April 26, 1999
Saturday, May 1 Arizona (40-10, 12-6) 1:00 p.m. - Levine-Fricke FieldThis Week in Cal Softball
Sunday, May 2 Arizona State (36-16, 7-11) 1:00 p.m. - Levine-Fricke Field
*First game televised by Fox Sports Net
The 13th-ranked California softball team concludes its eight-game homestand this weekend when the Golden Bears host No. 3 Arizona and No. 10 Arizona State. Cal split with both schools on its recent road trip to Arizona. On April 16, the Bears defeated the Wildcats, 4-2, in game one behind a two-run homer by DP Holly Yost and a complete game from P Jocelyn Forest. It was Cal's first win in Tucson since 1991. In the second game, Arizona prevailed, 3-2. Overall, the Wildcats own a 38-11 series lead. Cal last defeated the Wildcats in Berkeley in 1996, sweeping a doubleheader (3-1, 3-1). The Bears visited ASU April 17 and again won the opener, this time by a 7-6 score. Cal slugged three home runs (2B Lisa Iancin, 3B Candace Harper, Yost) in the victory. However, the Sun Devils came back for a 1-0 win in the nightcap. Still, Cal holds a 35-21 all-time lead in the series.
Head Coach Diane Ninemire
Diane Ninemire, the winningest softball coach in Golden Bear history, is in her 11th year as head coach at Cal with a school and career record of 477-269. The 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, she has led Cal to 10 NCAA Tournament berths and a pair of College World Series appearances (1992, '96). Ninemire is assisted by John Reeves, who is in his sixth season, and Teri Johnson, who is in her first.
Bears Lose Twice to UCLA, Split with Washington
Cal went 1-3 at home last week, losing twice to No. 1 UCLA (2-6, 2-10) and splitting a pair with fifth-ranked Washington (7-0, 0-2). In the win over the Huskies, LF Paige Bowie had two hits and three RBI, while SS Katie May had a two-run triple. P Jocelyn Forest tossed a five-hitter for her 13th shutout of the season.
Cal Breaks Offensive Drought in Arizona
After getting shut out in three consecutive games at home against the Oregon schools and batting under .200 through the first nine games of the Pac-10 season, the Cal players were beginning to wonder when their next run would come. Fortunately for the Bears, they re-discovered their hitting stroke during their road trip to Arizona in mid-April, batting a combined .291 with four doubles, four home runs and 13 runs scored. Cal came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Arizona April 16 in game one. Although they lost the second game, the Bears still banged out 10 hits in a 3-2 loss. At ASU the next day, Cal pounded out three home runs in a 7-6 victory, then out-hit the Sun Devils, 6-4, in the nightcap. As a comparison, the Bears hit just .198 with no home runs and 18 runs scored in the first nine Pac-10 games, but have batted at a .263 clip with four homers and 24 runs scored in their last eight conference contests.
Cal Ranked 13th in USA Today/NFCA Poll
Cal, which entered the year unranked, has been in the Top 20 every week since the first regular-season poll was released March 3. The Bears hold down the 13th spot in the current poll. Cal's rankings by week: Preseason (NR), March 3 (20), March 10 (16), March 17 (14), March 24 (13), March 31 (14), April 7 (14), April 14 (13), April 21 (13).
Bears Claim Two In-Season Tournaments
Cal posted a 17-3 record in its four tournaments this year, winning both the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale and the Bank of Hawaii Invitational in Honolulu. Cal first played in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., in mid-February and finished with a 5-1 record. A week later, the Bears were 4-1 at the UNLV Softball Classic in Las Vegas. In mid-March, Cal allowed just two runs in six games en route to the NIST title. The Bears were leading Iowa, 3-0, in the fifth inning of the championship game when rain forced cancellation of the contest and Cal was declared the tournament winner. Rain also curtailed the Bears in Hawaii. Cal was 3-0 against the field heading into the title game against Texas A&M, but the game was rained out and the Bears were again named tournament champs (best overall record).
Bears Have Experience Edge with Seven Seniors
With seven seniors on the roster, Cal has as much experience on the roster as it has ever had. Five of the seniors are four-year starters in C Megumi Takasaki, SS Katie May, 1B Kirsten Drake, OF/1B Maiko Bristow and P/DP Holly Yost. OF Valerie Nicklas has been a key reserve for the Bears during her career, while 3B Trisha Hunt joined the team last year after transferring from Maryland.
