May 10, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. - With a four-run deficit entering the sixth inning, the Bears staged an incredible comeback but fell short after Washington edged Cal 9-8 with a walk-off home run in the ninth inning Friday evening at Husky Softball Stadium.
Junior Victoria Jones led the way for Cal with two home runs to make it three homers over the span of two days, finishing 2-for-3 with three runs, three RBI and a walk. In her most impressive performance of the season, fellow junior Ashley Decker tallied a career-high three hits in a game to go 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Junior Britt Vonk, sophomore Danielle Henderson and freshman Khala Taylor also successfully connected with the ball to bring the team’s hit count to eight.
Cal used four pitchers in the effort, starting with freshman Nisa Ontiveros who pitched 1.1 innings with six hits, seven runs and two walks before sophomore Nikki Owens replaced her for the final two outs of the second inning. Working her way back into a full pitching game, senior ace Jolene Henderson entered the game for five innings, making her presence felt by allowing only two hits, a run and a walk while fanning five before the game was sent into extra innings. Freshman Vanessa Alvarez (0-2) was charged the loss for giving up the walk-off home run in the ninth inning.
Bryana Walker nearly pitched a full game for the Huskies, save for a portion of the top of the sixth when Kaitlin Inglesby entered the game and allowed two hits, runs and walks. Walker pitched every out of the 9.0 inning game for six runs on six hits with five walks and 11 strikeouts.
Washington got off to a fast start with a leadoff bunt single and a walk from its first two batters. A hit by Inglesby into right field brought the first run across before center fielder Kylee Lahners hit a ball deep over the left field fence for another three runs for a 4-0 total.
Cal struck back with a run in the top of the second by Vonk, who drew a walk, stole second and came home on a single to center field by Decker.
Washington second baseman Kelli Suguro doubled to start the bottom of the second before finishing her trip around the diamond via a sac bunt and RBI single. The Huskies added another two runs on a single by third baseman Kimberlee Souza and bump their lead to 7-1.
At the top of the fourth, Vonk earned her second walk of the evening to get on base before Jones homered to left field and put up two more for Cal, 7-3.
With no runs scored in the fifth inning, the Golden Bears entered the top of the sixth trailing by four runs. A single, walk and another base hit loaded the bases. In a great improvement from recent attempts, four Golden Bears took advantage of the full diamond. With Vonk, Jones and Decker all on base, both Alvarez and sophomore Cheyenne Cordes, who worked Walker at the plate all night, drew walks to force in two runners. Taylor, who has registered a hit in eight of the last 10 games, sent a single to center field to bring in another runner. Senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt pushed her reached-base streak to seven games by drawing a walk to score another Bear and tie the game at 7-7 heading into the final inning.
Cal neared victory for the first time in nine games when Jones knocked a solo shot to left field at the top of the seventh, but a costly error at the bottom the seventh allowed left fielder Whitney Jones to score and sent the game into extra innings.
With a 1-3 record in extra innings prior to the game, the Bears protected home plate in the eighth inning but could not hold the Huskies off in the ninth. Catcher Shawna Wright used a walk-off homer to seal the series win. All four of Cal’s extra-inning losses have come in the ninth inning.
The final game of the series begins at 3 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.