May 16, 2012
Cal Postseason Guide
Arkansas Postseason Guide
BU Postseason Guide
Iona Postseason Guide
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Friday, May 18
5 p.m. PT - Game One: Boston U. vs. Arkansas
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
Series Record Versus the Terriers - 7-3
Last Meeting With BU - W 5-1 (2/28/98)
Series Record Versus the Razorbacks - 1-0
Last Meeting With Arkansas - W 7-0 (3/19/98)
7 p.m. PT - Game Two: Cal vs. Iona
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
Series Record Versus the Gaels - 1-0
Last Meeting With Iona - W 10-5 in Five Innings (3/16/11)
Coverage: GameTracker, Twitter, Live Chat
Saturday, May 19
3 p.m. PT - Game Three: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
5 p.m. PT - Game Four: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
7 p.m. PT - Game Five: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
Sunday, May 20
5 p.m. PT - Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
7 p.m. - Game 7: Rematch of Game 6 (If necessary)
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
Just the Basics
After the Golden Bears won the Pac-12 Championship and earned the No. 1 overall seed, California (50-4) hosts postseason play for the first time 1993. Iona (35-24), Boston University (40-14) and Arkansas (27-26) are all making the trip to Berkeley. The Terriers and Razorbacks square off in the first game of the Berkeley Regional at 5 p.m. PT on Friday, May 18, followed by the Bears and Gaels at 7 p.m. PT. The remaining games will depend on the results of day one. The winner of the Berkeley Regional will play the champion of the Seattle Regional, which features No. 16 seed Washington (36-17), Harvard (33-13), Maryland (34-20) and Texas Tech (40-15). All games will be covered by GameTracker on CalBears.com, but will not be shown on television or live streamed.
CalBears.com To Host Live Chat for All Games
For each of Cal's games in Berkeley, CalBears.com will provide a live chat for fans. In the chat - in which anyone can participate for free - the Bears' communications director Anna Oleson-Wheeler will provide in-game updates, commentary, inside knowledge and more. Fans can discuss the game with fellow Blues, ask questions and more. Following the games, the live chats will be archived on CalBears.com and can be re-read at any time.
Cal Quick Hits
Cal won the Pac-12 title by posting its best-ever conference record in school history at 21-3/.875
Diane Ninemire earned career win No. 1,100 on April 20 - making her the 12th coach in the history of collegiate softball and sixth in Division I ball to hit the 1,100 mark
Cal is ranked first in the country in the latest edition of the RPI and No. 1 in both polls
The Bears have not lost a regional game since 2008
Cal is hosting its first regional since 1993
Bears Quick Hits
Valerie Arioto paces the starters, hitting .391 with an incredible 1.000 slugging percentage thanks to her 22 homers
Arioto set a new Bear program record with her 20th homer of the year on April 22
Danielle Henderson is next in line in homers with 14, while Breana Kostreba has 12
Jamia Reid has a team-high 45 stolen bases, going 45-for-48
Arioto leads the Bears in RBI with 57, Jace Williams is second (43), Danielle Henderson is third (41), Kostreba is third (38)
Jolene Henderson (30-2, 211.2 IP, 249 SO) and Arioto (20-2, 126.2 IP, 22 ER) have identical 1.22 ERAs and .191 opponent batting averages
Arioto, Henderson Lead Bears on Pac-12 Teams
With the inaugural Pac-12 Championship and best conference finish in program history in hand, eight Golden Bears skyrocketed themselves to the All-Pac-12 Teams. Valerie Arioto earned Player of the Year laurels and Jolene Henderson repeated as the Pitcher of the Year, and head coach Diane Ninemire is the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Arioto, Henderson and Jamia Reid were all named to the All-Pac-12 First Team while Frani Echavarria, Danielle Henderson, Breana Kostreba and Jace Williams earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mentions. Further rounding out the Cal contingent with placement on the All-Freshman Team were Cheyenne Cordes, Danielle Henderson and Kostreba.
