Feb. 14, 2012
Friday, Feb. 17
11:15 a.m. - No. 1/3 Cal (4-0) vs. DePaul (3-2)
UNLV's Eller Media Stadium - Las Vegas
Series Record With the Blue Deacons - 4-3
Last Meeting With DePaul - L, 2-1 (3/3/07)
Saturday, Feb. 18
9 a.m. - No. 1/3 Cal (4-0) vs. San Jose State (1-5)
Stephanie Lynn Craig Park Field 3 - Henderson, Nev.
Series Record With the Spartans - 45-6
Last Meeting With SJSU - W, 15-4 (3/8/08)
11 a.m. - No. 1/3 Cal (4-0) vs. UC Riverside (1-4)
Stephanie Lynn Craig Park Field 3 - Henderson, Nev.
Series Record With the Highlanders - 9-0
Last Meeting With UCR - W, 3-0 (3/27/10)
Sunday, Feb. 19
11:15 a.m. - No. 1/3 Cal (4-0) vs. No. 24 LSU (2-2)
Stephanie Lynn Craig Park Field 3 - Henderson, Nev.
Series Record With the Tigers - 6-2
Last Meeting With LSU - W, 11-3 (2/26/11)
BERKELEY - With the cobwebs cleared from the bats and gloves and a new No. 1 ranking in hand, the No. 1/3 California softball team heads to next-door neighbor Nevada for four games at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev. The Golden Bears (4-0) take on DePaul (3-2), San Jose State (1-5), UC Riverside (1-4) and No. 24 LSU (2-2).
About the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic
After a one-year reprieve, Cal joins 17 other teams at the tournament hosted by UNLV from Feb. 16-19. The multi-game tournament is spread across four fields - the Rebels' Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas proper and three fields at the Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Henderson, Nev. For directions, more information and results, please consult the event's website by clicking here.
Briefly With the Bears
Last Week With the Bears
Cal went 4-0 in its season-opening tournament last weekend
In the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, Cal moved from the No. 3 spot to No. 1, earning 14 of the possible 20 first-place votes
Cal occupies the top spot in the poll for the first time since Feb. 8, 2005, when the school tied with Arizona for the No. 1 ranking
The Bears were the lone No. 1 on Jan. 25, 2005
The NFCA/USA Today poll shifted the Bears from No. 4 to No. 3 though they garnered 10 first-place votes, which is seven more than No. 2 Alabama
Valerie Arioto is the reigning Pac-12 and USA Softball player of the week, receiving the awards for the first time in her career
The Bears defeated then-No. 9/14 Tennessee 13-5, Bradley 5-0, Texas State 10-0 (five innings) and Syracuse 6-3 in Tempe, Ariz.
Cal was one of only three teams at the Kajikawa Classic to post an unblemished record with only Washington and New Mexico going undefeated 5-0
The Bears outscored their opponents 34-8
led the starters by batting .500
Besides Cordes, five other starters hit above .350 - Britt Vonk
(.467), Breana Kostreba
(.455), Valerie Arioto
(.444), Frani Echavarria
(.364) and Danielle Henderson
Arioto Nabs USA Softball, Pac-12 Weekly Honors
Valerie Arioto is this week's USA Softball national player of the week and the Pac-12 Conference player of the week. Returning to the diamond after redshirting the 2011 season while recovering from a broken leg, Arioto is already back to pacing the Bears on offense - leading the team with nine RBI as well as a 1.444 slugging percentage and .444 batting average as Cal opened the season 4-0. Both accolades are the first of Arioto's career while the Pac-12 laurel was the 71st all-time for Cal. Arioto hit a homer in her very first at-bat of her redshirt senior season and went on to hit three homers, drive in a team-high nine RBI, slug 1.444, hit .444 and put up a 0.00 ERA in seven innings of work. After not pitching since June 2010, Arioto pitched a complete-game shutout over Bradley. Arioto limited the Braves to just a .091 batting average with two hits. She struck out a weekend-high 11 opposing batters and only allowed three walks.
