Pac-12 Softball Recap: Lucky Number 7 for Cal

Lucky number seven for California as the Golden Bears were voted No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA poll from May 8 for the seventh straight week, this time earning all 30 first-place votes. Cal earned its fifth Pac-12 series sweep and its seventh overall Pac-12 series victory on the season, taking out Oregon State on the road, 9-1 in five, 4-2 and 4-1.

In the final win of the series, on the mound for Cal, Jolene Henderson (29-1) struck out 12 in 7.0 innings pitched. She allowed just four hits, one earned run and five walks and hit one batter.

Cal took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Ashley Decker scored on a sac fly. In the top of the third Cal took a 2-0 lead when, with bases loaded, Cheyenne Cordes hit a sac fly to left to plate Valerie Arioto from third. In the top of the sixth the Golden Bears added their final two runs when Lindsey Ziegenhirt homered to left-center.

Oregon State scored its single run in the bottom of the seventh but Jolene Henderson got the final two batters to strike out swinging and ground out, leaving two Beavers on base.

Next Cal will play its final Pac-12 series of the regular season May 10 to 12 against Arizona State.

Arizona State is No. 2 for the second straight week after taking down Utah last weekend 13-1 in five, 6-4 and 13-5 in six. This was ASU's third straight Pac-12 series sweep.

During the second game of the series, the Sun Devils scored three home runs and garnered nine strikeouts against Utah. Alix Johnson began ASU's scoring in the bottom of the first when she smacked her ninth homer of the season and her second against Utah. The 2-RBI homer continued ASU's home run streak in Pac-12 play with the Sun Devils having homered against every Pac-12 opponent thus far.

Utah answered with a single run in the top of the third for a 2-1 game, but ASU came back with more home runs. Amber Freeman also hit her ninth of the season in the bottom of the fourth and Elizabeth Caporuscio added ASU's fourth hit and third home run of the game for a 4-1 score. Caporuscio tied for ninth in single season homers and tied for 18th in career homers, both with 14.

Utah scored three on four hits in the top of the sixth to make a 4-all game and ASU swapped pitchers, replacing Hillary Bach with Mackenzie Popescue and then Dallas Escobedo for the final two outs.

In the bottom of the sixth Talor Haro upped ASU's advantage to 5-4 and ultimately the Sun Devils won 6-4 when Katelyn Boyd hit an RBI-double to bring home Bailey Wigness.

With the win Escobedo improved to 18-4 overall and tied for 20th at ASU in single-season wins. She had five strikeouts in 1.2 innings pitched in the game.

Next Arizona State will play at California May 10 to 12 in its final regular season Pac-12 series.

Oregon stayed put at No. 13 for the second straight week. The Ducks beat Seattle 10-8 and 8-0 on May 2 in a non-conference double-header and followed on May 4 and 5 in another non-conference series against Missouri. Oregon lost 5-4, won 8-3 and lost 7-3.

In the third inning of their 8-3 win against Missouri Samantha Pappas hit her seventh home run of the season, a 3-RBI rocket, Christie Nieto scored on an error and Alexa Peterson followed by blasting her sixth on the season in nearly the same spot as Pappas. In the fourth frame, Kaylan Howard batted her team-leading 11th home run of the season, a 2-RBI hit. Howard tied for ninth all-time for Oregon in a season. In the sixth inning Kailee Cuico added a two-out RBI single after Pappas doubled.

Missouri scored its first run in the top of the third and its final two in the top of the fifth.

Next Oregon is set to play its final regular season Pac-12 series May 10 to 12 against UCLA.

No. 14 UCLA improved three spots this week and stands 11-10 in Pac-12 play after taking down Arizona 10-4 and 7-2 before falling 7-6 last weekend.

In its 7-2 win UCLA drew nine walks, Andrea Harrison and B.B. Bates each had three-hit games and Jessica Hall earned the win in the circle throwing five innings of four-hit relief. Harrison and Bates totaled for six of the Bruins' eight hits and six different hitters had a walk. Samantha Camuso and Alyssa Tiumalu each had two walks and each drove in two runs.

Hall earned her 18th win of the season after striking out four and giving up just one run, four hits and three walks in 5.0 innings pitched. Ally Carda started the game tossing 2.0 innings. She threw one strikeout and allowed two hits, one earned run, one walk and one hit batter.

Arizona scored first in the top of the second but UCLA came back with two in the bottom of the third. Stephany LaRosa, Bates and Dani Yudin loaded the bases for Camuso, who drew a walk for the forced score. Tiumalu followed with a walk to force Bates home for the 2-1 edge.

UCLA added its third in the bottom of the fifth frame when Harrison scored on a sac fly and the Bruins scored four more in the bottom of the sixth.

Arizona added its second run in the top of the seventh but it wasn't enough.

Next UCLA is scheduled to play its final regular season Pac-12 series at Oregon May 10 to 12.

