Feb. 19, 1997
Cal Travels to UNLV Tournament
This Week: at UNLV Spring Fling, Friday-Sunday, Feb. 21-23, Las Vegas, NV
Eighth-ranked Cal hits the road this week, traveling to Las Vegas for the UNLV Spring Fling Friday through Sunday. Cal opens with New Mexico Friday, then plays host and 13th-ranked UNLV. On Saturday, Cal meets Utah State before playing No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Bears conclude pool play with Utah Sunday afternoon.
Head Coach Diane Ninemire: Diane Ninemire, the winningest softball coach in Golden Bear history, is in her 10th year as head coach at Cal with a school and career record of 378-203. The 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, she has led Cal to nine NCAA Tournament berths and a pair of College World Series appearances (1992, '96). Ninemire is assisted by John Reeves, who is in his fourth season.
Bears Split With No. 2 Ucla: Cal opened the Pac-10 season Feb. 15 with a home doubleheader against second-ranked UCLA. The Bears took the first game, 7-0, but fell 11-1 in the nightcap. In the opener, sophomore P Holly Yost (Ripon, CA) did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, finishing with a three-hitter. With a 2-0 lead entering the third inning, Cal 1B Melanie McCart (Veneta, OR) slammed a two-run homer to left field. McCart came up big again in the sixth inning, this time with a three-run double to give her 5 RBI on the afternoon.
McCart Sets Career Home Run Record: Senior 1B Melanie McCart claimed the Cal career home run record for herself with a two-run blast against UCLA last Saturday. McCart now has 20 career homers, topping the mark of 19 set by Pam Reinoehl from 1980-83. McCart hit four homers as a freshman, five more as a sophomore, then exploded for a school-record nine last season. She also ranks second on Cal's all-time RBI list with 111, including a team-high 12 this year.
Floyd Out With Achilles Injury: Senior P Whitney Floyd (San Jose, CA) is out for at least another week with an injury to her Achilles tendon. The two-time All-American did not pitch against UCLA last weekend and is not expected to throw at the UNLV tournament. In the interim, P Holly Yost will toss a majority of the games, while Cal pitching coach John Reeves is working with Melanie McCart to get her back into pitching shape. McCart had a 0.00 ERA as a senior in high school and has pitched in five games earlier in her Cal career.
Ackley Off To Fast Start: Junior DP Jenny Ackley (Stockton, CA) seems to have regained the form that saw her earn second team All-America honors as a freshman in 1995 (.353, 47 RBI). After a sub-par 1996 when she batted just .277 with 17 RBI, Ackley already has eight RBI on the season and she boasts a .500 batting average through 10 games (13-26). She had three RBI in Cal's opener against Santa Clara, then had game-winning RBIs in the second game against the Spartans and against San Jose State. For her career, Ackley has 72 RBI and needs just two more to move into a tie for fourth place on Cal's all-time list.
Bears Ranked Eighth In Preseason Poll: Cal is ranked eighth in the preseason USA Today/NFCA poll. Last year, the Bears finished the season sixth in the final rankings after not moving above 10th during the regular season. Five Pac-10 teams are rated in the preseason: No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 8 Cal and No. 25 Arizona State.
Bear Notes: Cal was picked fourth in the conference in a preseason vote of the Pac-10 coaches, behind Arizona, UCLA and Washington ... Cal returns 14 of 15 letterwinners from last year's team ... three freshmen have joined the team for 1997: IF Lisa Iancin (Covina, CA), IF Paige Bowie (Fresno, CA), OF Meredith Mollner (Salinas, CA) ... Bowie, however, is out until at least early April after undergoing surgery to her left hand ... Cal's game at Washington April 19 will be televised live by Fox Sports Net (locally on Bay TV).