May 12, 1997
Cal Meets Fresno State in NCAA Regional
THIS WEEK: NCAA Regional at Fresno State, May 16-18, Fresno, CA
Fri., May 16 -- Game 1: Cal State Northridge (34-20-2) vs. Long Beach State (43-18-1), 5 p.m. Game 2: California (34-24) vs. Fresno State (49-12), 7:30 p.m. Sat., May 17 -- Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 1 p.m. Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 3 p.m. Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 6 p.m. Sun., May 18 -- Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 1 p.m. Game 7: if necessary, 3 p.m.
Cal earned its 12th consecutive and 13th overall bid to the NCAA Tournament and will play at Fresno State in its regional opener Friday night. The Golden Bears are seeded fourth in the double-elimination regional field, while Fresno State is the top seed. In addition, second-seeded Cal State Northridge will meet third-seeded Long Beach State in the other first-round game. Although Friday's game marks Cal's first matchup with Fresno State this year, the Bears are very familiar with the Bulldogs in postseason play as the two teams are in the same regional for the eighth time in the last 11 years. Cal is also making its seventh visit to Fresno for an NCAA regional. Last year in Fresno, Cal upset the top-seeded Bulldogs to advance to the College World Series. The NCAA Tournament features 32 teams placed into eight four-team regionals. The regional winners advance to the CWS, which will be May 22-26 in Oklahoma City.
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 406-223. The 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, she has led Cal to 10 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.
CAL VERSUS REGIONAL OPPONENTS: Cal has not played any of its regional opponents in 1997, but the Bears have long histories with all three teams. Cal and Fresno State will meet for the 90th time Friday, with the Bulldogs owning a 55-34 series lead. In NCAA Tournament play, Fresno State is 10-3 vs. Cal, but the Bears beat the Bulldogs twice last year in Fresno (1-0 and 2-1 in 9 innings) to advance to the College World Series. The Bears have a 10-9 series edge over Long Beach State, last winning 4-1 in the first round of the "96 regional. Overall, the 49ers are 2-2 vs. Cal in the NCAA Tournament, including a regional title in Berkeley in 1993. Cal State Northridge is 8-7 all-time against Cal, but the Bears took the most recent meeting, 5-0, on Feb. 25, 1996.
FRESNO RE-VISITED: Cal is making its seventh trip to Fresno for a regional in the last 11 years, but the Bears have not fared too well on the Bulldogs home field. Prior to last year's three straight wins that sent Cal to the College World Series, the Bears were just 2-10 in regional play in Fresno, with an 8-0 victory over Central Michigan in 1994 and a 3-0 win over Fresno State in 1988. Cal is just 3-10 against Fresno State in NCAA regional action. Below is a look at Cal's year-by-year regional results in Fresno.
1996 -- Regional champ 1989 Cal 4, Long Beach State 1 Fresno State 1, Cal 0 (10 innings) Cal 1, Fresno State 0 Fresno State 6, Cal 0 Cal 2, Fresno State 1 (9 innings) 1994 1988 Oregon 3, Cal 2 Cal 3, Fresno State 0 (8 innings) Cal 8, Central Michigan 0 (6 innings) Fresno State 3, Cal 0 Oregon 2, Cal 1 (20 innings) Fresno State 5, Cal 2 1991 1987 Fresno State 2, Cal 0 Fresno State 3, Cal 0 Fresno State 8, Cal 1 Fresno State 5, Cal 2
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 27-19 with a 2.66 ERA, 176 strikeouts and 11 shutouts. She has wins over Top 25 teams UCLA, Oklahoma State, Washington, Utah, Arizona State (twice) and New Mexico State (twice). The Pac-10 leader in innings with 292.3, Yost has pitched in 52 of Cal's 58 games this season, breaking Michele Granger's school record for appearances (48 in '93). At the plate, Yost is batting a team-high .327 with three homers and 23 RBI. Two weeks ago, she had the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Cal over No. 6 Washington, 6-5.
NINEMIRE WINS 400TH: Cal head coach Diane Ninemire won the 400th game of her career with the Bears 2-0 victory in game one over New Mexico State April 27. Now in her 10th season as head coach at Cal, Ninemire has a career record of 406-223. For active coaches with 10 years or less experience, Ninemire has more wins than any other head coach in NCAA Division I.
