BERKELEY -- California wraps up its 2014 regular-season schedule as host to No. 8 Washington in a three-game series. First pitch of the Pac-12 matchup begins Thursday at 3 p.m., followed by games on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
ALL BASES COVERED The entire series against Washington will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Teri Goldberg on the call. For more coverage of this weekend’s games, follow @CalSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates and view live stats at CalBears.com
SCOUTING WASHINGTON The No. 8 Huskies are balanced all-around, with a pitching staff giving up an average of 2.09 earned runs and an offense batting .321 overall and .280 in Pac-12 play. Through 31 appearances in the circle, Bryana Walker has a 1.74 ERA with a 17-8 record and a team-high 131 strikeouts. Walker shares much of the work load in the circle with Kaitlin Inglesby, who owns a 2.23 ERA and 11-4 record with 102 strikeouts through 28 appearances. On the offensive side, Inglesby has drawn a team-high 34 walks with a .293 average, 22 RBI and 26 runs scored. Victoria Hayward owns a team-high .423 average with 40 runs scored and 25 stolen bases, while Kylee Lahners has hit 15 homers with 53 RBI to top the Huskies. Hooch Fagaly is batting .368 overall and leads Washington with a .449 average in conference play.
LAST TIME OUT The Utes swept Cal in three games in Salt Lake City. The Bears got off to a rough start with an 8-0, run-rule loss in six innings to Utah but kept the remaining two games much closer. Cal lost 6-5 in a back-and-forth battle in the second game, then lost 5-2 during the Saturday finale.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND Cal is batting .292 as a team, paced Cheyenne Cordes’ .416 average. Cordes is leading the Bears in nearly every offensive category, including 13 homers, 40 RBI and 43 runs scored. Danielle Henderson, Kylie Reed, Breanna Kostreba and Vanessa Alvarez are all batting above .300 and join Cordes at the top of the order. Cal relies heavily on freshman Stephanie Trzcinski (8-13) in the circle. Trzcinski leads the team with 83 strikeouts over 107.0 innings pitched. Nisa Ontiveros (9-9, 4.00 ERA) and Katie Sutherland-Finch (6-4, 6.37 ERA) both saw action last weekend against Utah.
DUE UP If Cal can lift its record to .500, the Bears will be eligible for the 2014 NCAA Softball Tournament. The 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Championship bracket will be announced Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.
JUNIOR JUGGERNAUTS This season, Cal’s starting core of juniors -- Cheyenne Cordes, Danielle Henderson and Breana Kostreba -- have combined for a whopping 61 of Cal’s 102 extra-base hits, or roughly 60 percent. Based on extra-base hits alone (not counting singles), those three members of the junior class are responsible for 22 percent of Cal’s total bases in 2014.
SENIORS EARN THEIR STARTS Prior to this season, Victoria Jones was the only Golden Bear to regularly start nearly every game in her four-year career. But 2014 has seen head coach Diane Ninemire lean heavily on her veterans, with each of the five seniors earning multiple starts this season. The most notable difference has been with LaRisa Jones, who started just five games prior to her senior season and has now started nearly every game in left field for the Bears. Alex Robben is also finding success. After tallying just five hits in her first two seasons with the Bears, she has already registered eight this season, including both her first and second career doubles.
THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER Freshman Stephanie Trzcinski, who just joined the Bears in January, is already turning heads for her pitching performances in the circle. Despite getting off to an 0-3 start, Trzcinski has since steadily improved and threw her first collegiate no-hitter against Princeton. It was the first California no-hitter since Jolene Henderson’s no-no against Valparaiso at the 2013 NCAA Ann Arbor Regional. Trzcinski also owns all three of Cal’s shutout wins with a career high of 11 strikeouts.
UH OH, OCHO Henderson has become a household name to collegiate softball fans in the country, thanks in part to former Cal ace Jolene Henderson, the winningest pitcher in Golden Bear history. But also making waves in the program record books is little sis Danielle Henderson, who currently ranks fifth for career home runs with 39. She is just three long balls away from tying 2013 graduate and Team USA player Lindsey Ziegenhirt’s 42, and 16 away from tying home run leader Veronica Nelson (55). Henderson also sits fourth in the career record books for walks (107) and third for slugging percentage (.609).
CHEYENNE-ING STAR Leadoff batter Cheyenne Cordes has improved every single year for the Bears, and this year has been no different. Cordes currently leads the team in a myriad of categories -- batting average (.416), runs (43), hits (62), doubles (13), home runs (13), RBI (40) and slugging percentage (.792). The junior also held a team leading 14-game hit streak.
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