Bears Beat Bruins, 4-2

May 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES - Fueled by a line-up change and two previous losses this weekend, the No. 15/13 California softball team upset No. 6/5 UCLA, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at Easton Stadium. Senior second baseman Shannon Thomas had two RBI to lead her Golden Bears (38-17 overall/7-11 in the Pac-10 Conference) past the Bruins (38-10/12-6 in the Pac-10), to avoid the conference series sweep.

With a change in the line-up, Valerie Arioto led off and earned a walk to start the game. Still in at the second spot, senior second baseman Shannon Thomas singled to left center, moving Arioto to second. The Bruins got outs in the next batters - Jace Williams (looking K) and Lindsey Ziegenhirt (foul fly) - when Frani Echavarria stepped up to the plate. With a 3-1 count, Echavarria singled up the middle to score Arioto, giving Cal a key 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

The top of the second also began with a Bear baserunner with senior Taylor Kelly singling to left field. Arioto earned her second walk of the game, advancing Kelly to second. With two outs and a 2-2 count, Thomas then doubled down the right-field line to score both Arioto and Kelly.

At that point, UCLA brought in Megan Langenfeld to pitch for starter Dani Yudin. Langenfeld got Williams to ground out but the Bears had already wreaked enough havoc, leading 3-0.

The Bruins finally got a run on the board in the bottom of the fifth, when third baseman Julie Burney had a solo shot to left field to bring UCLA within two, 3-1.

UCLA heated up again in the bottom of the sixth when outfielder B.B. Bates and second baseman Gionna DiSalvatore earned back-to-back walks to start the bottom end of the inning. A sacrifice bunt from shortstop Monica Harrison moved Bates to third and DiSalvatore to second. Henderson intentionally walked Langenfeld to juice the bases with the one out. After one strike and four foul balls, A Harrison flied out to left, which plated Bates, bringing the score to 3-2. Ziegenhirt worked with Thomas to pick off DiSalvatore at second to end the inning.

Not to be outdone, Jayme Wallace singled up the middle in the top of the seventh and Shannon Houston came in to pinch run. Elia Reid then took the first pitch she saw for a double to left center, advancing Houston to third. Arioto flied out to center, but it was not unproductive for Houston came around to score, giving Cal a slight cushion at 4-2. Thomas walked but then left early and was called out at first to end the inning.

The Bruins looked to leave their mark on the game in the bottom of the seventh, but failed. With one away, Burney walked and Grace Murray pinch ran for her. Charlotte Dolan, who was pinch hitting for Samantha Camuso, walked, putting two runners on. Catcher Kaila Shull fouled out to Ziegenhirt and Bates popped up to short, leaving the two Bruins stranded and confirming the 4-2 Cal victory.

Thomas at two hits and two RBI to lead the Bears while Arioto scored two of Cal's four runs. Henderson earned the win thanks to her seven innings of work in the circle, allowed two runs on one hit. She also struck out four. Donna Kerr took the loss after giving up the three earned runs.

Cal closes its conference and regular season with three games against unranked Oregon State at Berkeley's serene Levine-Fricke Field. The weekend begins early with a 3 p.m. first pitch on Thursday, May 13. The two squads meet at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 15 before ending the series Sunday with a noon game. In addition to mercying the Beavers, 11-2 in five innings in their last meeting on April 24, 2009, the Bears also hold a 65-34 all-time program record over OSU.

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