May 30, 1999
OKLAHOMA CITY - Pitchers Jennifer Spediacci and Jamie Graves combined on a four-hit shutout to lead the Washington softball team to a 3-0 victory over California in the semifinals of the College World Series Sunday. The Huskies now advance to play UCLA for the NCAA championship Monday afternoon.
Cal ended the season 51-22 and equaled its best finished ever with a tie for third at the CWS. The Bears also tied for third in 1986 and tied for fifth in both 1992 and '96.
Washington jumped on Cal starter Nicole DiSalvio for a run in the top of the first inning. After Rosie Leutzinger led off with a single, she stole second and went to third on a ground out. Kim DePaul then delivered an RBI single.
The Huskies added to their lead in the fourth inning by putting runners on first and second with two out. DePaul lined a double to the left center field gap, scoring one run. But the second runner was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Washington completed its scoring with an unearned run in the fifth inning.
Cal's best opportunities to score came in the third and fifth innings. In the third, catcher Megumi Takasaki came up with two outs and the bases loaded. However, she flew out to center field. In the fifth, a single and an error put runners on first and second, but Maiko Bristow was picked off second base to end the inning, although TV replays showed that Bristow apparently beat the throw to the bag.
"I thought today was a hard-fought battle and that Washington did what it needed to do," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire, whose team needed to win twice Sunday to advance to the championship game. "Their speedy players got on base, and that hurt us. When we had players on base in key situations, we didn't come up with the key hit. I was excited about the win last night (over Fresno State) and looked at this as another Pac-10 doubleheader. Unfortunately, they were up first and scored a run and that set the pace for the whole game.
"Our goal was to win 50 games," Ninemire added. "We surpassed almost every offensive record in school history. You could say that the team here was the best ever to wear the blue and gold of California. This team has done a good job and earned respect for the future."
Cal reached the CWS semis coming through the loser's bracket. After falling to Arizona, 3-0, in the opener Thursday, the Bears beat both Arizona State (2-0) and defending champion Fresno State (1-0) Saturday. Cal also had to come through the loser's bracket in its regional to reach the CWS. But after winning five consecutive elimination games in the NCAA Tournament, the Bears finally lost one on Sunday.
NCAA Softball College World Series Oklahoma City, OK
Washington 100 110 0 - 3 7 2 California 000 000 0 - 0 4 2 Spediacci, Graves (5) and Giordano. DiSalvio, Forest (5) and Takasaki. W - Spediacci 24-8. L - DiSalvio 19-12. S - Graves 1.
Records California 51-22 Washington 51-17