May 14, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 5/6 California softball team scored first - one run in the top of the first - and last - four runs in the sixth - to finish the regular and Pac-10 Conference season with a 6-3 victory over No. 10 Arizona on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the 9-4 win on Friday evening and the Saturday success, the Golden Bears own second place in the ever-competitive Pac-10 Conference.
With the win, Cal finishes the regular season at an incredibly impressive 39-10 overall record and going 15-6 in the Pac-10 Conference.
"Our offense showed up today and did a great job of executing the small ball again!" Jace Williams said. "We constantly put runners on base and mixed in a few clutch hits! Jolene did a great job closing out the game."
Arianna Erceg started and earned the win, her fifth of the season.
"Coming into today, I knew it was a big day with it being their senior day and the series tied," Erceg said. "I focused n staying calm and having some fun out there. The solid defense behind me and our strong bats are how we won the game today. Jo did an awesome job coming in and shutting them down."
Jolene Henderson pitched the final two innings - both of which were scoreless.
"Ari and Jolene did a great job," catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt responded when asked about the game. "They kept us in the game and allowed us to manufacture runs."
Erceg pitched five innings, allowing just one earned run in 24 batters faced.
"Ari came out and threw us an awesome game!" Jace Williams said. "I am very proud of the way she handled herself out in the circle"
In the top of the first, Britt Vonk was the first baserunner of the game when she walked. Vonk moved to second and then to third thanks to a Jace Williams walk and then a wild pitch, respectively. Vonk made it 1-0, Bears, when Ashley Decker reached when the first baseman bobbled her grounder.
The Wildcats even the score - literally - with a run in the bottom of the second thanks to a single to right from Brawley, who plated Lini Koria. Cal went back up in the top of third courtesy a Jace Williams single. Two Wildcat hits and one Cal error scored two for Arizona in the bottom of the fourth, putting Arizona up for the first game in the game, 3-2.
But the game was far from over. In the top of the sixth, Williams singled through the left side to score two and Ziegenhirt upped it to 6-3 with a two-run double to right.
"I went up to bat looking outside and finally connected with one," Ziegenhirt said of her two RBI double. "I was really happy."
The Bears and the rest of the successful Division I softball teams learn their fate Sunday night. At 7 p.m., ESPNU and the NCAA will announce the bracket for the NCAA Tournament. Be sure and follow the Bears on Twitter to be the first to know where Cal will be heading for the posteason.