March 10, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - Sophomore Cheyenne Cordes topped off a multi-homer week with a grand slam against Saint Mary's to lift the No. 6 Golden Bears to a 9-3 triumph over the Gaels Sunday at the Fresno State Classic. The victory guaranteed Cal a sweep of its weekend opponents and brought the Bears to a 20-2 record with an 19-game win streak.
Cordes went 4-for-4 in Sunday's game while driving in five RBI and scoring four runs herself. One of those hits was a grand slam, and another two were doubles. Senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt also performed well, going 3-for-4 with three RBI.
Senior Jolene Henderson and freshman Nisa Ontiveros split time in the circle. Ontiveros allowed three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out one. Henderson (16-2) earned the win, offering two hits, no runs and no walks but striking out four. Saint Mary's used three of its pitchers, but sophomore Sarah Lira ultimately suffered the loss (0-6).
The Gaels put pressure on the Bears early, tacking two runs on the board at the top of the first with a single by their second baseman Erica Musgrave followed immediately by a long ball from first baseman Megan Smith.
"We met our team goal of going undefeated at the tournament, and to be able to have pressure put on us and be successful is a good thing because we're not going to be getting those big leads once we get into conference play," Cordes said.
Cal cut the lead to 2-1 at the bottom of the first after Cordes singled and advanced to second on a poorly executed fielder's choice by Saint Mary's that allowed both Cordes and freshman Vanessa Alvarezto reach base. Ziegenhirt double to center field and gave Cordes leeway to score.
Saint Mary's Musgrave scored another run at the top of the third, reaching base with a single and moving to second on a single by Smith. The Bears allowed an RBI single from Lira to score Musgrave before swapping out Ontiveros with J. Henderson. The Gaels led 3-1.
The Bears started off the bottom of the third back at the top of the order, and Cordes stepped up with a leadoff double. Cal quickly turned an error by the center fielder into a score as Alvarez singled and advanced to second on the error and Cordes scored. On the next play, Ziegenhirt singled to right field and advanced to second on the throw, this time giving Alvarez her opportunity to score to tie up the game 3-3 before the Gaels brought Lira in to pitch.
"Cheyenne had one of her best weekends. She is really setting a great tone as our leadoff and getting the team started," said California head coach Diane Ninemire.
California finally grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Ashley Decker drew a walk, stole second and advanced to third as freshman Khala Taylor grounded out to third base. Cordes once again produced for the Golden Bears, doubling to left field for an RBI from Decker, and then scoring after Ziegenhirt singled.
The Bears' lead grew by another four runs in the next inning with an explosive at-bat from Cordes. With the bases loaded via a fielder's choice by Jones and two singles from Decker and Taylor, Cordes socked one through left center and cleared the bases, giving Cal a 9-3 lead and securing the win.
The Golden Bears are tropics-bound for their next tournament, the Hawaii Spring Fling in Honolulu. Cal will face No. 20 Baylor, No. 21 Hawaii and Syracuse, plus an opponent to be determined at the four-day tourney.
"We're really going to be tested this weekend. All the teams we're playing are very good teams, and we have to play our very best," Ninemire said. "One error or one key hit could make a difference in the outcome of the game."
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