Cal vs. DePaul
None of the current Bears played in the last meeting against DePaul, which scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to overpower the then-No. 18 Bears 2-1 on March 3, 2007
The Blue Demons opened the year with three wins and two losses at the Hawaii Paradise Classic in Honolulu
Freshman Mary Connolly hit a walk-off, three-run homer in her first collegiate at-bat, earning her placement on the Big West weekly honor roll
The Blue Demons out-scored their opponents 23-19 in Hawaii with Lynsey Ciezki hitting .467 and Mary Connolly batting .444
Three Blue Demons - Connolly, Megan Coronado and Allie Braden - all knocked in five RBI apiece
DePaul plays 28 straight games away from home and 42 total road games this year
Though the 2011 Blue Demons went 41-15 and finished No. 24 in the final 2011 NFCA/USA Today poll, they lost their top two hitters
Cal vs. San Jose State
Valerie Arioto was the only current Bear to play in the last meeting with SJSU, which occurred March 8, 2008
In that most recent game, Cal wrangled the Spartans 15-4 with Arioto pitching three innings (three earned runs, one hit) and knocking in three RBI
Also playing in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend, the Spartans went 1-4 with their sole win coming in five innings against Cal Poly with a 15-3 final score
The final game of the weekend proved to be most exciting for SJSU, which lost 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth to No. 15 Texas A&M
SJSU returns 14 letterwinners and nine starters as well as pitcher Amanda Pridmore, who redshirted with a knee injury last year
The Spartans were picked to tie for sixth in the WAC preseason coaches' poll
Cal vs. UC Riverside
In their last ursine meeting, the Golden Bears defeated the Highlanders 3-0 on March 27, 2010
Cal notched that win behind a two-hit, 10-strikeout performance from Arioto with Jace Williams tallying the only RBI
The Highlanders lost all but one of their five games at the season-starting Fresno State tournament
Dionne Anderson hit .500 in five games with two RBI in Fresno
Kayla White notched a team-high seven RBI
The 2011 Highlanders went 13-33
Cal vs. LSU
The Bears and Tigers met just under a year ago on Feb. 28, 2011, when then-No. 14 Cal posted an 11-3 trouncing of then-No. 20 LSU
That win gave the Bears their second win over a ranked opponent
In that game, Jolene Henderson pitched the complete-game win and hit a three-run jack in the seventh
LSU split its opening weekend outing at its Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La.
The Tigers started slowly - losing to Penn State 5-3 and No. 15 Michigan 2-1 - before righting the ship with a 1-0 win (eight innings) over Penn State and a five-inning 8-0 victory against Louisiana Tech
Simone Heyward led the starters, hitting .333 though Juliana Santos contributed four RBI, slugging .429
Rachele Fico pitched both wins, posting a 0.00 ERA in 13 innings of working, limiting opposing batters to a .073 average with 13 strikeouts and seven talks
Brittany Mack suffered both losses with her ERA jumping to 3.50 after she allowed seven earned runs on 15 hits but fanned 19 batters
Thanks to the 13-5 win over Tennessee to start the 2012 season, Cal has now won 33 of its year openers. In five of the past seven lid lifters, the Bears have scored 10+ wins.
Ninemire Utilized Multiple Line-Ups
In each of the four games in the desert last weekend, head coach Diane Ninemire started a slightly shifted nine. Victoria Jones, Danielle Henderson, Lindsey Ziegenhirt and Taylor Vincent all saw time behind the dish. Jace Williams shifted between third and second, while Danielle Henderson played at first and third in addition to her catching time. In total, all 17 active players saw time on the field or in the batter's box.
Three Bears Named to Player of the Year Watch List
Though they have yet to play in a game this year, three Golden Bears were named to softball's most prestigious watch list for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Amateur Softball Association placed Valerie Arioto, Jolene Henderson and Jamia Reid on its top-50 list, ASA announced Wednesday. Cal is one of five institutions that lead the way with three student-athletes representatives apiece. Additionally, the Pac-12 is one of two conferences to have six schools honored. Now in its 11th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the national governing body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Preseason Rankings Rate Cal Softball as No. 3/4
After finishing the 2011 campaign as the No. 5 team in the country according to both polls and the final Women's College World Series standings, the California softball team starts 2012 as the third and fourth best teams, according to the preseason rankings released Tuesday. The ESPN.com/USA Softball poll placed the Golden Bears at No. 3 while the USA Today/NFCA standings hold Cal at No. 4.With the No. 3 laudation by the ESPN.com/USA Softball, the poll placed Cal two spots ahead of its final 2011 ranking while the USA Today/NFCA rankings have the Bears one spot of their final ranking.
Pac-12 Softball Coaches Envision Cal to Finish Second
The Pac-12 coaches forecasted California softball to finish second in the prestigious conference according to the preseason poll released Jan. 28. The Golden Bears received two first-place votes and 58 total points to take second in the preseason poll, marking the highest predicted finish since 2005. Just three points ahead of Cal, defending national champion Arizona State garnered six first-place votes to occupy the No. 1 spot in the annual poll. Arizona, which took third, rounded out the first-place votes with one. Last year, Cal was in a tie for fourth in the preseason poll only to take second, which was the highest conference finish for the Bears since they tied for first in 2005. In eight of the past 11 seasons, the Bears have finished higher than they were predicted to in the preseason poll. In 2002, the coaches foresaw Cal finishing in a tie for sixth, but not only did the Bears take fourth, but they also went on to win the national title.
Bears Celebrate Holidays With Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee
Before departing Berkeley to spend the winter break with their families, the California softball team spent time with important members of its Golden Bear family - Bebe Wiggs and her family. In 2010, the Golden Bears adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer, through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families. This past December, the Cal softball team joined the Wiggs family for a holiday celebration. Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner at the newly opened Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. Following the meal, the group headed to the softball squad's brand-new locker room for presents and a big surprise for Bebe. Prior to the dinner, the Bears and staff selected a locker that will be Bebe's for the duration. They filled it with presents for her and then gift wrapped the locker for Bebe.