No. 15 Stanford jumped four spots after beating Santa Clara 12-1 in five innings in a single non-conference meeting May 1 and followed May 4 to 6 by shutting out Washington 4-0, 1-0 and 10-0 in five.

The 10-0 win was on Stanford's Senior Day, which celebrated Jenna Becerra, Maya Burns and Ashley Hansen, 2011's USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year. Becerra finished with an RBI single, Burns had a sac fly and Hansen was hit by two pitches and scored twice.

Junior pitcher Teagan Gerhart earned her 30th win of the season, the fourth-best mark in a single-season in Stanford history. Gerhart allowed just four hits and two walks while throwing one strikeout.

Stanford leapt to a 4-0 advantage in the first inning. Jenna Rich drove in the first run with a single to center, Burns scored Hansen with a sac fly to right, Rich scored from third on a wild pitch and Becerra hit an RBI single to left to plate Cassandra Roulund.

The Cardinal then added six more runs in the bottom of the second. Roulund hit a single to left to plate Leah White and Hansen. Rich scored her second of the game. Pinch hitter Tegan Schmidt and Hanna Winter drew consecutive walks with bases loaded to score Roulund and Becerra and then pinch runner Tylyn Wells scored the sixth of the inning when White reached on a fielder's choice.

Next Stanford closes out the regular season at Utah May 10 to 12.

No. 17 Arizona fell two places after going 1-for-3 at UCLA, falling 10-4 and 7-2 before winning the series finale 7-6.

In the bottom of the seventh UCLA had just scored a run to make it 7-6. The tying run was on second and the winning run on first. Arizona's Kenzie Fowler was at the mound and UCLA's Dani Yudin was at plate. Fowler got the strikeout for a save.

Eight of the game's 13 runs were scored with home runs, including two apiece by Arizona's Brigette Del Ponte and Kristen Arriola. UCLA's Samantha Camuso drove home all six of UCLA's runs and had two homers herself.

The Wildcats had seven runs on nine hits and Del Ponte and Shelby Pendley led Arizona with two RBI's each. UCLA scored six runs on nine hits. Camuso was 2-for-3 in four at-bats.

Arizona scored once in the top of the second, twice in the third, once in the fourth and three times in the fifth. The Cats held a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Hallie Wilson and Del Ponte each scored twice and Karissa Buchanan, Pendley and Arriola all once.

Next Arizona plays its final regular season game against Oregon State May 10 to 12.

Washington dropped four to No. 18 after losing all three at Stanford, 4-0, 1-0 and 10-0 in five innings in the Huskies' last regular season games of the season.

In their 4-0 loss the Huskies had six hits off Stanford's Teagan Gerhart, but Stanford had eight off Husky Kaitlin Inglesby. Inglesby allowed three runs and struck out five in 3.2 innings pitched while Bryana Walker came on for relief for 2.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits. In their 1-0 loss the Huskies outhit Stanford 6-3, led by freshman Kylee Lahners with three. But Stanford crossed the plate in the fourth when Hanna Winter singled to lead off and scored on a fielder's choice RBI by Ashley Hansen.

Next Washington will have a bye week and await the 2012 NCAA Selection show on May 13 live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. PT.

Oregon State lost its series against California May 4 to 6, dropping 9-1 in five, 4-2 and 4-1.

In the latter on Senior Day, Emily Richardson, Nikki Chandler, Mary Claire Brenner, Erin Guzy and Paige Hall were all honored for their contributions.

Oregon State allowed Cal just three hits in the game, their second fewest in any of its 51 games thus far this season.

OSU scored its single run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Elizabeth Santana, but California was ahead with four runs and ultimately got the win.

On the mound OSU used three pitchers: Paige Hall (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO), Tina Andreana (0.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO) and Marina Demore (5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO).

Next Oregon State concludes its regular season May 10 to 12 at Arizona.

The Utah Utes were swept at Arizona State May 4 to 6, 13-1 in five, 6-4 and 13-5 in six innings, but they have four more chances to win a second Pac-12 game this season after earning their first on April 28. When polled on Pacific Takes whether or not Utah will win another game this regular season, 20 of 39 voters, 51%, said "yes."

In Utah's 6-4 loss the Utes cut their loss in half to 2-1 in the top of the third when Taylor Austin scored. Then they tied it 4-all in the top of the sixth with freshman Kate Dickman hitting a two-run single to lead Utah's three-run sixth-inning rally. Dickman has driven in 21 runs her rookie season and ranked third on the team with 41 hits this game. But, Arizona State added two in the bottom of the sixth.

Next Utah hosts Utah Valley in a single non-conference meeting on May 8. They'll round out their inaugural Pac-12 season May 10 and 12 against Stanford.

Standings: Conference, Overall

California: 19-2, 48-3

Arizona State: 17-2, 45-5

Oregon: 11-8, 37-14

UCLA: 11-10, 35-16

Arizona: 10-11, 33-16

Stanford: 9-12, 36-16

Oregon State: 8-12, 33-19

Washington: 7-16, 36-17

Utah: 1-20, 26-26

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