Feb. 23, 2013
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - No. 8 California reached 10 wins Saturday, beating Maryland 3-2 and Illinois 5-0 in a doubleheader at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs.
Freshman Nisa Ontiveros (2-0) and senior Jolene Henderson (8-2) each earned a win in the circle. Against Illinois, Henderson fanned eight batters without allowing a single walk, and she also finished the day as the team's leading hitter, batting .667 with two-for-three with a home run and three RBI. Fellow senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt also had another great showing at the plate with her own homer and three RBI after going three-for-seven. Henderson and Ziegenhirt each scored two runs for California.
It was a solid effort for the Bears against Maryland, but one that could have been much higher-scoring had Cal been able to take more advantage of its nine hits and 12 runners left on base. The Terrapins used three different pitchers against the Bears, who combined for just four strikeouts.
Cal's home run leader Ziegenhirt struck early against Maryland. After sophomore Cheyenne Cordes was hit by a pitch and sophomore Breana Kostreba walked, Ziegenhirt used her first at-bat to smash a ball deep through right field, making it a quick 3-0 score.
The game turned into a defensive battle throughout the next several innings. Cal loaded the bases at the top of the fifth but failed to benefit after the next two batters struck out swinging. Things looked a little rocky for California at the bottom of the fifth. Maryland's Juli Strange doubled and teammate Nikki Maier, quickly followed with a homer past right field. Just like that, Maryland was back in the game with Cal only leading by one. Henderson came in to relieve Ontiveros, pitching nearly three innings without allowing a hit or walk. The Bears played stout defense to prevent any additional runs from the Terps, leaving the score at 3-2 to end the game.
The offensive unit looked sharper versus the Illini, totaling five runs off of eight hits and no strikeouts despite Illinois ace Shelese Arnold only giving up one walk.
The first run of the night came from Henderson, who singled in her at-bat at the top of the third inning. She moved to second when freshman Khala Taylor grounded out, and put Cal's first run on the board after a single from Cordes.
Cal earned four of its runs in the top of the fourth, starting with an error by the Illinois shortstop to move junior Victoria Jones. A single by Ziegenhirt put runners on two bases, and when sophomore Danielle Henderson fouled out, Jones advanced to third. With runners on the corners, J. Henderson walloped one beyond the fence for three RBI. The Bears stayed hot for another run as freshman Vanessa Alvarez doubled and then scored on a single by Taylor.
On Sunday, the Golden Bears return to Schutt Fenway Field at Field of Dreams Park for a final contest against Nebraska. First pitch begins at 11:30 a.m.
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