No. 13/14 California at UC Davis Wednesday
April 28, 2009
The No. 13/14 California Golden Bears will play their final non-Conference game of the regular season at UC Davis on Wednesday, April 29 at 3 p.m. and then return home for a three-game weekend series at Levine-Fricke Field. On Friday, the Bears host No. 8/7 Arizona in a game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net. First pitch is at 3 p.m. On Saturday, the No. 4/7 Arizona State Sun Devils open a two-game set with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The series wraps up with the final home game of the year for the Bears on Sunday, May 3 at 12 p.m.
Cal moved up in both polls this week, coming in at No. 14 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top-25 poll and at No. 13 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. The Pac-10 continues to dominate the polls with four of the top-five teams in the USA Today/NFCA poll coming out of the conference. Oregon and Oregon State are the only teams in the Pac-10 not ranked in the top-25.
Junior pitcher Marissa Drewrey was back to form last week, striking out 15 batters in 14.1 innings of work. Drewrey allowed just two earned runs in her two complete-game victories. She threw her third one-hitter of the season against Oregon on Sunday, coming within one out of tossing a no-hitter. With two outs behind her in the top of the seventh, Oregon sent a pinch hitter to the plate who rifled the first pitch she saw down the left field line to break up the no-hit bid. It was the sixth time in Drewrey's career that she threw a one-hitter. It was the fifth one-hitter of the season for the Cal pitching staff. The game was also Drewrey's team-leading eighth shut out of the season.
Another highlight of last weekend's play was the defense. Cal committed just one error in the three games, boasting a .988 fielding percentage. Some flashy glove work by junior short stop Taylor Kelly and junior second baseman Shannon Thomas helped lead the Bears to their three wins.
Sophomore pitcher/ first baseman Valerie Arioto posted a .500 on-base percentage in the three games. Arioto drew three walks to go with a pair of hits, including a three-run home run against Oregon State. Arioto drove in a team-high 6 runs last week. She is now tied for the season RBI lead with senior first baseman/ dp Gina Leomiti with 32. Arioto had an eight-game hitting streak snapped Sunday against Oregon. It was the second longest by a Bear player this season. Arioto walked twice in the game and has reached base safely in nine straight games.
Junior catcher Bernice Masaniai hit a pair of home runs in the Oregon State game, both of them solo shots straight down the left field line. Masaniai also made a big defensive play, throwing out the potential tying run as she tried to steal second base in the top of the seventh inning of Sunday's 1-0 victory over Oregon.
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. Barry Tompkins will be calling the action with gold-medal winning Olympian Jessica Mendoza providing the color commentary. The last time there was a TV game at Levine-Fricke Field was in 2005 when Cal played UCLA.
Speed Racers The green light on the basepaths is back on. After not getting a steal in the three-game set against Stanford, the Bears have now stolen at least one base in each of the last seven games. The Bears were 8-for-8 in steal attempts this last weekend and are perfect in their last 11 steal attempts. They have not had a runner thrown out on the basepaths since April 17 at Arizona State.
Cal ranks third in the nation in steals per game (2.66) and own a school record and Pac-10-best 125 stolen bases in the books (on 140 attempts). The Bears also had a school record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14), and have recorded five or more stolen bases 10 times this season. Freshman Jamia Reid currently owns the school single-season record of 35 steals (No.1 in the Pac-10. No. 7 in the nation) and had an unofficial school record four steals against Providence (3/7). Her twin sister Elia is 26-31 in stolen bases (fifth in the Pac-10, 16th nationally in steals per game ), and tied Jamia's output with four steals of her own against Hawaii (3/12), while newcomer Shannon Thomas is 27-29 in stolen bases, ranked third in the Pac-10 (and 28th in the nation in steals per game). The Bears have seven players who are perfect on the base paths this season, including Valerie Arioto who is a perfect 12-for-12 and Frani Echavarria who is 6-for-6.
Pitching Power The Bears pitching tandem of Valerie Arioto and Marissa Drewrey combined to strike out 11 Saint Mary's batters in the game. It was the tenth time this season the Bears' pitchers struck out double-digit batters in a game. Drewrey and Arioto also had a combined one-hitter, the fourth of the year for the staff. Drewrey threw the fifth one-hitter of the year a week and a half later, downing Oregon 1-0. The Bears other three one-hitters came in back-to-back-to-back games between Feb. 15 and 20. Santa Clara, who like Saint Mary's plays in the PCSC conference, was also one-hit in their game against the Bears. The Bears are third in the Pac-10 or strikeouts with 359. The Bears' pitchers have doled out 108 more strikeouts than their opposition with Bears' batters logging K's just 251 times this season.
Yard Work The Bears, after hitting at least one home run in four straight games (4/17, 18, 19, 24), the Bears failed to hit the long ball in their last two games. The three HR's they hit in Friday's 11-2 victory over Oregon State give the team 48 total home runs this season. They are just one round shot away from tying the team record of 49 home runs set in 2007. Valerie Arioto, who had one of the three HR's against Oregon State, is now tied for the team lead with Sanoe Kekahuna, both of whom have hit nine this season.
