California Takes on Florida at Gainesville Super Regional

May 19, 2009


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Game Information- Gainesville Super Regional

Saturday, May 23, 5:00 p.m., Game 1: California vs No. 1 Florida, ESPN

Sunday, May 24, 3:00 p.m., Game 2: California vs No. 1 Florida, ESPN 2

Sunday, May 24, 5:00 p.m., Game 3 (if necessary): California vs No. 1 Florida, ESPN 2

The California Golden Bears, playing in the post season for the 24th consecutive year, advanced to the NCAA Super Regional for the fourth time since the format was adopted five years ago. The Bears swept the Tallahassee Regional, with an 8-3 victory over Mississippi State and 2-0 and 2-1 victories over Oklahoma State. It is the 10th time in the last 11 years the Bears have won their Regional to advance in the post season. The Bears will be taking on the top overall seed, the Florida Gators. This is the second consecutive year the Bears' road to a possible 11th College World Series appearance has gone through Gainesville. Last year, the Bears were swept by the Gators on their home field, falling 4-2 in both games.

This will be the third time that the Bears and Gators have faced one another in the post-season. In 2000, Cal won a pair of games against Florida, 2-0 and 2-1, at the Fresno Regional. The Bears went on to defeat Fresno State in the Regional Final and advanced to the CWS.

Starting pitcher Marissa Drewrey, a first-team All-Pacific Region selection, was the only Bear to toe the rubber in the Regional. Drewrey tossed three complete games, logging a 1.00 ERA. She threw her 10th shutout of the season in the second game of the Regional, Saturday's 2-0 victory over Oklahoma State. Drewrey, who struggled with injuries midway through the season, finished out the year strong. In her last 12 appearances, Drewrey is 8-0 with a 1.26 ERA. Her success has come in getting strikeouts in key situations. In 55.2 innings since April 24, she has struck out 48 batters. and opposing hitters are batting just .137 with runners on base. In that same span, Drewrey has 13 strikeouts to end innings and has punched out four as game-clinching final outs.

On the offensive side, the balance of the Bears attack showed itself in the Regional. Freshman outfielder Frani Echavarria was swinging the hot bat, connecting for seven singles in nine at-bats (.778). Sophomore catcher Sanoe Kekahuna ignited the offense in the opener against Mississippi State, going 2-for-2 with two home runs. Kekahuna retook the lead in the slugging race, now leading the Bears with 11 homers this season.

Freshman Jamia Reid raised her already team-leading batting average 19 points during the Regional. Reid, going 7-for-11 (.636) in the series with three runs scored. The first-team All-Pacific Region and second-team All-Pac-10 selection leads the squad with a .363 average.

Reid extended her hitting streak to six games, tying her personal best of the season. It is the longest active streak on the team. Reid has also logged at least one hit in nine of her last 10 contests.

Sophomore utility player Valerie Arioto, playing all three games of the Regional at first base, went hitless in the series, but was second on the Bears in RBI, driving in three runs. Senior DP Gina Leomiti led the Bears with four runs driven in against Mississippi State and Oklahoma State.

Record Breaking Season The 2009 California Golden Bears have set two school records on the year for most stolen bases (145) and most home runs (55). The previous stolen base mark had stood for 30 years since the 1979 squad swiped 104 bases. The 2005 team had flirted with the record, coming up a few shy (100 stolen bases). Shannon Thomas stole the 105th base of the season on March 27 in the Bears' home game against Washington.

Freshman Jamia Reid set the individual single-season stolen base mark when she stole her 29th base on March 25 at Pacific. She passed the previous record of 28 that was jointly shared by Keri Kropke (1992) and 2009 Bears' volunteer assistant coach Erika Racklin, who swiped 28 last season while playing for Cal. Shannon Thomas also passed the 28-steal mark this year and has the second-highest single-season total in program history, currently at 32. Elia Reid may also pass the previous record-mark. She currently has 26 stolen bases.

The Bears have also established a new standard for home runs in a year. Valerie Arioto hit a lead-off home run in the May 2 game against Arizona State, the 50th blast of the season for Cal. The 2007 team set the previous record of 49. There have only been three Cal teams to belt more than 40 home runs as a team in a single season, with the 2005 squad finishing with 46. Bear batters have seven home runs in their last nine games.

Speed Racers Freshman outfielder Jamia Reid was thrown out in her first stolen base attempt of the Regional. It was the first time she had been caught stealing since March 7, a span of 33 games and was successful on 26 straight steal attempts. Since getting caught stealing, Reid has gone 2-for-2 on the basepaths. In the month of May, Reid has already logged 12 stolen bases. Overall, Cal had four stolen bases in the Regional with junior second baseman Shannon Thomas swiping the other two (in two attempts).

Cal ranks fourth in the nation in steals per game (2.59) and has a Pac-10-best 145 stolen bases in the books (on 164 attempts). The second closest team in the Pac-10 is Washington with 73 stolen bases, 59 fewer than Cal.