USA Softball Lauds Cordes as Junior of the Year
Freshman Cheyenne Cordes joined an elite group of people when USA Softball and the Amateur Softball Association recognized her as the Athlete of the Year from the Junior Women's National Team program. Cordes helped lead the United States to the gold medal at the International Softball Federation Junior Women's World Championship, Dec. 6-17, in Cape Town, South Africa. She was the only member of the team to start in all 11 games in Cape Town and one of two athletes to play in all 11 games. While seeing time primarily at third, she also led the U.S. in hits (15), extra base hits (seven), RBI (12) and stolen bases (three).
ASA/USA Softball Names Arioto to National Squad
Senior Valerie Arioto earned herself a spot on the 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Jan. 11. Arioto joined 11 athletes in the today's selection. An additional five athletes will be named to the squad, which will compete at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women's World Championship, following a 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team and USA Softball Women's Elite National Team Selection Camp in June. In her rookie season with the USA Softball Women's National Team, Arioto started in 24 of 26 games played. At the plate, she was 21-for-57 (.368), hitting a team-high eight doubles, two triples and four home runs. She had 19 runs scored and 21 RBI. Arioto and her teammates who were named to the 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2011 World Cup of Softball in July in Oklahoma City and the 2011 Pan American Games in October in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Save the Date for 2002 NCAA Title Celebration
Fans, former Golden Bears and their families are invited to save the date for a California softball alumni weekend and special reunion event honoring the 2002 national championship on Saturday, April 14. In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the NCAA title, Cal softball and Bear Backers will host an event at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. The event will follow the 1 p.m. game against Arizona at Levine-Fricke Field. Additionally, the entire home stand versus the Wildcats will serve as an alumni weekend. As the weekend draws closer, CalBears.com will have information on how to register for the event. The 2002 NCAA championship was not only the first-ever for the Cal softball program, but it was also the first team national title won by any women's team at Cal. All season, CalBears.com will be remembering the 2002 season and catching up with members of that squad.
The Hot Corner With Jace
This season, senior Jace Williams continues to grace CalBears.com with an amazingly written blog called the Hot Corner. Published each Monday morning, barring any 10-page papers due for school, Williams will write about anything that suits her - life in Berkeley, recently played games, school, her hilarious teammates and more. Be sure to check out CalBears.com on Mondays to read all about it. You can be the first to know of new entries by following the Bears on Twitter and Facebook.
Remembering the 2011 Campaign
After starting the year ranked 12th in both national polls and slated to finish fourth in the Pac-10, the Bears ended the season second in the conference and fifth in the country after making it to the Women's College World Series
Cal closed out the year at a 45-13 clip with an impressive 15-6 conference record
The Bears won at least one game in each Pac-10 series and swept three schools - then-No.17 Oregon, Oregon State as well as then-No. 8 and defending national champion UCLA
Earning the seven seed and top billing at the Louisville Regional, Cal made its 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament
In Louisville, the Bears outscored their opponents, 13-3, and won all three games to give Cal its 12th Regional title in the past 13 years and ninth Regional in which the Bears posted a perfect record
Cal battled Kentucky in a three-game series to win the Lexington Super Regional, marking the first victories over an SEC team in Super Regionals
The Bears lost the opening game of the WCWS to Alabama, but defeated Oklahoma State before losing to eventual runner-up Florida
Cal was ranked in the top-25 all season, reaching a season highs of No. 5 (ESPN.com/USA Softball) and No. 6 (USA Today/NFCA) during the season
The NFCA lauded Jolene Henderson and Jamia Reid as All-Americans
The Cal coaching staff was named the Pacific Regional Staff of the Year
The NFCA put Jolene Henderson, Jamia Reid, Jace Williams and Britt Vonk on its All-Pacific Region Team
Six Bears merited All-Pac-10 laurels with Henderson as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year
Jace Williams and Lindsey Ziegenhirt earned the Pac-10 All-Academic honors
Cal Coaches Ink Four Recruits for 2013 Campaign
As they have built quite a reputation in doing, the California softball coaching staff has signed four outstanding recruits to National Letters of Intent, head coach Diane Ninemire announced this fall. Vanessa Alvarez, Khala Taylor, Jasmin Mejia and Nisa Ontiveros will suit up in the Blue & Gold come the spring of 2013. A speedy trackster out of Temecula, Calif., Khala Taylor will no doubt be an asset on the base paths. At the plate, she's a triple threat who can bunt, slap and swing away. Jasmin Mejia will fill in the outfield with her great range and strong arm. She also wields a powerful bat. Nisa Ontiveros is a powerful pitcher who is expected to make an immediate contribution in the circle with her great ball movement.