Iancin Adds Power to Her Punch
Junior 2B Lisa Iancin has always been known as a solid fielder and strong hitter. But this season, she has taken her talents to a higher level. After not committing an error in Pac-10 play last year, she has just two this season. But it is at the plate where her number have taken a bigger jump. Entering the season with a career .316 average, Iancin goes into this week's play batting .325. In addition, she has set career highs for doubles (12), triple (1), home runs (5) and RBI (30). Iancin also leads the team in sacrifices with nine and in slugging percentage at .513.
Forest Puts Up Best Freshman Numbers Since Granger
Freshman P Jocelyn Forest enters this week's games with a 17-5 record and a 1.14 ERA. Her 17 wins represents the most for a Cal freshman since All-American Michele Granger was 24-14 in 1990. Forest has picked up some of Cal's biggest victories on the season, having defeated four Top 10 teams: No. 3 Arizona, No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Arizona State and No. 9 Stanford. She was named to the all-tournament team at the NIST, when she was 2-0 with shutouts of Notre Dame and Texas Tech. For the year, Forest has allowed just 105 hits in 141.0 innings while striking out 147. She also had 13 shutouts.
Cal's Defense Ranks Among Nation's Best
Not only does Cal's boast one of the best pitching staffs in the country, but the Bears also back them up with one of the top fielding units in the NCAA. The trio of Nicole DiSalvio, Jocelyn Forest and Holly Yost has combined for a 1.54 ERA and 20 shutouts on the season. In addition, Cal's defense is fielding at a .971 rate, a clip that ranks in the Top 10 in the country and is just behind school-record pace (.972 in 1980).
Paige Bowie: Cal's Two-Sport Standout
LF Paige Bowie, a sophomore on the softball diamond and a junior on the basketball court, has shown that she can excel in both sports. In basketball, Bowie has led the Bears in scoring both of the last two seasons, including 11.9 ppg this past year. She had a high game of 30 in Cal's win over Northwestern in December. As a sophomore in 1997-98, Bowie was voted team MVP, while she was the recipient of the Saul Becker Scholarship this past year. In addition, she was a first team Pac-10 All-Academic selection in 1999. Bowie, who redshirted in softball in 1997 after sustaining a hand injury at the end of her freshman basketball season, has not shown any difficulty making the transition between sports. Last year, she was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 in softball after batting .290 with 20 RBI. This year, she hit over .400 during her first month and enters this week's play with a team-leading .340 average. Bowie was also named to the all-tournament team at the Hawaii Invitational.
Phillips Provides Big Bat at Bottom of Lineup
Sophomore CF Amber Phillips has given the bottom of Cal's batting order a boost this season with both her power and speed. Now batting .291 on the year, Phillips leads the Bears with five triples and ranks second on the squad with four home runs. She is also second on the team in walks with 16 and in slugging percentage at .496. A year ago as a freshman, Phillips had only one triple and did not homer while batting .290.
DiSalvio Opens with Perfect Game
Sophomore P Nicole DiSalvio became the first Cal pitcher in six years to toss a perfect game when she blanked San Jose State, 8-0, in the season-opener Feb. 3. DiSalvio did not allow a ball out of the infield and struck out three. The last player to throw a perfect game for Cal was Olympian Michele Granger, who defeated Nebraska, 8-0, on March 21, 1993. DiSalvio, though, did not stop with her San Jose State performance as she no-hit Georgia, 3-0, on the final day of the Fiesta Bowl Classic. She nearly had another no-hitter March 19 when he held Hawaii without a hit through 6 2/3 innings before finishing with a one-hitter. Granger, who had nine no-hitters in '93, was the last Cal pitcher to throw more than one in a season.
Drake Tries Fourth Position in Four Seasons
If ever there could be a player who fits the mold of a utility player, it would have to be senior 1B Kirsten Drake. After beginning her Cal career as a shortstop in 1995, Drake moved over to second base her sophomore season in '96. As a junior, Drake played right field for the Bears, but then had to sit out all of 1998 following offseason shoulder surgery. This year, she has come back to take over starting first base duties. Although Drake missed a month with a sprained knee suffered in early March, she continues to post the highest batting average of her career at .329.
Golden Bear Notes
P Nicole DiSalvio, OF Pauline Due-as, 2B Lisa Iancin and OF Paige Bowie were named to the all-tournament team at the Hawaii Invitational