Mar. 31, 1997
No. 20 Cal Hosts Oregon, Oregon State
THIS WEEK: Oregon (11-17, 0-2) at California (20-15, 3-5), Saturday, April 5, 1 p.m., Berkeley, CA, Strawberry Field.
Oregon State (19-14, 0-2) at California, Sunday, April 6, 1 p.m., Berkeley, CA, Strawberry Field
No. 20 California returns home to Strawberry Field for the first time since March 1 when the Bears host Oregon and 21st-ranked Oregon State this weekend. Cal took two of three games against Oregon last year and owns a 38-20 all-time record against the Ducks. The Bears beat OSU three times in 1996 and lead the series, 41-12.
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 392-214. 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.
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. Now with a team-leading seven homers on the season, McCart has 25 for her career, far outdistancing Pam Reinoehl's No. 2 mark of 19 set from 1980-83. McCart hit four homers as a freshman, five more as a sophomore, then socked a school-record nine last season. Her seven home runs this year tie for No. 2 on Cal's single-season list. In addition, McCart ranks second on Cal's all-time RBI list with 133, adding 34 this year. The Career mark of 146 was set by Gillian Boxx from 1992-95. McCart also needs just 14 more RBI to top junior Jenny Ackley's season record of 47 RBI set in 1995.
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, 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 is out for the year with a pair of concussions, and sophomore 3B Carlyn Rojas (shoulder) and freshman SS Paige Bowie (hand) will likely miss the entire season, too. All four players are expected to apply for medical hardships waivers after the season to gain an addition year of eligibility.
YOST SHOWS ALL-AROUND ABILITY: Sophomore Holly Yost, who has taken over the vast majority of Cal's pitching duties with Whitney Floyd out of the lineup, is showing off her all-around skills this season. As a pitcher, Yost is 13-10 with a 2.49 ERA, 118 strikeouts and five shutouts. She has wins over Top 25 teams UCLA, Oklahoma State and Arizona State (twice). At the plate, Yost is second on the team with a .345 batting average. She also has 7 RBI, 9 walks and a Cal-best .433 on-base average.
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 is hitting a team-high .358 and is second on the squad with 17 RBI. For her career, Ackley has 81 RBI, which puts her third on Cal's all-time list.
BEAR NOTES: Cal is one of five Pac-10 teams ranked in the Top 25 this week: No. 1 Arizona, No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Washington, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 20 Cal and No. 21 Oregon State ... Cal's game at Washington April 19 will be televised live by Fox Sports Net (locally on Bay TV) ... 11 of Jessica Parker's 25 hits this year have been doubles ... Cal pitchers have not allowed a triple this year, while the Bear batters have six ... Cal's 33 stolen bases more than doubles the team's total of 16 last year and is the most for the Bears since the 1993 squad had 49.