May 3, 1998
TUCSON, Ariz. - No. 1-ranked Arizona (57-3) clinched its fifth Pacific-10 Conference softball championship of the '90s with a doubleheader sweep, 8-0 and 7-1, over the visiting California Bears (30-25) on Senior Day at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Wildcats bid adieu to an exceptional class of seniors before more than 1,300 fans after the games, but before that it was all business as UA moved into with UCLA for conference titles at five apiece since Pac- 10 softball as it's known today began in 1987.
During the week Arizona also became the first team to win 200 games in conference play, which saw it win six to put its composite league record at 203-50 in 12 years of action.
The Wildcats' 23-1 league record gives them no worse than a five-game lead over Washington with four games to play.
Nancy Evans (29-1) shut Cal out on five hits in the opener. UA put up the winning run in the first inning when Alison McCutcheon led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on Nicole Giordano's infield single, then scored on a double-steal play.
Leah Braatz, the NCAA leader in home runs, hit her 23rd of the year to cap a three-run fifth.
The Bears played with a short squad after coach Diane Ninemire suspended four players for a team violation during the trip to the Arizona schools -- Holly Yost, Valerie Niklas, Carlyn Rojas and Kirsten Drake.
In game two, McCutcheon led off the first with a single, another stolen base and eventually scored on Braatz' RBI single. In all, McCutcheon had six hits and six stolen bases in the two games. She extended her NCAA career No. 1 hits total to 388.
Cal's lone run off winner Becky Lemke (22-2) came on a home run by Megumi Takasaki in the third. Arizona had 12 hits to Cal's four. Leticia Pineda's 17th home run of the season, a three-run blast in the third, capped the Cats' four-run binge in that frame.
Whitney Floyd (16-13) and Nicole DiSalvio (9-7) took the pitching losses for Cal.
California 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 4 4 Arizona 2 3 2 1 x - 8 9 0 Floyd and Takasaki. Evans and Braatz. W - Evans 29-1. L - Floyd 18-1. HR: Ariz, Braatz (23). U - Johnson, Powell.