April 18, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - No. 4 California fought back twice to tie visiting No. 1 Arizona but was unable to answer a Wildcat run in the top of the eighth inning, losing the Pac-10 game 3-2 on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Levine-Fricke Field. The Bears' record falls to 37-8 overall and 4-5 in the Pac-10 while Arizona improves to 43-1 overall and 7-0 in conference play.
Junior CF Kaleo Eldredge thought she was about to score the Bears' winning run in the bottom of the seventh after leading the inning off with a walk. One out later, Eldredge advanced to second on junior 2B Jessica Pamanian's groundout to third. Now with two outs, junior SS Chelsea Spencer singled on a hard shot toward first, advancing Eldredge to third. Arizona's senior 1B Wendy Allen had just barely gotten a touch of leather on Spencer's hit, but senior 2B Samantha Quintero was there to scoop up the ball and make a play on Eldredge, who'd taken the initiative to round third and head for home. Just up the third base line, senior C Mackenzie Vandergeest received the throw from Quintero and made a sweeping tag on Eldredge just in time to prevent the run and thereby ending the inning.
Arizona took that momentum into the eighth, receiving a one-out single from junior RF Crystal Farley who was then put out on a fielder's choice during the next play, leaving the Wildcats with a base runner at first with two outs. Sophomore LF Autumn Champion followed by singling to short and advancing freshman CF Caitlin Lowe to second. Allen then walked, loading the bases. That's when the game's longest at-bat commenced, a battle between Vandergeest and California's junior P Kelly Anderson. Roughly two-thirds through the 13-pitch at-bat, Anderson threw a wild pitch in the dirt that allowed Lowe to cross the plate, recording the game's winning run. Vandergeest went on to draw a walk and the inning ended with a groundout from the next Wildcat batter.
Three-straight strikeouts by sophomore P Alicia Hollowell ended the Bears' hopes in the bottom of the eighth. Hollowell notched the win, improving to 30-0 on the season, giving up four hits and two runs while striking out eight. Anderson (20-6) took the loss for California, allowing nine hits and one earned run while also striking out eight.
In a game that certainly had its peculiar moments, perhaps the most unique was Eldredge's leadoff run in the fifth to tie the match at 2-2. Eldredge hit a long ball straight out to right field, sending Arizona's Farley right up against the wall but with plenty of time to gain position and put her glove up for what appeared to be a fly-out just a couple of feet short of going yard. As it turned out, the ball did make it over the wall, hitting off Farley's glove in what was scored as an error with three extra bases to the Arizona right fielder.
The Bears are on the road next week, traveling to No. 5 Washington on Friday, April 23, before heading south to face No. 3 UCLA Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25.
California Softball Result: Arizona 010 010 01 - 3 9 2 California 001 010 00 - 2 4 2 Hollowell and Vandergeest. Anderson and Woods. W - Hollowell 30-0. L - Anderson 20-6. Save - None. HR - None.
Records: Arizona 43-1 (7-0 Pac-10) California 37-8 (4-5 Pac-10)