May 17, 1997
Cal Advances to NCAA Regional Final in Softball
FRESNO, Calif. -- Facing elmination from the NCAA Tournament with its next loss, the Cal softball team won two games Saturday to advance to the regional championship game Sunday against top-seeded Fresno State.
Sophomore pitcher Holly Yost tossed a pair of complete games as the Golden Bears defeated both Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State Saturday to stay alive in the NCAA regional. The fourth-seeded Bears will need to beat Fresno State twice to advance to the College World Series.
Cal started the day with a 3-2, nine inning win over Northridge, then came back to beat Long Beach State, 3-1. Fresno State, which is ranked fourth in the nation, beat Cal, 7-0, Friday night in the regional opener.
"This team showed a lot of character coming back from Friday's loss to Fresno State," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "We just played with a lot of heart today. I can't say enough about Holly Yost. I know her arm is hurting her, but she goes out there every inning giving it her all. I know she'll give us everything she has against Fresno. If she pitches well and we get some key hits, it could be anybody's game."
In Saturday's first game against No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge, shortstop Katie May scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Megumi Takasaki in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Cal to the win, eliminating the Matadors from the tournament.
Northridge (34-22-2) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, which started when Elizabeth Sanches led off with a double to right-center field and Cheri Shinn drew a walk. After a fielding error by second baseman Kirsten Drake loaded the bases, Shelby Wilcox looped an RBI single into short center field. Yost then induced a ground out and a pop up to keep the Matadors from doing further damage.
Cal tied the score in the bottom of the fifth inning without the benefit of a base hit. Left fielder Karen Bonini reached on an error by Northridge shortstop Ashlie Hayes and stole second base. After Takasaki sacrificed her to third, Bonini scored on a passed ball by catcher Jennifer Parker.
Northridge, though, answered in the top of the sixth inning with its second run. Yost hit Laura Redding with a pitch to start the inning, then committed a fielding error on a comebacker by Shinn. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Wilcox hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Redding.
The Bears responded in the bottom of the inning, tying the score at 2-2. Right fielder Dina Frandsen was safe on a fielder's choice and came all the way around to score on a double to left-center field by third baseman Jessica Parker. For Parker, it was her school-record 16th double of the season.
In the ninth inning, May led off with a double that landed at the base of the center field fence. After a Bonini sacrifice pushed May to third base, Takasaki hit a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to score May.
Yost, who tossed a three-hit complete game, did not allow a hit after the second inning in winning her 28th game of the year.
Against No. 3 seed Long Beach State (44-20-1), the 49ers tallied a run in the bottom of the first inning on a single, a walk and an RBI base hit to center field by shortstop Deidra Oliver.
The Bears gained a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning. May started the rally with a leadoff walk. One out later, Takasaki was hit by a pitch and Drake singled home May, with Takasaki and Drake moving to second and third on the throw to the plate. Designated player Jenny Ackley then scored both runners with a single up the middle.
Yost again went the distance, scattering seven hits as she improved to 29-20. She retired the last seven batters she faced to eliminate the 49ers.
Cal played both games without starting second baseman Lisa Iancin, who sprained her left ankle in pre-game warmups.
Last year, Cal beat Fresno State twice in Fresno to advance to the College World Series, defeating the Bulldogs in a winner's bracket game on Saturday and beat them again in the Sunday finale.
NCAA Softball Regional at Fresno, CA
Game 5 California 000 030 0 -- 3 5 0 Long Beach State 100 000 0 -- 1 7 1
Yost and Takasaki. Miner, Dietrich (5) and Johnson. W -- Yost (29-20). L -- Miner (17-8).
Game 4 Cal State Northridge 010 001 000 -- 2 3 1 California 000 011 001 -- 3 8 5
Shinn, Glaister (5) and Parker. Yost and Takasaki. W -- Yost (28-20). L -- Glaister (22-12).
Game 3 result: Fresno State 5, Long Beach State 2 (10 innings)
Fresno State (51-12)
Long Beach State (44-20-1)
Cal State Northridge (34-22-2)