Mar. 5, 1997
No. 12 Cal Begins Month-Long Road Trip in Arizona
No. 12 Cal starts a month-long road trip with a pair of doubleheaders in Arizona, first against the top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Arizona Wildcats, then at No. 8 Arizona State. The Bears will also play at tournaments in Hawaii (March 13-16) and Sacramento (March 20-23) later this month before returning to Berkeley to host Oregon April 5. Arizona owns a 30-10 all-time series lead on Cal, but the Bears did sweep the Wildcats in Berkeley last season. Cal and ASU met last weekend and the teams split a doubleheader. Overall, Cal leads the series, 30-17.
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 382-206. 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 ARIZONA STATE: Cal split a pair of games with Arizona State March 1 on Strawberry Field, winning the opener, 5-3, but falling in the nightcap, 7-3. In the first game, senior 1B Melanie McCart (Veneta, OR) drove in three runs with a double and a home run to key the offensive attack. Sophomore P Holly Yost (Ripon, CA) scattered seven hits and struck out five for the win. In the second game, Cal rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on RBI hits by 3B Jessica Parker (Sonoma, CA) and 2B Lisa Iancin (Covina, CA). But the Sun Devils scored three times in the sixth inning to re-take the lead for good.
McCART SETS CAREER HOME RUN RECORD: Senior 1B Melanie McCart claimed the Cal career home run record for herself with a two-run blast in the Bears 7-0 win over UCLA Feb. 15. McCart now has 21 career homers, including a team-high three this year, 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 120, adding 21 to the total already this year.
FOUR BEARS OUT WITH INJURIES: Cal will likely play the rest of the season without four members of the team who are out with injuries. The most significant is to senior P Whitney Floyd (San Jose, CA), a two-time All-American who is out indefinitely with a sore Achilles tendon. Her absence means Holly Yost will start most of the games, with Melanie McCart seeing action at pitcher as well. In addition, junior UT Valerie Nicklas (Pittsburg, CA) is out for the year with a pair of concussions, and sophomore 3B Carlyn Rojas (Fairfield, CA) (shoulder) and freshman SS Paige Bowie (Fresno, CA) (hand) will likely miss the entire season, too.
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 11 RBI on the season and she boasts a .490 batting average through 17 games (24-49). 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 75 RBI tying for fourth place on Cal's all-time list.
BEAR NOTES: Cal is one of five Pac-10 teams ranked in the Top 15 this week: No. 1 Arizona, No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Washington, No. 8 Arizona State and No. 12 Cal ... Cal's game at Washington April 19 will be televised live by Fox Sports Net (locally on Bay TV) ... seven of Jessica Parker's 10 hits this year have been doubles ... Holly Yost (7-5) has equaled her victory total from a year ago when she was 7-3 as a freshman ... the Bears have played nine games against teams that have appeared in the Top 25 at some point this season.