May 15, 2012
BERKELEY - Hitting a walk-off homer in one game and then throwing a shutout in the next to power California softball to the inaugural Pac-12 Championship certainly earned Valerie Arioto some just desserts as she was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for May 7-13.
"I'm incredibly honored to have been chosen out of all the great players across the country for this very prestigious award!" Arioto said. "This is so much more a team award than it is an individual award for me. We couldn't have won on Friday without the five runs the team scored and the incredible defense that my teammates played behind me."
After her Golden Bears battled back from a 2-0 deficit to No. 2 Arizona State to tie the game 2-2, senior Valerie Arioto unleashed a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Sun Devils 4-2. The win put the Bears one win away from the Pac-12 title.
With the coveted conference championship on the line on May 11, Arioto pitched seven innings of shutout work, fanning 11 Sun Devils and giving up just one walk. The Bears went on to win the game 5-0 and capture the first-ever Pac-12 title.
"We are tremendously proud of Valerie," Cal head coach Diane Ninemire said. "For her to cap off her regular season with a walk-off home run and a Pac-12 title is just fantastic. Friday's win was a complete team effort."
Thanks to her 0.00 ERA outing on May 11, Arioto is now 20-2, has a 1.22 ERA and has limited her batters to hit .191. Already Cal's all-time single-season and the Pac-12 leader in homers, Arioto sent out her 22nd homer of the year. Over the three days, Arioto slugged .800, had a .636 on-base percentage and accumulated a perfect fielding percentage.
Arioto was the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week after the first week of the 2012 season.