April 6, 2004
Berkeley, Calif. -
THIS WEEK: Friday, April 9 Stanford Levine-Fricke Field 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 10 Stanford Smith Family Stadium 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 10 Stanford Smith Family Stadium TBA
WHAT'S ON TAP: The fifth-ranked Golden Bears (33-5, 1-2 Pac-10) enter the second weekend of conference play with three dates against No. 9 Stanford (29-8, 2-1 Pac-10). Cal entertains the Cardinal on Friday, April 9, at 2 p.m. and visits Stanford for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 10, beginning at 2 p.m.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL: Stanford has revenge on its mind after having seen the Bears sweep the season series last year in three tight ball games (2-1, 1-0, 2-1). This year's games figure to be tight contests as well, with the Cardinal most likely tossing senior ace Dana Sorenson in two the three games. Sorenson most recently defeated Oregon State and Oregon, striking out 17 and giving up a combined one run in two complete game victories. Leftfielder Jackie Rinehart has had no trouble adjusting to the collegiate game. The freshman is the Cardinal sparkplug in the leadoff spot, hitting .429 (51-119) with a team-leading 28 runs scored. Lauren Lappin does most of the damage as the club's cleanup hitter with a .349 (37-106) batting average and a team-leading 30 RBI. Cal owns the all-time series edge at 46-12 over Stanford.
YOU'RE NOT IN HAWAII ANYMORE: Cal got a rude awakening this weekend, playing its first three conference games. The Bears managed to go 1-2 against the Oregon schools, dropping their one contest with Oregon (4-0) and splitting the series with Oregon State (W 4-1, L4-2). Kristina Thorson tossed a complete game, eight-strikeout performance for the Bears only win, while Kelly Anderson suffered two losses. Unable to find the big inning, Cal was forced to nibble away, manufacturing runs. Lindsay James was in the middle of many of the California rallies. Hitting second in the order, James batted .500 (5-10) with two runs, one RBI and three steals.
INSIDE THE PAC-10: In arguably the toughest conference in the country, the Golden Bears have done more than hold their own. Entering conference play, several Cal players are having outstanding seasons. Haley Woods has been one of the most dominant cleanup hitters in the country. She is tied for fourth in the conference in home runs with 11 and fourth in RBI with 42. In her second season, junior Vicky Galindo is tied for tenth in the conference in batting average at .389, third in runs scored with 35, and tied for fourth in stolen bases with 17. On the pitching side, Anderson and Thorson's numbers speak for themselves. Anderson is second among Pac-10 hurlers in wins with 18 and eighth in ERA at 1.20. Thorson is tied for sixth in wins with 15, third in ERA at 0.84 and tied for second in saves with four.
JAMES KEEPS HITTING: One thing the Bears can count on this season is James taking her hacks at the plate. She has now hit safely in 33 out of the 37 games she has played in, including a 27-game hitting streak. After the streak ended March 20 against Northwestern in Hawaii, James went on to hit safely in her last four games. She carries a .370 average (47-127) into this week's action.
SPENCER GETS HER MONEY'S WORTH: Chelsea Spencer had one of her better weeks at the plate, batting .400 (4-10) in three games. But what was more impressive was her approach at the dish. With the Bears down 3-1 and James aboard in front of her, Spencer had some of the best cuts of the day against Beavers' ace Monica Hoffman. She fouled off pitch after pitch, before rocketing a ground ball in the hole at short. Although shortstop Kelly Petersen made a fine play to retire Spencer, the Bears' shortstop showed the mental fortitude in that at bat, and each of her other at bats last weekend that will serve her and the Bears well against tough conference competition.
RUNNING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: With 17 steals apiece 38 games into the season, Galindo and James have terrorized opposing batteries. Both figure to challenge the school's single season steals held by Keri Kropke, who stole 28 bags in 1992. With 19 games left on the schedule, Kropke could be third on the Bears' all-time steals list by the end of the season. Both Galindo and James showed they would not relent in conference play last weekend, stealing two and three bases, respectively.