1), and pitched a two-hit shutout against Providence (3/7).
Sanoe Kekahuna returned to the Hawaiian Islands and felt right at home in the batters box. The Maui native went 4-for-11 in the tournament with four RBI, including a 2-run home run against Hawaii (3/12). With the productive weekend, Kekahuna has raised her batting average to .317, her highest of the season. The sophomore has certainly picked up her offensive production of late. From Feb. 28 to Mar. 8 she had six hits, including two home runs, and 10 RBI. Against BYU (3/7) Kekahuna sparked the Bears comeback with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning that cut the deficit in half. She also leads the team in slugging percentage (.683) and has also played solid defense behind the plate with 218 putouts and one error this season.
No Sophomore Slump for Val
Valerie Arioto produced her seventh multi-hit game against Hawaii (3/12) at the Chevron Spring Fling and and had a season-high three hits in Cal's 8-3 win over Riverside (3/1), yet still is remaining efficient in the circle with seven double-digit strikeout performances, including three outings with 10 or more Ks. She 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 61 strikeouts this season, 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. This year she is hitting .294 with 21 runs (second on the team) and 14 RBI. In the circle, Arioto has a perfect 8-0 record with a 0.84 ERA.
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 also made some early history with her first 4-for-4 performance at the plate against CS Fullerton (2/27). She hit .533 with five runs, one triple, two RBI, 10 total bases a slugging pct of .667 and eight stolen bases at the Bayer CropSciences Classic hosted by Fresno State. Against Northern Illinois (3/6), the freshman had three hits on four ABs with two runs and two RBI, including a triple and two steals and produced her first career triple. The following game against Providence (3/7), she again went 3-for-4 with two runsand an unofficial school record four steals. She collected two more hits, a run and two steals against Fresno State (3/8). Reid has been selected to two All-Tournament Teams - the Carolina Classic and the Bayer CropSciences Classic. She leads the Pac-10 with 25 steals.
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. The Bears were also on Fresno's Comcast channel 14 for their game against the Bulldogs on Mar. 8, and also made an appearance 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.
Cal's RPI is annually one of the best in the nation thanks to the difficult Pac-10 Conference. This season will be no different, as the Pac-10 boasts four teams in the top 10, including No. 3 Washington (Arizona State is ranked No. 11, and Arizona No. 15).
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