BERKELEY -- The California Golden Bears are once again Southern California-bound, this time for a four-game stint at the Mizuno Invitational in Riverside, Calif. Cal will meet Loyola Chicago, Sacred Heart and host UC Riverside from Friday to Sunday, starting with back-to-back games against Loyola (9 a.m.) and Sacred Heart (11:30 a.m.) on Friday. Loyola and Cal meet one more time on Saturday at 9 a.m. before the Bears wrap up the tournament against UC Riverside’s Highlanders on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
ALL BASES COVERED For complete coverage of this weekend’s games, follow @CalSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates, and access live stats via CalBears.com.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND The Bears are batting .291 as a team, paced by Junior Danielle Henderson’s .415 batting average, five home runs and 12 RBI. Freshman Kylie Reed owns a .383 average with a team-leading 18 hits while junior Cheyenne Cordes has scored a team-high 14 runs and recorded 10 walks. Sophomore Nisa Ontiveros and freshman Katie Sutherland-Finch have shouldered much of the pitching-load for the Bears, leading the team with a combined 70.1 innings pitched and 40 strikeouts. Ontiveros owns a 3.02 ERA with a 5-2 record while holding opponents to a .283 batting average. Sutherland-Finch is allowing 4.40 earned runs with a 2-1 record and .300 opponent batting average.
LAST TIME OUT The Bears went 2-2 against four ranked opponents at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., dropping games to No. 12/16 Texas A&M and No. 15 Baylor, but beating No. 24 Notre Dame and No. 25 Texas. The Bears were outscored 28-16 and outhit 46-21 by their opponents over the four games, due in large part to their 13-0 shutout loss to the Baylor Lady Bears. Danielle Henderson finished the weekend batting .333 (4-for-12) with three RBI and one run, thanks to her three run blast in Cal’s 10-6 loss to Texas A&M. Nisa Ontiveros picked up both of the Bears’ wins over the weekend, throwing just her third and fourth career complete-games to secure the wins over Notre Dame and Texas.
SCOUTING LOYOLA CHICAGO Loyola University Chicago enters the Mizuno Invitational 4-9 after going 1-3 at the Rosemont Rumble, 2-3 at the Tiger Invitational and 1-3 at the Blues City Classic. As a whole, the Ramblers own a .218 average, paced by Brie Pasquale’s .333 average, two homers, nine RBI and eight runs scored. Brittany Gardner has made five starts with a 2-4 record and 5.17 ERA over 31.1 innings pitched, striking out 30. Ashley Rogers holds the Ramblers’ best record at 2-2, with a 7.98 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 29.1 innings pitched.
SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE The UC Riverside Highladners have started the season 6-8 after getting swept (0-4) at the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic, winning 4-of-5 at the Fresno State Kick Off, and finishing the Amy S. Harrison Classic 3-2. As a whole, UC Riverside is batting .293, paced by Dionne Anderson’s .436 average, 11 runs scored and 12 walks. Ashley Ercolano is the second Highlander batting above .400 with a .405 average, as she leads the team with four double and seven RBI. Alyssa Razo has owns a 3-5 record with a 2.59 ERA over her 10 appearances (eight starts), striking out 36 batters in 46.0 total innings.
SCOUTING SACRED HEART Sacred Heart returns 14 letterwinners this season, while welcoming 11 freshmen. The Poineers were picked to finish sixth in the 2014 Northeast Conference preseason coaches poll. Sacred Heart finished 2013 in ninth place after going 5-15 in conference play, and 24-30 overall. Senior Annie Dreher, who led the Poineers with 10 homers, 38 RBI, and 31 runs, returns as the offensive standout for Sacred Heart. Junior Kacie Wentworth looks to improve upon last season’s 3.44 ERA and 6-6 record over 73.1 innings pitched.
DUE UP The Bears will head to Hawaii, but not for a midseason tropical vacation. Instead, the Bears look to improve their record with five games featuring Hawaii, Pacific and James Madison at the Hawaii Spring Fling. The action starts Wednesday, March 5 at 8 p.m.
IN THE POLLS For the second consecutive week, Cal is receiving votes in both national polls. In the Pac-12, Cal is eighth ahead of Oregon State, while only Arizona State and UCLA remain undefeated and at the top of the Pac-12 standings.
TWEET, LIKE, REPEAT Join the Bears in the social media realm for a behind-the-scenes look at the team all season long. Follow along with in-game scoring updates, exclusive photos, interviews and more at: Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CalSoftball Twitter: @CalSoftball Instagram: @CalSoftball YouTube: www.YouTube.com/CalSoftball