BERKELEY -- With a 3-1 season-opening weekend in the books, No. 23 Cal sets its sights on San Diego for the Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State beginning Friday. Tournament action begins Friday at 3 p.m. vs. South Dakota with a nightcap set for 7 p.m. against San Diego State. On Saturday, the Golden Bears meet Texas State (4:30 p.m.) and Cal State Fullerton (7 p.m.), and wrap up with St. Mary’s on Sunday at 11 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. View behind-the-scenes photos on the @CalSoftball Instagram.
LAST TIME OUT
Cal finished 3-1 in its first tournament of 2014 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. The Bears posted strong wins against New Mexico (8-2), Bradley (10-3) and Portland State (8-3), but lost to Creighton (6-4) following a slow start. The team hit five home runs in opening weekend, highlighted by a grand slam from Jordan Wallace as well as two long balls from Victoria Jones. Of the seven players making starts in all four games, Danielle Henderson led the team with a .462 (6-for-13) batting average and on the defensive side, Nisa Ontiveros claimed two of Cal’s three wins.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
Cal’s top of the lineup remained the same through all four games at the Kajikawa Classic, but head coach Diane Ninemire continues to make tweaks to its latter half. Vanessa Alvarez, Ashley Decker and Alleah Laxamana all saw time between spots No. 7-9 and will continue to try to solidify a spot as a starter. Laxamana finished the weekend batting .667 (4-for-6) in two starts, while Alvarez hit .500 (2-for-4). On the pitching side, Nisa Ontiveros claimed two of Cal’s three wins in 14 innings pitched and Katie Sutherland-Finch trailed slightly behind with one win and 12.1 innings pitched. Cal’s veteran core of Danielle Henderson, Cheyenne Cordes and Victoria Jones all contributed a home run in opening weekend.
SCOUTING SOUTH DAKOTA
South Dakota went 3-0 in its opening weekend with wins over Chattanooga, Kansas and Long Island. Yvon Minogue owns a team-leading .800 (4-for-5) with four walks, two runs, a double and a triple. Four other Coyotes are batting .300 or better, including Morgan Hancock at .300 with a team-leading four RBI. Madison Frain started two of South Dakota's three games, allowing four earned runs, 12 hits and 10 walks for a 1.91 ERA in almost 15 innings pitched.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
San Diego State also started its season at the Kajikawa Classic, where the Aztecs defeated Appalachian State (7-6 in eight innings), Oregon State (6-3), Cal Poly (6-4) and Seattle (7-2), while losing to Stanford (13-1 in five innings). Three Aztecs are batting over .400 - Sydnee Cable (.462), Katie Mathis (.429) and Patrice Jackson (.417). Jackson hit three homers with seven RBIs, five runs and six walks, while Hayley Miles and Kaitlin Connors have each contributed two homers. Danielle O’Toole is perfect in the circle at 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA over 20 2/3 innings, striking out 19 and holding opponents to a .215 average.
SCOUTING TEXAS STATE
Texas State started the season 4-1, first going 3-1 at their own 2014 Centurylink Classic before taking down Houston Baptist 7-6 in a midweek meeting Wednesday. As a whole, the Bobcats are batting .341, paced by Kendall Wiley's .615, two home runs, two doubles and eight RBI. Kelli Baker leads the team in runs scored with six. Kaylee Garner owns three starts in the circle for a 4.67 ERA in 12 innings, but Texas State's Rayn House is a perfect 3-0 as a reliever with 17 innings pitched and a 2.06 ERA.
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON
Cal State Fullerton is now receiving votes in the NFCA poll following a perfect 5-0 start at its own Easton Tournament. Fullerton's most notable win came against then-No. 2 Oklahoma, who the Titans downed 3-1, plus three run-rule wins over Loyola Marymount (9-0 in five), Santa Clara (8-0 in five) and George Washington (9-0 in six). The Titans also beat Pittsburgh 7-4 and are most recently coming off a 4-2 win over San Diego on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Fullerton's offense is batting .355 and is led by Missy Taukeiaho's .625 average and three home runs. Eliza Crawford also owns three homers, while Ariel Tsuchiyama is tied with Taukeiaho's nine RBI. Four Fullerton pitchers have taken the mound, holding opponents to a combined .177 batting average and 1.14 ERA.
SCOUTING ST. MARY'S
The most familiar of all of Cal's Campbell/Cartier Classic opponents, East Bay foe St. Mary's brings a 2-3 start to SoCal following losses to UTEP (6-2), New Mexico State (6-4) and Florida State (12-3). The Gaels later defeated UTEP 11-10 in nine innings and New Mexico State 3-2 for their first two wins of the season. Sarah Lira and Lujane Mussadi return in the circle, combining for a 5.10 ERA with seven strikeouts and 25 earned runs while allowing 45 hits and 14 walks. In five starts Brittany Sabatini carries a .421 batting average, including two doubles, four runs scored and two RBI. Andrea Hazel and Giana Bilotta are the only Gaels to tab a home run so far.
Cal is set for the ultra-competitive Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., where the Golden Bears seek wins against Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Baylor and Texas, all four of whom snagged a 2013 NCAA Tournament berth. Texas advanced to as far as the Women’s College World Series, while Texas A&M reached Super Regionals and Notre Dame and Baylor were defeated in their Regional brackets.
IN THE POLLS
The Bears check in at No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 25 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. In the Pac 12, the Bears sit behind undefeated Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Arizona. Oregon also registered one loss in opening weekend, while Oregon State and Utah posted three losses each.
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