Cal in the Postseason
This marks the 27th consecutive season the Bears are playing in the postseason
Cal has advanced to the regional championship games six times in seven years since the Super Regional format was adopted seven years ago
Last year, Cal won the Louisville Regional and then the Lexington Super Regional
The Lexington Super Regional title was the Bears' second-ever Super Regional title since the format was adopted
Cal's first Super Regional championship came in 2005 in three games at Baylor
The Bears are 63-30 in regional games and 85-60 overall in the NCAA postseason
Cal made three consecutive WCWS title game appearances from 2002-04, winning it all in 2002
The 2002 NCAA national title was the first by any women's team at Cal
Cal has appeared in eight of the last 13 NCAA WCWS and 11 overall, including three trips to the AIAW College World Series
Cal has not had a losing season since 1973 - a span of 38 years
Hosting in Berkeley - a History
The Bears have not hosted postseason play since 1993, when Sacramento State and Long Beach State traveled to Berkeley. In that Cal Regional, Long Beach State beat Cal 2-1 to advance to the WCWS. The year before, the Bears hosted San Jose State and beat the Spartans 6-1 to earn a trip to Oklahoma City. The first and only other time the Bears have hosted postseason played was in 1990, when San Jose State and UNLV made the trek to Berkeley with the Running Rebels winning it all by beating Cal 2-1.
Bears Win Pac-12 in Dramatic Fashion
Coming into the final conference series of the 2012 season against No. 2 Sun Devils on May 10-12 in Berkeley, the Pac-12 title was up for grabs for the first team to win two. In the first game of the series, Cal battled back from a two-run deficit to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth before Valerie Arioto unleashed a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Sun Devils 4-2. The next day - donning pink jerseys in honor of the first-ever StrikeOut Cancer game in Berkeley - the Bears defeated ASU 5-0 to secure the championship. Danielle Henderson drove in the first two runs and then the fifth with Elia Reid accounted for the third and fourth runs when she singled to left. Senior player of the year award candidate Valerie Arioto pitched the complete-game victory, shutting out the Sun Devils as she struck out 11 of them.
Bears Enter Postseason as Undisputed No. 1
After capturing the Pac-12 title and the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, the California softball team picked up every single first-place vote in both of the national polls. This is the fifth time the Bears are the undisputed top team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings and the third go-around when they have garnered all 30 votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll. This week's rankings mark the eighth consecutive week Cal is No. 1in both polls and the 13th time this season that the Bears have been the top choice in at least one poll.
Arioto Named USA Softball Player of the Week, Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week
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. 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.
Cal Versus the NCAA Tournament Field
Cal has played 17 of the 63 teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament
Of those 17 teams, seven of them are Pac-12 opponents
Besides the Pac-12 teams, Cal played Tennessee, Texas State, Syracuse, DePaul, LSU, Northwestern, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Texas and Hawaii
The Bears went 27-4 against NCAA Tournament teams
Softball Postseason Format
The Bears are one of 64 teams who will be competing at 16 regional sites in the first round double-elimination Regionals. The top 16 teams were seeded in order, and the remaining teams were placed in regional brackets to create balanced competition and avoid conference match-ups, when possible. The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series at eight campus sites. The eight teams that win the Super Regionals will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The championship final will be a best-of-three-series. The WCWS will be conducted May 31-June 6 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Cal's 2011 Postseason Run
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
The NFCA lauded Jolene Henderson and Jamia Reid as All-Americans
The Cal coaching staff was named the Pacific Regional Staff of the Year
Recalling the 2011 Louisville Regional
In the opening game of the Louisville Regional, the Bears scored six runs off 13 hits and six Gamecock errors to begin the 2011 postseason with a 6-3 win over Jacksonville State. With a two-run homer and a two-out error by Louisville that allowed two California runs to score in the bottom of the second, the Golden Bears earned themselves a 4-0 win over host Louisville on May 21. Slowly but surely, Cal deliberately marched its way to a 3-0 win over Louisville in the championship game of the Louisville Regional on May 22. Thanks in no small part to two runs scored by Frani Echavarria and a seven-inning performance in the circle by Jolene Henderson, the Golden Bears advanced to Super Regionals. The Bears scored once in the second, fourth and fifth. A severe weather warning delayed the game for approximately 30 minutes between the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh. Henderson struck out 11 Cardinals and allowed just one walk and eight hits.
Inaugural Conference Winners
The California softball team won the first-ever Pac-10 title in 1987 and then the first-ever Pac-12 title in 2012. The two conference championships are the two outright titles for the Bears. Cal tied for first in 2005. The .875 winning percentage this year is an all-time conference best for any team in Cal softball history.
Cal Tops RPI
In the latest edition of the RPI - released May 14 - the Bears continue to be first in the nation. Cal has topped the RPI since April 2 after starting the RPI season third. Alabama moved to second while Pac-12 rival Arizona State is now third. For yet another week, eight of the nine Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 30 with Oregon ninth (down spot from last week), Arizona 11th (down one), UCLA 13th (down two spots), Washington 18th (down one spot), Stanford 19th (down one) and Oregon State 24th (down one). Utah is 71st, despite beating Stanford last week.
Iona earned the MAAC automatic bid after defeating second-seed Fairfield in the championship game 2-0
The Gaels' MAAC title was their third consecutive
Iona has two ace pitchers in its pockets - Alyssa Maiese (1.25 ERA, 17-10, 195.1 IP, .216 b/avg) and Sarah Jackson (1.26 ERA, 17-12, 195.0 IP, .199 b/avg)
Maiese was named the Most Outstanding Player in the MAAC Tournament and MAAC Co-Player of the Year, while Jackson took home conference Pitcher of the Year and All-MAAC Fist Team and All-Tournament Team honors
Eileen McCann paces the Gaels, hitting .337, while Maiese leads the team in slugging (.567) and on-base percentage (.411)
The sole common opponent for the Bears and Gaels this year is Fordham - Cal beat Fordham 5-0 on Feb. 24 while the Gaels earned a 6-2 win on April 24
The Gaels have played all of their games this year in the Eastern Time Zone
Last Time Against Iona
Thanks to a two-hitter performance from pitcher Arianna Erceg and nine Cal hits, the then-No. 9/10 California softball team breezed past Iona, 10-1, in five innings on March 16, 2011. The Golden Bears (17-2) tallied two runs in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth, but only one in the fifth, to down the Gaels (5-7) in Cal's first game of the Chevron Spring Fling Classic, hosted by Hawaii. Jordan Wallace paced the Bears with three RBI while Frani Echavarria had a team-high three hits and scored the most runs (three). Current Gael Alyssa Maiese hit a solo shot for Iona to avoid the shutout.
The Razorbacks finished the regular season 27-26, earning an at-large bid
This is the first NCAA Tournament for Arkansas since 2009
The Razorbacks' challenging schedule landed them 47th in the RPI with wins over then-No. 7 Baylor, No. 3 Alabama, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 11 Georgia
Devon Wallace - the SEC Freshman of the Year - leads Arkansas, batting .345 and slugging .712
Kimmy Beasley (3.32 ERA, 10-9, 124.1 IP, .270 b/avg) and Chelsea Cohen (3.44 ERA, 14-15, 189.1 IP, .280 b/avg) handle the pitching
Cohen attended the rival high school of current Golden Bear Ashley Decker
Cal and Arkansas have two SEC teams in common this year - Tennessee and LSU, both of which Cal beat - but the Tigers swept the Razorbacks, while Arkansas avoided the sweep by beating the Lady Vols once
The Razorbacks have not traveled west of Waco, Texas this year
Scouting Boston University
The Terriers make their third trip in four years to the Tournament after winning the America East
BU brings a six-game winning streak to California, winning 16 of its last 17 games
Four starters are hitting above .300, led by Jayme Mask (.368), Brittany Clendenny (.340), Megan Volpano (.323) and Chelsea O'Connor (.307)
BU and Cal have four common opponents - Winthrop, Bradley, Syracuse and Fordham - all of which were beaten by both teams
Pitcher Holli Floetker shut out Albany on May 13 in the America East championship game
Floetker (19-3) has a 1.75 ERA in 164.2 innings, while Whitney Tuthill owns a 2.37 in 133 innings
The Terriers are outscoring their opponents 232-121 and own 54 stolen bases
Bears Break Records
With the regular season just concluded and the season hopefully still far from over, Cal has already broken program records. The 367 runs scored this year are now the team single-season high, besting the previous mark of 322, which was set in 2007. Similarly, the 328 RBI sets a team record, topping the old high of 286 RBI in 2010. The 73 homers blow the old mark of 55 (set in 2009) out of the water. Should the Bears' bats stay laser focused, the team average could also be a new high with Cal currently hitting .320 and the all-time best being .328, a mark that has stood since 1977. The Bears are on track to get the highest field percentage - currently owning a .980 with the program high being .978, which occurred in 2005. Cal is also six wins away from besting the current record of 56, which was set in 2002, the year Cal won its first NCAA Championship.
Recalling the 2002 National Championship
In 2002, the Bears owned a perfect record at the Fresno Regional - opening with a 10-inning 2-1 win over host Fresno State. Cal beat Cal State Fullerton twice to advance to its seventh Women's College World Series. The Bears opened things in Oklahoma City with a 4-2 win over home favorite Oklahoma. A 1-0 defeat of Florida State and a 3-0 win over Arizona State sent the Bears to the championship match over Arizona. It was the first time that the Bears had been in the title game, and no other Cal women's team had ever won an NCAA national championship. The game was a pitching duel between Cal's Jocelyn Forest and Zona's Jennie Finch, two of the best hurlers in the nation. Forest had a younger team behind her, notably less experienced and freshmen-laden compared to the defending national champion Wildcats. Additionally, Mike Candrea and his 'Cats had already won six NCAA championships, in program history and had been to the title game 10 times. Candace Harper had the first RBI with a single up the middle in the seventh to give Cal a 1-0 lead, and the Bears never looked back - ultimately winning the game 6-0. For a complete feature on the 2002 national title, please see the clips packet.
Eight Pac-12 Teams Make Tourney
Eight of the nine teams in the Pac-12 earned NCAA Tournament bids, led by No. 1 overall seed Cal. The Pac-12 has eight teams in the postseason for the first time since 2007. California, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Washington will all host regionals. Oregon State and Stanford hit the road for regional play. Defending NCAA champion and No. 3 seed Arizona State looks to make it two straight titles and three overall. ASU, which placed second in the Pac-12 and carries a 46-7 overall record, welcomes LIU Brooklyn to Tempe. Oregon received the 11th seed and will face in-state foe Portland State in Eugene. UCLA, which has 11 NCAA crowns in program history with the most recent coming in 2010, earned the No. 12 seed, and will host Hofstra. Eight-time NCAA champion Arizona was awarded the 13th seed and faces North Dakota State in Tucson. Washington earned the 16th seed and will face Harvard. Oregon State is making its first NCAA appearance since 2007. Stanford will open the Lafayette, La., Regional against Baylor.
Highlighting Pac-12 Play
The Bears won the first-ever Pac-12 title
Cal has won each of the eight conference series in which it has played
The Bears swept five of the seven conference series
Cal opened Pac-12 play with a 3-0 sweep of then-No. 9 Stanford
The only three teams to steal wins over Cal were then-No. 13 Arizona (8-3, April 14), then-No. 14/17 Oregon (1-0, April 21) and then-No. 2 ASU (5-0, May 12)
The Conference coaches picked Cal to finish second in their preseason poll
Of Cal's 50 wins this year, 24 of them have been shutout victories. Nine of the shutouts have come during Pac-12 play. In their four losses, the Bears' opponents have shut out Cal in just two of the games. The Bears are three shutouts shy of making the top-10, all-time season best list. The current record for Cal shutouts in a season is 38, which occurred in 1992.
Cal has played either on the road or at a neutral site for 38 of its 51 games. Across their six nonconference tournaments - traveling to Tempe, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Cathedral City, Calif; Fullerton, Calif; Fresno, Calif.; and Honolulu - the Bears posted a perfect 23-0 neutral-site record. Including its 12 road Pac-12 games, Cal is 13-2 when playing on the road.
Home is a Haven
As if their road and neutral site record was not impressive enough, Cal brings a 14-2 home record into this weekend. The only two teams thus far to best the Bears at Levine-Fricke Field was then-No. 13 Arizona - which defeated Cal 8-3 on April 14 - and then-No. 2 Arizona State - which beat Cal 5-0 on May 12.
Bears Honor Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee on April 30
For the third consecutive year, California softball's Friends of Jaclyn adoptee Bebe and her family made the trip to Levine-Fricke Field to take in a Golden Bear game, but the changes that have occurred in Bebe since her first game in 2010 and this year are nothing short of miraculous. Fatigued beyond belief by cancer treatments during her first Cal outing two years ago, Bebe's father Geoff had to throw out the first pitch while Bebe slept in his arms. Last year, Bebe threw out the first pitch by herself. Before the April 29 game, not only did Bebe throw out the first pitch, but she also enjoyed a warm-up dance session, gave the Bears a pre-game speech then signed autographs for anyone and everyone after the game.
Ninemire Nets Career Win No. 1,100
Head coach Diane Ninemire hit yet another milestone - notching career win No. 1,100 thanks to the 8-1 victory over then-No. 14/18 Oregon on April 20, 2012. Entering the 2012 season with a career record of 1,059-509 in 24 complete years at the helm of the storied Golden Bear program, the Bears' epic success this year powered Ninemire to the necessary 41 wins to hit the next platform. As of April 22, 2012, only 12 coaches in the history of collegiate softball and only six in Division I ball - including Ninemire - had hit the 1,100 mark.
Arioto Breaks Homer Record
Valerie Arioto not only drove in three RBI across four games to power her top-ranked Bears to a Pac-12 series victory over No. 14/18 Oregon (April 20-22) and a 10-2 nonconference decision over Santa Clara (April 18), but she also broke her own single-season record for homers. She was previously tied - both in 2010 and 2011 - with Veronica Nelson for first place on the Cal program record for homers in a season at 19, but she blasted a shot in the Sunday game against Oregon to propel her to the top. After starting the season third on the career homers list, Arioto is now in second place with an astonishing 53 homers. She needs to hit the 55 mark to tie Nelson for first and 56 to own it outright.
Arioto Merits Tom Hansen Pac-12 Medal
After a storied career that is hopefully far from over, California softball utility Valerie Arioto earned herself one of the most coveted awards in the Pac-12 - the Tom Hansen Pac-12 Conference Medal - which is given to the top male and female senior student-athletes at each member institution. Arioto joined men's basketball senior guard Jorge Gutierrez to accept the award at the Academic Honors Luncheon on May 3. The determination is based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.
Ziegenhirt Earns Golden Bear Award
At the May 3 Academic Honors Luncheon in Berkeley, junior catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt proudly represented the Cal softball team by earned the Golden Bear Achievement Award. The awards are presented to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on his or her respective team. Ziegenhirt is majoring in psychology and has an incredible 3.74 GPA.
Talk of the Polls
For each week this season, the Bears were recognized as one of the top-25 teams in the nation, being ranked in each of the national polls. Cal's highest ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll was first - a mark the Bears achieved 13 times. The Bears were the unanimous choice for No. 1 in that poll five times this season. The Bears were also as high as No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA poll - holding the top spot for eight weeks. Cal was the unquestionable No. 1 team in that poll thrice (week eight, April 3; week 13, May 8; week 14, May 15), and also received 29 of the possible 30 first-place votes three times. The Bears began the season ranked third in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and fourth in the USA Today/NFCA poll.