May 20, 2006
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Seniors Haley Woods and Kristina Thorson continued to dominate the competition in the Iowa City Regional, Saturday. Woods did her part at the plate, hitting two home runs; Thorson took control from the circle, allowing just one hit while striking out 12, as the California softball team defeated Nebraska, 4-2, at Pearl Field to advance to the regional championship game.
Cal (46-12) will take on Nebraska (44-11) again Sunday at noon.
"This was a tremendous win for us today against a great team from Nebraska," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire, who is a native of Nebraska. "We're used to having tough games against them, and today we had a great pitching performance from our pitcher Kristina Thorson.
With her 34th win of the season, Thorson set a new Cal single-season record for wins, passing Hall of Famer Michele Granger, who won 33 games in 1991. Saturday also marked her 100th career victory.
In the bottom of the first, Woods lifted a high fly ball just inside the foul pole over the left field wall to put the Bears up 1-0. Sophomore Julie Meyer led off the third inning with a solo home run to left field, which gave the Bears a 2-0 lead.
Woods wasn't done. Later in the third, the Burlingame, Calif., native sent a hard-hit ball to straightaway left field, scoring senior Lindsay James, who had reached base on a single to left field, and giving the Bears a 4-0 lead. It was Woods' 16th home run of the season, which ties her career high for home runs in a season. She also hit 16 in 2004.
Nebraska cut into the Bears' lead, scoring two unearned runs in the fourth inning. Jessica Yoachim, who had reached base on an error, scored from second on a sacrifice bunt from Trisha Tannahill. Jaime Borg scored Nebraska's second run when teammate Devin Porter reached base on a Cal error.
"We were a little disappointed with our defense and we'll have to pick things up for our game tomorrow," Ninemire said. "We know whomever we play tomorrow, it will be a great game. All the teams here have great pitching staffs and are great defensive teams. We're looking forward to tomorrow's championship game."
Woods nearly had a third home run in the sixth inning, hitting a long fly ball to deep right field that was caught just in front of the wall.
The Bears finished with six hits overall. Meyer finished 2-for-2, and sophomore Katie Vickers went 1-for-3. Woods was 2-for-3, and James was 1-for-3.