The Bears had a school-record nine thefts against George Washington (2/14) and have recorded five or more stolen bases in a game 12 times this season. Cal stole seven bases at UC Davis, the team's most in a game since swiping seven against Hawai'i on March 12. The Bears base runners have stolen at least one base in 12 of their last 13 games.

Jamia Reid had an unofficial school-record four steals against Providence (3/7). Her twin sister, Elia, tied Jamia's output with four steals of her own against Hawaii (3/12). Valerie Arioto challenged the record, trying for her fourth steal of the game against UC Davis, but was thrown out at second. It was the first time this season Arioto was caught stealing and ended a streak of 15 straight stolen bases for her. Frani Echavarria was a perfect 6-for-6 to start her college career before getting thrown out trying to steal second against Mississippi State (5/15). Vernae Sevilla is a perfect 4-for-4 this season and has never been caught stealing in her three seasons at Cal.

Pitching Power The Bears' pitching tandem of Valerie Arioto and Marissa Drewrey nas posted some impressive numbers this spring. The Bears are third in the Pac-10 in strikeouts with 403, and Cal pitchers have doled out 112 more strikeouts than their opposition with Bears' batters logging K's 291 times. Drewrey pitched her 10th complete game shutout of the season with the 2-0 blanking of Oklahoma State (5/16). It was the 14th time this season that the Bears pitching staff has blanked the opponent's offense.

Glove Work Valerie Arioto leads the Pac-10 in fielding percentage. With 174 put-outs and 64 assists between the circle and first base, Arioto has zero errors this season for a perfect 1.000 percentage.

The Battle for the Batting Titles Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid are battling for the Bears' season batting title. Reid, who went 5-for-9 in the final three games of the season, slid past Arioto and finished the regular season with a .345 average. Arioto was batting .344 prior to NCAA play. Vernae Sevilla ended the regular season with a .254 overall batting average but she finished strong, posting a .333 average against the tough Pac-10 pitching. Reid now leads the Bears' batting race with a .363 mark after going 7-for-9 in the regional. Arioto's discerning eye at the plate has helped her work a team-leading 40 walks this season. She is ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in on base percentage with a .466. Arioto led the team last season by drawing 48 free passes and posted a .444 OBP. Sanoe Kekahuna hit a pair of home runs against Mississippi State (5/15) to take over the team home run lead. She has belted 11 this season. Arioto has smashed 10.

20-Game Winner Marissa Drewrey won her 20th game of the season with her four innings of relief against UC Davis. She ended the regular season at 21-10. Drewrey now has back-to-back 20-win seasons and a career mark of 64-27. Drewrey struck out her 200th batter of the season April 26 against Oregon, giving her consecutive year with more than 200 Ks. She struck out the 600th batter of her career in the second game of the Regional (vs. Oklahoma State, 3/16), and now has 610 career strikeouts. This season, her 238 rank third in the Pac-10.

Hitting Streaks Sanoe Kekahuna owns Cal's longest hitting streak of the season at nine games (3/12-25). Valerie Arioto challenged with an eight-game streak (4/10-25). Arioto had a streak of 12 games reaching base safely (4/10-5/3). She made it to first base every game but one in the month of April. Jamia Reid has the longest active streak of six games (5/7-present) and has gotten a hit in nine of her last 10 games.

All-Pac-10 Team Valerie Arioto was named to the All-Pac-10 first team. Arioto, who doubles as a pitcher and a first baseman for the Bears, is hitting .329 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. She also has a 2.45 ERA with 165 strikeouts in the circle this season. This is the first first-team honor for Arioto, who was a second team honoree last season as a freshman along with teammates Sanoe Kekahuna and Gina Leomiti. Arioto is the first Bear to be named to the first team since Kristina Thorson and Haley Woods both earned first-team honors in 2006. Freshman Jamia Reid, the Pac-10 stolen base leader, earned second-team notice. Honorable mentions for this year's squad wnet to Marissa Drewrey, Gina Leomiti, Vernae Sevilla and Shannon Thomas.

All-Pacific Region Valerie Arioto earned All-Region honors as a UTL/Pitcher, along with pitcher Marissa Drewrey and outfielder Jamia Reid . This is the first time that Arioto and Drewrey have claimed All-Region first-team honors after both having been named to the second team in 2008.

Pac-10 All-Freshman Team Cal outfielders Jamia Reid and Elia Reid were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Frani Echavarria earned an honorable mention.

National Rankings California finished the regular season ranked fourth in the country in stolen bases per game and 22nd in home runs per game. Jamia Reid moved up to third in stolen bases per game, with Shannon Thomas rating 23rd and Elia Reid 27th. Valerie Arioto is 27th in drawing walks per game as a hitter. Marissa Drewrey's nine regular-season shutouts ranks her 24th among all DI pitchers.

Pac-10 Standings Cal ended the season in fifth place in the Pac-10 standings, equalling last season's finish. The Bears' 10 Pac-10 wins were the most for the team since 2006. It is the 14th time the team has logged double-digit victories in Pac-10 play.

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