March 15, 2013
HONOLULU - No. 5/4 California (23-2) kept its 20-plus win streak alive by besting Syracuse (7-12) 2-1 Friday at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium in Honolulu.
The Golden Bears recorded just four hits but pulled through with two runs while limiting the Orange to one run from two hits. It was the first opponent run allowed by Cal throughout the Chevron Spring Fling. In the previous two games of the tournament, the Golden Bears shut out ranked opponents in No. 19/15 Baylor and No. 20/23 Hawaii.
Senior Jolene Henderson (19-2) gave up those two hits but struck out nine batters and allowed only one walk in the process. Her Orange counterpart, Lindsay Taylor (1-8) gave up four strikeouts and five walks in the full seven.
Four innings passed before the floodgates opened for both teams to score. At the top of the fifth, freshman Khala Taylor singled to left field and advanced to second when sophomore Cheyenne Cordes received a base on four balls. Cordes was thrown out at second when junior Ashley Decker reached on a fielder's choice, but Taylor moved another base. The rookie took a quick trip down the third-base line as senior Lindsey Ziegenhirt went to first on a fielding error by Syracuse shortstop Morgan Nandin, putting the Bears up 1-0 before closing out the top of the fifth.
Syracuse rallied right away with a score at the bottom of the fifth by Korena Fenton, in to pinch run for third baseman Corinne Ozanne, who got on with a walk. Fenton moved two bases on a muffed throw, then scored when Danielle Chitkowski grounded out Cordes at shortstop.
At the top of the sixth, Henderson hit the only extra-base hit of the night - a leadoff double - before junior LaRisa Jones entered the game to pinch run. Jones advanced to third when sophomore Breana Kostreba flied out to right field, followed by a walk from junior Victoria Jones. V. Jones stole second and then the bases filled as freshman Vanessa Alvarez got in on the action with a walk. Taylor stepped up to the plate with a full diamond and reached on a fielder's choice that also moved L. Jones forward to score Cal's second run.
The Bears will likely be the No. 1 seed entering Saturday's bracket play at the Spring Fling. The No. 1 seed will take on the winner of bracket game No. 1 at 3 p.m. PT. The winner of that game will advance to the championship game, which begins at 7 p.m.
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