May 23, 2004
LINCOLN, Neb. - Sophomore right-hander Kristina Thorson tossed a one-hit shutout in the NCAA Tournament Region 5 championship game to lead top-seeded California to a 2-0 win over second-seeded Nebraska Sunday afternoon at Bowlin Stadium.
With the win, their second 2-0 victory over Nebraska in the regional, the Golden Bears (50-11) secured a spot in the NCAA Women's College World Series for the sixth straight year. Nebraska, the 2004 Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament champion, finished the season with a 45-17 record.
Thorson, who finished the regional with a 4-0 record, was named the region's most outstanding player. She threw 28 scoreless innings, allowed just six hits, struck out 30 and walked just four in regional play.
She entered the bottom of the seventh against Nebraska with a perfect game on the line. However, Nebraska's Anne Steffan led off the inning with a perfectly placed bunt and beat Cal third baseman Vicky Galindo's throw to first for the Huskers' only hit of the game. Thorson (27-3) finished the game with eight strikeouts, and she did not surrender a walk.
Senior right-hander Peaches James (37-9) took the loss for NU, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out six Bears in her second loss of the regional to Cal.
An error-plagued fourth inning by the Husker defense led to two runs for Cal. Galindo led off and sent a bloop double to left. Lindsay James followed and reached on a throwing error by NU third baseman Jessica Yoachim. Galindo then scored as Lindsay James stole second. Woods followed and bunted. Steffan ran over to cover first, but couldn't handle Peaches James' throw, and Lindsay James scored for the 2-0 lead.
The Huskers had their final chance in the bottom of the seventh, with Steffan on first and no outs. Steffan moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Yoachim, but was thrown out attempting to advance to third on a fielder's choice, as Nicole Trimboli reached first safely. Trisha Tannahill fouled out to third to end the game.
NCAA Region 5 All-Tournament Team
Kristina Thorson (Most Outstanding Player), Cal
Vicky Galindo, Cal
Haley Woods, Cal
Kaleo Eldredge, Cal
Peaches James, Nebraska
Nicole Trimboli, Nebraska
Stacey Rybar, Creighton
Abby Johnson, Creighton
Tammy Nielsen, Creighton
Jessica Braggins, Florida Atlantic
Lisa Birocci, Iowa
Natalie Johnson, Iowa