April 3, 2013
TUSCON, Ariz. -
No. 19/22 Arizona handed the No. 5/4 California softball team its first Pac-12 loss of the season, downing the Golden Bears 7-3 in game three of the midweek series Wednesday at Hillenbrand Stadium in Tuscon, Ariz. The Bears fall to 29-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play but won the series by sweeping Arizona in a Tuesday doubleheader.
Senior ace Jolene Henderson (25-3) gave up five earned runs in five innings pitched, whiffing two batters while allowing seven hits and seven runs total before freshman Nisa Ontiveros entered the circle in relief and gave up one hit with a strikeout at the bottom of the sixth. Both teams registered eight total hits as Arizona’s Shelby Babcock (12-5) earned the win in just over four innings of work, fanning six and allowing two walks and four hits. The Wildcats’ Bowling started in the circle, and she too allowed four hits plus three walks and three strikeouts.
Junior Britt Vonk, sophomore Mary Lee and freshman Khala Taylor each scored a run for the Bears. Vonk went 1-for-3 with one RBI and Taylor went 2-for-3. Sophomore Danielle Henderson went 1-for-2 with one RBI plus a walk.
Cal gave up an uncharacteristic three runs in the initial inning, starting with a single up the middle by the leadoff Wildcat batter Hallie Wilson. Batter No. 2, second baseman Chelsea Suitos, used a bunt to get herself on and move Wilson to second. Both runners capitalized on a passed ball to move another base. The table was set as Kelsey Rodriguez walked. With no outs and a full diamond, Chelsea Goodacre sac flied to right field and Wilson scored. Brigette Del Ponte singled up the middle for an additional two runs and Rodriguez and Suitos scored.
The Bears capitalized on an error and a wild pitch at the top of the third to break their scoreless game. Vonk started the inning off with a base on a fielding error at short. Senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt earned a full-count walk to move Vonk to second, and Lee came in to pinch run for Ziegenhirt. J. Henderson grounded out to third to get Vonk to third and Lee to second. A wild pitch by Bowling offered Vonk prime opportunity to score as Lee advanced to third for Cal's first run. D. Henderson sac flied Lee home a second run, and Lee's first collegiate run scored.
The Bears ran into trouble at the bottom of the fifth, again with the batters at the top of Arizona's batting order. Wilson singled to right field and advanced to second as Suitos reached on an error. Goodacre supplied a three RBI home run to put the Wildcats up 6-2. The Wildcats added an insurance run as Del Ponte singled through the left side, advanced to third on a single by Lauren Young and then, in an unusual series where Young was picked off at first, Del Ponte stole home. The fifth inning ended 7-2 in Arizona's favor.
The Blue and Gold attempted to close the gap at the top of the sixth, starting hot with a single to center field by Taylor followed by a stolen base. A ground out by sophomore Cheyenne Cordes to the Arizona circle put Taylor at third before Vonk slapped the ball into left field to score her. The Bears rally fell short when Cal could not put up additional runs in the remaining inning.
Cal will close out an imposing stretch of seven games in eight days by hosting No. 10/9 Oregon starting Saturday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m.
Follow Cal Softball on Twitter and Facebook for updates throughout the season.