March 11, 2007
Sunnyvale - Freshman Christina Schallig's three-run home run in the seventh inning helped the No. 22-ranked California Golden Bears rally from a 5-3 deficit to defeat Northern Iowa, 6-5, in the final day of the NIST hosted by San Jose State on Sunday. This was the second day in a row that Cal had to rally from a deficit to win the contest (down 4-0 to Iowa State on Saturday).
Cal (18-10) has won five of its last six games and continues its tournament schedule at the University of Hawaii Invitational, Mar. 14-17.
The Bears seemed to grab the early momentum of the competition with three runs in the top of the first inning. Erika Racklin notched a one-out single, and quickly moved to second on a wild pitch by Jen Larsen. Schallig then followed with a double to center field to plate Racklin. After a Katie Vickers single advanced Schallig to third, Gina Leomiti knocked a single thru the left side to score Schallig. Two batters later Taylor Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Vickers, giving Cal a 3-0 lead.
UNI stormed right back in the bottom half of the inning with four runs to take a 4-3 lead. Ashley Lepley was hit by a pitch to lead off UNI's half of the first followed by a Mandy Kumamoto walk. Morgan Paulson attempted to move both runners into scoring position but ended up reaching herself on a bunt single.
An errant throw into right field by the Bears on the play allowed both Lepley and Kumamoto to score and cut the Panthers' deficit to a single run.
Larsen followed by slapping a double to deep left-center field that plated Paulson to knot the score at 3-3. Kelly Papesh then gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead with a two-out single to left that brought in Larsen from second.
The Panthers generated another run with two outs in the bottom of the third when Rachel Gerking scored from third on a slow roller through the infield by Stefany Shalla. Gerking had reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on a deep foul ball by Papesh and then made her way to third on a wild pitch to set up the score, which boosted UNI's lead to 5-3.
A solid defensive play by the Bears took away a run from UNI in the bottom of the fifth, when Kelly laid out to snare a line drive by Gerking that likely would have plated Larsen from second, keeping Cal within two runs.
It was then rally time for Cal in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back one-out singles by Alex Sutton and Racklin were just enough for Schallig who connected for her first career home run over the center field wall to lift the Bears to a 6-5 lead.
The Panthers had two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, but Lauren Frankiewicz got Gerking to fly out to Leomiti to end the game.
Frankiewicz collected her seventh win of the circle after relieving Brittany LaRosa in the first inning. Frankiewicz recorded nine strikeouts in the contest.