Scouting this week's opponents Cal heads to Davis to take on the UC Davis Aggies (21-26, 5-10 Big West). The Aggies have lost their last seven games, including a doubleheader against Oregon State and a weekend sweep by #22 Cal Poly. Davis has a pair of outstanding starting pitchers, Jessica Hancock and Alex Holmes, both of whom have an ERA under two. The combined staff ERA is 1.83.
After the Davis game, the Bears will be back in Pac-10 action and back in top-10 action, taking on two of the top-ranked teams in the nation. The Bears will try to avoid a season-sweep by Arizona when they face the potent Wildcat offense on Friday. Arizona is the top-hitting team in the nation, leading all Division I teams in batting average (.351), home runs per game (2.33), and runs per game (8.56). Arizona State is an equally explosive offense ranked fourth in home runs per game (1.62) and second in runs per game (7.52). Both teams relied on the long ball to defeat Cal in their first meetings of the season. Arizona State has the highest ERA in the Pac-10 with their staff allowing 3.83 earned runs per game. Arizona's staff has the highest opponent batting average with teams hitting .268 against their staff. ASU has also allowed a Conference-high 49 home runs this season.
No Sophomore Slump for Val Valerie Arioto continues to lead the team in batting, hitting .348 this season. The Bears have three players batting above .300 this season Jamia Reid is right behind Arioto with a .340 average. Shannon Thomas is batting an even .300 this season.
Arioto's discerning eye at the plate has helped her work a team-leading 30 walks this season. She is ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in on base percentage with a .480. Arioto led the team last season drawing 48 free passes and posted a .444 OBP.
Drewrey in Charge 18-game winner Junior Marissa Drewrey is fourth in the Pac-10 in strikeouts this season with 205, seventh in ERA (2.33), and seventh in opposing batting average (.219). Drewrey was one out away from pitching the first no-hitter of her career (4/26 vs. Oregon), instead earning a 1-0, one-hit victory, her third complete-game one-hitter of the season and sixth of her career. It was also Drewrey's eighth shut out of the season.
Tale of Taylor Taylor Kelly smashed a grand slam against Arizona (4/19), adding four RBI to her season total to give her 24. Kelly had 25 total runs driven in last year. Kelly has been effectively producing runs in important games, with 13 of her 24 RBI coming in Pac-10 games. Kelly has also belted three of her six home runs off Pac-10 pitching. Kelly was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week ending 4/12. Kelly earned the honor for the first time in her career by belting the game (and series)-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning in the third game of the Stanford series. Kelly, who entered the season with two career home runs, equalled that mark in the Stanford series alone.
Sizzlin' Sevilla Junior Vernae Sevilla is batting .406 against Pac-10 pitching this season. Sevilla is 13-for-32 at the plate in the dozen Pac-10 games she has played in this year. Sevilla also has an impressive .625 slugging percentage in those games with two home runs and a double among her 11 hits. Sevilla went 5-for-9 on the Arizona trip earlier this season, including logging three hits in the ASU game. She drove in three runs in last Friday's game against Oregon State.
Jamin' Jamia Jamia Reid broke the school single-season record with her 29th stolen base at Pacific (3/25). Her current 33 steals is also tops in the Pac-10 (sixth in the nation per game). Reid leads the team in hits (50) and second in runs with 32.
Electric Elia Elia Reid is also ranked among the Pac-10 and national leaders in stolen bases. Elia's 26 steals this season is fifth in the Pac-10 and 16th in the national rankings for stolen bases per game. Reid had three stolen bases in the two games against Oregon this last weekend, ending a drought of ten games without a stolen base. Before that span (April 3-19), the longest Elia had gone without stealing a base was six games (Feb. 18-27).
Quick NotesCal began the season 11-1 before falling to Kansas on Feb. 22 - it was the best 12 game start to a season since 2005 ... Cal's highest ranking of the season thus far in the national polls has been 9th... 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 and school-record 125 stolen bases (on 140 attempts) ... Cal is third in the nation in steals per game (2.65) ... Cal is 19-0 when scoring six or more runs including scoring 11 and 12 against Oregon State and eight against Stanford ... the Bears are also 27-6 when scoring first this year ... Cal had a school single game record nine stolen bases against George Washington (2/14) ... Cal has scored 10 or more runs eight times this season ... the Bears pounded out a season-high 15 hits against Stanford (4/11)... the Bears have logged 10 or more hits in a game eight times this season... Jamia Reid owns the single-season steals record (currently at 35) ... Sanoe Kekahuna owns Cal's longest hitting streak of the season at nine (3/12-3/25) ... Valerie Arioto leads the team in multi-hit games (12) ... Jamia and Elia Reid both recorded single-game records of four steals this season (Elia at Hawaii, and Jamia vs. Providence) ... Gina Leomiti, who led the team in RBI last season, is tied the team this year with 32 runs batted in, playing competitive softball for the first time since high school in Fresno, Nikki Schrey (who played two years of soccer for Cal) has eight runs this season in 23 games ... SP Marissa Drewrey has recorded eight or more Ks eight times this season, including a season-high 11 Ks against Wichita State and NC State - she is fourth in the league in strikeouts (205), recording the 200th strikeout of the season against Oregon (4/26) ... Valerie Arioto has recorded eight or more K's seven times this season including a season-high 16 against George Washington.