May 16, 1998
FRESNO, Calif. -- Top-seeded and third-ranked Fresno State defeated No. 3 seed California, 6-3, Saturday afternoon, sending the Bulldogs into Sunday's NCAA regional championship game and forcing the Bears to win a later game Saturday to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Fresno State (47-10) improved to 26-0 on its home field this season in going to 2-0 in the regional. Cal (35-26), which beat Cal State Northridge, 3-1, Friday, must now defeat the winner of a loser's bracket game between Northridge and Minnesota to remain in the double-elimination tournament. If the Bears do win that contest, they will need to beat Fresno State twice on Sunday to advance to the Women's College World Series.
Fresno State jumped on Cal starter Whitney Floyd for a pair of runs in the first inning. The Bulldogs' first three batters reached on a pair of singles and a walk, loading the bases. Floyd got clean-up hitter Amanda Scott to bounce into a force play at the plate, but Jamie Maxey singled to center to score the first run. Angela Cervantez then hit what appeared to be a base hit to center field. However, Fresno's Nina Lindenberg, who was on second base, collided with Cal shortstop Katie May and was forced at third base. The play did net one run as Becky Witt came home from third. Floyd got out of the jam when she struck out Amber Wall to end the inning.
Cal answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning to tie the score. Holly Yost led off with a single, and after a walk to May and a single by Paige Bowie, the bases were loaded with no outs. Jenny Ackley was hit by a pitch to force in the first run and Pauline Duenas walked to bring home the tying run.
However, Fresno State went back ahead in the top of the third, scoring two unearned runs off Nicole DiSalvio, who had replaced Floyd in the second inning. Scott began the inning by reaching on a fielding error by May. A sacrifice moved Scott to second and a single by Angela Cervantez put runners on the corners. Wall then grounded to first with Cervantez going to second, and both runners scored on a single by Carolyn Wilson.
Cal threatened to take the lead in the fifth inning, but got just one run across. Lisa Iancin began the rally when she was hit by a pitch, and Yost doubled her home with a shot into the right-center field gap. May followed with a single to put runners on the corners and when Ackley was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with two outs. However, pinch hitter Carlyn Rojas struck out on a 3-2 pitch.
Fresno State put the game away in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer by All-American Nina Lindenberg.
"I thought this was a well fought game," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "I was proud of the way we came back and tied it up. This was just two good teams going at each other."
NCAA Softball Regional at Fresno, CA Second round