Feb. 17, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Aided by a grand slam and a 2 RBI home run from senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt, the No. 8 California Golden Bears (7-2) handed the Portland State Vikings (4-7) a 9-2 decision Sunday at Eller Media Stadium during their final game at the Easton Desert Classic.
Ziegenhirt has been the Bears' hottest hitter as of late, blasting five home runs between the team's five games this week. Her runs in Sunday's game came in back-to-back at-bats, easily helping California secure the W.
"I feel like I'm hitting my stride. I have been working really hard hitting at practice and hitting all week so it's great to see that it's paying off," Ziegenhirt said. "Even though the results isn't always going to be a home run, I'll enjoy it while it lasts. I know now that I have that potential and I won't be doubting myself."
Freshman Nisa Ontiveros earned her second start on the mound before being relieved halfway through the third inning by senior Jolene Henderson. Patient batting resulted in five hits and six walks, and three batters - Ziegenhirt and sophomores Cheyenne Cordes and Breana Kostreba - went two-for-three against the Vikings.
With a run and four hits already in for the Vikings after the top of the first inning, the Golden Bears entered on offense without letting the pressure affect them. Each of the first three batters showed patience through full counts, and that patience was rewarded with a walk for Cordes, who advanced to third after a fielding error by the shortstop put Kostreba on base. Next, sophomore Danielle Henderson earned a walk after another full count, and then junior Victoria Jones walked, forcing Cordes in for the first run. Ziegenhirt approached the plate with bases loaded and facing a 1-2 count smacked one beyond the left field fence to clear the bases.
"I wasn't even thinking that it was bases loaded. I just really wanted to put the ball in play," Ziegenhirt said. "I'm doing the most with the opportunities given to me. I think I'm just seeing the ball well."
In the second inning, California was quick to capitalize on a double from Cordes as junior Britt Vonk stepped up to the plate and hit a triple to drive her in.
At the top of the fourth, the Vikings cut the Bears' lead to four runs after Carly McEachran tripled and subsequently scored on a single to right field by teammate Lauran Bliss, but once again Ziegenhirt had an answer for that. The bottom of the fourth started with a walk for Jones, just in time for Ziegenhirt to thump another deep ball for back-to-back home runs.
The Bears tallied one more run in the bottom of the fourth with a single down the left line from Jones to bring in Kostreba.
"We met our goals this week coming away with four wins. There was good growth throughout the weekend, and our defense remains strong overall," head coach Diane Ninemire said.
The Golden Bears will be back in their home state next weekend to play a challenging field at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs. First up in the four-game slate is Georgia Tech on Friday at 3:30 p.m. PT. On Saturday California will meet Maryland at 2:30 p.m., followed by the squad's first game under the lights at 5 p.m. versus Illinois. The weekend wraps up against Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
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