OUCH, THAT HURTS: Cal has set one of its least popular team records this year as the Bears have broken the school mark for most times hit by a pitch with 30. The old mark was 22 times hit in both 1978 and '89. Cal had its most painful weekend April 5-6 when Bear batters were hit 12 times by Oregon and Oregon State pitchers, including five times in one game against the Ducks. Individually, P Holly Yost leads the way, being hit eight times. The sophomore has been hit 11 times in her career, tying her with Marielle Vaughn (1989) for the Cal career record. On the flip side, Cal pitchers have also set a school record, plunking 18 opposing batters.
McCART RE-WRITES CAL RECORD BOOK: Senior 1B Melanie McCart, who is batting a career-best .325 this season, has broken or tied six Cal offensive records in 1997: single-season and career home runs, single-season and career RBI, and single-season and career doubles. McCart slugged her 10th homer of the year against Arizona April 26 to push her ahead of her mark of nine home runs set last year. For her career, McCart's 28 round-trippers are nearly 10 more than second-place Pam Reinoehl had. As for RBI, McCart has 54 this year and her career total of 153 edges out four-time All-American Gillian Boxx on Cal's all-time last. In addition, McCart has tied teammate Jessica Parker and Sue Jacquez with 15 doubles this year. In her career, McCart has a Cal-best 46 doubles.
Melanie McCart's School Records Season Home Runs Career Home Runs Melanie McCart ('97) -- 10 Melanie McCart ('94-97) -- 28 Melanie McCart ('96) -- 9 Pam Reinoehl ('80-83) -- 19 Gillian Boxx ('95) -- 7 Corinne Foo ('77-80) -- 13 Season RBI Career RBI Melanie McCart ('97) -- 54 Melanie McCart ('94-97) -- 153 Jenny Ackley ('95) -- 47 Gillian Boxx ('92-95) -- 146 Gillian Boxx ('93) -- 44 Jessica Parker ('93-97) -- 92 Season Doubles Career Doubles Melanie McCart ('97) -- 15 Melanie McCart ('94-97) -- 46 Jessica Parker ('97) -- 15 Gillian Boxx ('92-95) -- 44 Melanie McCart ('95) -- 15 Jessica Parker ('93-97) -- 41 Career Putouts Melanie McCart ('94-97) -- 1468 Lidia Stiglich ('89-92) -- 1396 Gillian Boxx ('92-95) -- 1389
FOUR BEARS OUT WITH INJURIES: Cal has played almost the entire season without four key 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 knee injury. Floyd was 2-2 with a 1.56 ERA this year before she was sidelined in early February. Also a two-time first team All-Pac-10 choice, Floyd has a career record of 61-38, including a 22-13 mark with a 1.40 ERA in '96 when she tossed three complete-game victories in the NCAA regional. 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.
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 20 games (72.0 innings) with 11 starts and is 5-3 with a 3.79 ERA. McCart shut out NCAA qualifier Michigan State, 4-0, on March 21 at the Capital Classic in Sacramento. She also has 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.
OLYMPIANS HONORED AT STRAWBERRY FIELD: Prior to Cal's May 4 doubleheader with Washington, Cal honored three of its former softball players who participated in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta: P Michele Granger, C Gillian Boxx and P Lisa Martinez. Both Granger and Boxx helped the United States to the gold medal, while Martinez was a member of the Puerto Rican squad.
THEFT RATE RISES IN '97: Through Cal's 58 games this year, the Bears have stolen 47 bases in 63 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. Freshman 2B Lisa Iancin leads the way with nine steals in 13 attempts, while C Megumi Takasaki and OF Karen Bonini have seven steals each.
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 52 games in right field (plus one at second base) and leads all outfielders with six assists. At the plate, Drake is batting .285 and has a team-best 24 sacrifice bunts. Last weekend at Oregon State and Oregon, Drake was 6-for-15 with two homers, a double, a triple and six RBI.
BEAR NOTES: Freshman 2B Lisa Iancin has 10 hits in her last four games (15 AB, .667) to raise her season batting average to .313 ... as a team, Cal is hitting .281, up from just .252 last year ... the Bears have 22 home runs this season, just shy of the school record of 24 set last year ... with 100 total bases, Melanie McCart has become just the fourth Cal player to reach the century mark in a season, joining Kendall Richards (136 in '94), Gillian Boxx (132 in '95) and Jenny Ackley (102 in '95) ... RF Kirsten Drake has 24 sacrifices this year, the most for the Bears since Laura Terada had 26 in 1995 and just three shy of Lynda Wills' 1988 school record of 27 ... Cal has committed 20 fewer errors compared to last season (61-81) to raise it fielding average to .965, which ranks among the top 15 in the nation ... Cal is one of five Pac-10 teams to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, joining Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington.