Pac-12 Softball Update: Cal Keeps On Rolling

The Golden Bears of California for the second straight week were voted No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and for the first time this season were unanimously voted No. 1 in both national rankings, earning all 30 first-place votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll and all 20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.

Cal shutout Sacramento State 8-0 in five innings on March 28 and followed up by sweeping Washington this past weekend, March 30 to April 1. The sweep is Cal’s second Pac-12 series sweep of the season after beating Stanford last weekend in opening play.

The Bears prevailed 2-1, 5-3 and 6-4 respectively, against Washington sophomore pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby, who so far this season has been named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, Pac-12 Player of the Week and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week.

In the first match-up, down 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh with bases loaded on two outs, Jace Williams was facing Inglesby on a 2-2 count. Inglesby had only given up one hit all game. Williams took the pitch and hit down the left-field line for a walk-off, bringing home Frani Echavarria from third and Jamia Reid from second for the winning run.

Next up, Cal will play at Utah April 5 to 7, with the first two games scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT and the third at 11:00 a.m. PT.

The No. 4 Washington Huskies were swept for the first time this season, earning their first losses since Feb. 25 when they were shutout 2-0 by Missouri at the Cathedral City Classic.

Even though UW lost the series, head coach Heather Tarr said, "Overall this was a good weekend for us. Cal has great pitching and I thought we competed well at the plate. We take a lot of good learning opportunities with us as we continue on in Pac-12 play."

In the final game of the series, Kimi Polhman led with two runs, while both Victoria Hayward and Nikia Williams had one, with Williams hitting a two-run homer.

Next up, Washington will host Arizona April 5 to 7. The first two games begin at 6:00 p.m. PT, with the third at noon PT.

No. 7 Arizona State dropped two spots after splitting a weekend series at Oregon. The Sun Devils lost the first 3-0 but won the second 7-4. The third game on April 1 was cancelled due to poor weather.

In ASU’s win, Katelyn Boyd scored an unearned run and Haley Steele homered her seventh of the year, a two-runner that plated Elizabeth Caporuscio on a fielder’s choice. In the second game the Sun Devils scored four on five hits on two Oregon errors, with Annie Lockwood recording her second RBI of the game.

Next up, Arizona State will host UCLA April 5 to 7. The first two games are set for 7:00 p.m. PT, with the third for noon PT.

UCLA improved one spot to No. 13 after winning four of its last five games, including two of three in its Oregon State series.

The Bruins run-ruled Cal Poly 14-0 and beat them again 14-5 in their road double-header on March 27. Then this past weekend they won 8-4 and 8-0 (five innings) before dropping the final game 7-5 against Oregon State.

OSU held a 3-0 lead until UCLA tied it 3-all in the sixth after Kellie Fox hit a two-run homer in the fifth and B.B. Bates’ single brought home Stephany LaRosa from second. But, in the top of the seventh OSU plated four runs and the Bruins were unable to capitalize with bases loaded, as a fly out to center ended the game.

In the loss, Fox was 2-for-2 with a two-run homer, LaRosa had two hits and Ally Carda smacked a two-run homer.

Next up, UCLA will travel to Tempe, Ariz. to face Arizona State April 5 to 7.

No. 14 Stanford fell one spot, but did win two in a row, including its first Pac-12 victory in its Arizona series March 30 to April 1.

The Cardinal beat Santa Clara 9-2 in a one-game stint March 28 and followed up by beating the Wildcats 4-1 in the series opener. Then, they lost the final two of the meeting 9-1 (five innings) and 3-1, respectively.

Teagan Gerhart earned her 22nd win of the season, improving to 22-3. She threw nine strikeouts in 7.0 innings and allowed just two hits, one run and four walks.

The Cardinal had eight total hits. Leah White (2-for-2) nabbed a pair of runs and both Hanna Winter (1-for-2) and Ashley Hansen (1-for-1) scored.

Next up, Stanford will host Oregon April 5 to 7 with the first two games scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT and the final at noon PT.

The Arizona Wildcats jumped two spots to No. 17 after going 2-for-3 in last weekend’s series with Stanford. The Cats lost the first game 4-1 and were 0-4 in conference play for the first time in school history, but came back with two wins, 9-1 (five innings) and 3-1, respectively.

In the eight-run victory, Brigette Del Ponte hit home runs in back-to-back at-bats, both two-run RBI’s to lead UA with 35 and nab her eighth and ninth homers of the season. Baillie Kirker also brought home four in two appearances with a bases-loaded walk to start the game and a three-run, walk-off homer in the fifth to end it.

Kenzie Fowler earned her ninth win of the season, striking out seven in 5.0 innings and allowing just one run on seven hits.

Next up, the Wildcats will travel to Seattle, Wash. for an April 5 to 7 series against the Huskies.

Oregon dropped one spot to tie for the second week in a row, this time with USF for 18th.

The Ducks swept Boise State in a non-conference series March 28 and 29, going 4-1, 14-6 and 6-4 respectively. They followed up with a split series against Arizona State March 31 and April 1, shutting out the Sun Devils 3-0 in game one but losing the second 7-4. The third was cancelled due to poor weather.

Pitcher Jessica Moore earned her 15th win on the season in the 3-0 match; striking out seven, walking two and allowing just four hits in 7.0 innings. She passed former record-holder Amy Harris in total strikeouts with 586, while Harris struck out 584 in her career from 2003-06. Moore also tied for fifth all-time in OU shutouts with 15.

Next up, Oregon will travel to Stanford for an April 5 to 7 series. The first two games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT, with the third at noon PT.

Rounding out the top 25 is Oregon State, which ranks in the top 25 for the first time since Feb. 12, 2008, when it came in at 25th in both USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls.

The Beavers earned three wins over top-15 teams this past week, including a series win over in-state rival Oregon (March 24 to 26) and a road upset of UCLA (April 1).

OSU took non-conference Cal State Northridge in a road double-header on March 28, winning 13-1 (five innings) and 5-1, respectively. While losing the first two at UCLA, 8-4 and 8-0 (five innings), respectively, the Beavers broke UCLA’s 12-game wining streak with a 7-5 win in game three.

Making her first Pac-12 start, freshman Aryn Feickert earned the win over UCLA and improved to 3-0. She tossed 6.1 innings and while she gave up five runs on seven hits, two unearned, she struck out two.

"I'm very proud of the team's effort and response after dropping the first two games of the series to a very good Bruin team," Oregon State head coach Kirk Walker said. "Aryn was fantastic and showed that she has what it takes to win big in the Pac-12."

Tied 3-all in the sixth after leading 3-0 in the fifth, the Beavers added four in the seventh. Paige Hall hit a double into left-center to score two and then Mary Claire Brenner followed in the next at-bat by plating a pair on a hit up the middle.

Next up, Oregon State will host Portland State for a non-conference double-header on April 4. Games are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. PT. OSU will get back to Pac-12 action when it hosts Arizona State April 10 and 11.

After being swept at Washington March 23 to 25, Utah won two non-conference games on March 28 and 29. The Utes blanked Utah State 7-0 and run-ruled at Idaho State 10-2.

In the Utah State shutout, the Utes’ fourth of the season, nine different Utes recorded hits and they had an explosive third inning with five runners scoring.

Chalese Fankhauser hit a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch to get the first two runs. Whitney Holm followed with an RBI single for her 29th of the year. Katelyn Elliott loaded the bases with a base hit and Jackie Sweet did the same to drive in two runs for her 18th of the year. Kate Dickman then had an RBI triple, the first of her career, that brought home Elliot. The team’s final score came in the bottom of the sixth when Joni Cook came home on a fielder’s choice by Desaray Akins.

Next up, Utah will host Hawai’i on April 3 at 4:00 p.m. MT.

Standings: Conference, Overall

California: 6-0, 33-1

Arizona State: 4-1, 32-4

UCLA: 2-1, 25-7

Washington: 3-3, 32-4

Oregon State: 3-3, 26-10

Oregon: 2-3, 23-7

Arizona: 2-4, 23-9

Stanford: 1-5, 27-8

Utah: 0-3, 23-8

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