May 18, 1997
Fresno State Defeats Cal, Advances to Softball College World Series
FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno State banged out 14 hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run, as the top-seeded Bulldogs defeated No. 4 seed California, 9-3, in the NCAA regional softball final Sunday. With the victory, Fresno State advances to the College World Series May 22-26 in Oklahoma City.
Fresno State (52-12) jumped out quickly as lead-off hitter Laura Berg tripled on the first pitch of the ballgame. Cal pitcher Holly Yost got the next two batters to ground out, but Angela Cervantez lined an infield single off Yost's shin that brought home Berg with the game's first run.
In the third inning, Fresno State's Robyn Yorke doubled with two outs and Nina Lindenberg followed with her ninth home run of the season to straight away center field, staking the Bulldogs to a 3-0 lead.
The Bears (36-26) had a great opportunity to get back into the game in the bottom of the third inning, but a base-running mistake by Katie May likely prevented two runs from scoring. With one out, May walked and went to second on a single by Karen Bonini. Megumi Takasaki then blasted a ball that flew over left fielder Candice Bowlin's head. However, May hesitated on the base path and was thrown out at the plate. The inning ended on a ground out to second base by Kirsten Drake.
In the fourth inning, Fresno State loaded the bases on a walk, an infield single and a hit batter with one out. Another infield single by Yorke scored the Bulldogs fourth run, and a balk by Yost plated the fifth. Pitcher Amanda Scott then singled to left field, scoring one run, but the inning came to a close when Yorke was thrown out at the plate, giving Fresno State a 6-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs added to their lead in the fifth inning. Once again they loaded the bases with one out, this time on two singles and a fielding error by May at shortstop. Yost hit Berg for the second time in the game to force in a run, making it 7-0.
The Bears finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh, starting the inning with consecutive singles by Jenny Ackley, Melanie McCart and pinch hitter Meredith Mollner to load the bases. Dina Frandsen walked to bring in one run and Jessica Parker singled in another. After Lindsay Parker relieved Scott, a passed ball by catcher Catalina Chavez allowed Cal's third and final run to score.
Yost, the only true pitcher on the Cal staff due to a season-ending injury to the team's other hurler, Whitney Floyd, in February, was pitching her fourth game in three days. Saturday night, Yost had a three-hitter in a 3-2, 9-inning win and an eight-hitter in a 3-1 victory over Long Beach State. But Yost, who finished the year with a 29-21 record, did not have enough left in her right arm to defeat the Bulldogs Sunday, and first baseman McCart relieved her to start the sixth inning.
Lindenberg was named MVP of the regional, while Yost, Takasaki and Parker were voted to the all-tournament team for Cal.
The win for Fresno State avenged a loss to Cal last year in the regional final, when the Bears defeated the Bulldogs, 2-1, to go to the College World Series.
NCAA Softball Regional at Fresno, CA
Fresno State 102 310 2 -- 9 14 0 California 000 000 3 -- 3 8 1
Scott, Parker (7) and Chavez. Yost, McCart (6) and Takasaki. W -- Scott (18-3). L -- Yost (29-21). HR -- Lindenberg (FSU).