April 7, 1997
Cal Softball Visits UCLA, Hosts Stanford
THIS WEEK: California (23-16, 6-6) at UCLA (29-7, 9-3), Wednesday, April 9, 1 p.m., Los Angeles, CA
No. 20 California continues with Pac-10 play this week when the Bears visit third-ranked UCLA Wednesday before hosting Stanford Saturday. Cal and UCLA split a doubleheader earlier this year in Berkeley with the Bears taking game one, 7-0, on a three-hitter by P Holly Yost. The Bruins claimed the nightcap, 11-1, and lead the all-time series, 44-11. Cal owns a 31-1 series lead over Stanford, with the Bears winning three of four matchups last year.
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 395-215. 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.
LAST WEEK: Cal went 3-1, splitting a doubleheader with Oregon and sweeping a pair from Oregon State. Against the Ducks Saturday, P Holly Yost tossed a four-hit shutout in game one, striking out five, in a 4-0 win. The Bears scored three times in the first inning, keyed by a two-run double by Yost. In the second game, Cal lost 13-8 in a contest that featured a combined six hit batters, six errors, 12 walks and four home runs. Oregon broke an 8-8 tie in the fifth inning with two runs and added three more runs in the sixth to clinch the win. On Sunday, Yost threw back-to-back shutouts at Oregon State, winning 3-0 on a three-hitter and 10-0 on a two-hitter. In the opener, Cal scored all three of its runs in the fifth inning, with two runners crossing the plate when 1B Melanie McCart and Yost were hit by pitches with the bases loaded. In game two, Cal exploded for 16 hits in a game shortened to six innings. McCart drove in four runs with a double and a single, while Yost and SS Katie May each had two RBI.
OUCH, THAT HURTS: Cal set one of its least popular team records over the weekend when the Bears broke the school mark for most times hit by a pitch. Cal batters were hit eight times during a doubleheader with Oregon Saturday and four more times against Oregon State Sunday. The Bears have now been hit 23 times on the year, snapping the record of 22 times hit by a pitch set in both 1978 and '89. P Holly Yost leads the way, being hit seven times. The sophomore has been hit 10 times in her career, just one shy of Marielle Vaughn's mark of 11 established in 1989.
McCART SETS CAREER HOME RUN RECORD, NEARS RBI MARK: With eight home runs on the season, senior 1B Melanie McCart now has 26 round-trippers for her career, easily outdistancing Pam Reinoehl (19 homers from 1980-83) for Cal's all-time record. McCart hit four homers as a freshman, five more as a sophomore, then socked a school-record nine last season. Her eight home runs this year ranks No. 2 on Cal's single-season list. In addition, McCart ranks second on Cal's all-time RBI chart with 140, adding 41 this year. The career mark of 146 was set by Gillian Boxx from 1992-95. McCart also needs just 7 more RBI to top junior Jenny Ackley's season record of 47 RBI set in 1995. Finally, McCart is batting a career-high .319 this year.
FOUR BEARS OUT WITH INJURIES: Cal will 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 with an Achilles tendon injury. Floyd was 2-2 with a 1.56 ERA this year before she was sidelined. Also a two-time first team All-Pac-10 choice, she has a career record of 61-38. In addition, junior UT Valerie Nicklas is out for the year with a pair of concussions, and sophomore 3B Carlyn Rojas (shoulder surgery) and freshman SS Paige Bowie (hand surgery) will 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 16-11 with a 2.52 ERA, 132 strikeouts and eight 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 .355 batting average. She also has 13 RBI, 9 walks and a Cal-best .455 on-base average.
ACKLEY BACK TO FRESHMAN FORM: Sophomore DP/1B Jenny Ackley, who went through a slump in 1996 when she batted .277 with 17 RBI, seems to have regained the form of her freshman year when she was named a second team All-American. This season, Ackley is batting a team-high .356 with seven doubles and 18 RBI. She is second on the team with 12 walks and has struck out just six times in 135 plate appearances. As a freshman in 1995, Ackley batted .353 with a school-record 47 RBI.
McCART ADDS PITCHING TO HER REPERTOIRE: With P Whitney Floyd out for the year, senior 1B Melanie McCart has become Cal's second pitcher this season. So far, she has appeared in 14 games with nine starts and is 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA. McCart shut out Michigan State, 4-0, on March 21 at the Capital Classic in Sacramento. She also had wins over New Mexico, Illinois State, Creighton and Hawaii. McCart did not pitch last year, but she did appear in one game as a freshman and four games a sophomore, all in relief and compiling a 2.40 ERA in 11.7 innings.
THEFT RATE RISES IN '97: Through Cal's first 39 games this year, the Bears have stolen 36 bases in 48 attempts. Although that total may not be high by Pac-10 standards, it is the most stolen bases for Cal since the team stole 49 in 1993. C Megumi Takasaki leads the way with seven steals in eight attempts, while LF Karen Bonini is six-for-seven. In addition, 2B Lisa Iancin and PR Meredith Mollner each have five steals.
DRAKE AT THIRD POSITION IN THREE YEARS: Junior OF Kirsten Drake is playing her third position in three seasons with the Bears. As a freshman, Drake started at shortstop, batting .292 in 59 games. Last year, she again began at short before moving over to second base midway through the season. This year, Drake has played in 38 of 39 games in right field and is tied for the team lead among outfielders with four assists. At the plate, Drake is batting .255 and has a team-best 15 sacrifice bunts.
BEAR NOTES: Cal's game at Washington April 19 will be televised live by Fox Sports Net (locally on Bay TV) ... 11 of 3B Jessica Parker's 28 hits this year have been doubles ... Cal pitchers have not allowed a triple this year, while the Bear batters have six.