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Pac-12 Softball Update: Cal, Washington, Arizona State, Stanford All Top 10 Teams

Cal Softball 2012
Cal Softball 2012

As of March 20, seven Pac-12 teams, all but two, are ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll.

The No. 2 California Golden Bears (25-1), which sit second behind top-ranked SEC opponent Alabama, run-ruled Princeton on Tuesday, shutting them out 8-0, with two runs apiece by both Jamia Reid and Valerie Arioto.

The Bears also won four of five at the Hawaii Spring Fling March 14-17. Cal shutout both Texas A&M, 3-0, and Marist, 1-0, and beat both Texas, 6-3, and Winthrop, 7-1. Cal’s only loss in the tournament was to host school Hawai’i, 3-1, in 10 innings. Britt Vonk was voted the Tournament MVP, Jolene Henderson the MVP Pitcher, and both Valerie Arioto and Frani Echavarria Cal Members of the All-Tournament Team.

Cal opens Pac-12 play at Stanford March 23-25.

No. 3 Washington stands atop the Pac-12 conference with a 27-1 record. On Tuesday the Huskies won both games against CSU Bakersfield in five innings, 12-0 and 15-4, with the double-header just days after the Purp and Gold swept the Judi Garman Classic, where Kaitlin Inglesby was a standout not only on the mound, but at-bat.

On Saturday the Huskies blew past UC Davis, 14-1 (five innings) and Iowa, 4-3, in which Inglesby combined for four hits, three runs, and four RBI, including a two-run homer in the first inning against Iowa. In the circle she earned a win and a save. The Huskies followed up on Sunday with wins against Notre Dame, 7-2, and DePaul, 9- 1, (five innings). The final game against Oklahoma was cancelled because of poor weather.

Washington opens Pac-12 play March 23-25 when they host Utah.

No. 5 Arizona State also participated in the Judi Garman Classic, during which the Sun Devils (28-3) earned three shutouts and just one loss. Their final game on St. Patrick’s Day against Notre Dame was cancelled due to poor weather.

In the first double-header ASU shutout BYU, 3-0, with Hillary Bach garnering her 78th career victory, just one shy of tying for third all-time at ASU. The team followed up with a 9-2 slide against No. 10/11 Louisiana-Lafayette, in which Katelyn Boyd recorded her 58th career home run, moving her just two shy of second all-time and three hits shy of third in hits with 266. ASU finished the Classic with a 4-0 win over Fresno State and a 1-0 victory against No. 19 Michigan.

Arizona State opens Pac-12 play against Arizona March 23-25 in Tempe, Ariz.

No. 9 Stanford (25-3) swept the six-game Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic March 9-11. The Cardinal took down Ole Miss, 13-5 in five innings, James Madison, 4-0, Colorado State, 11-0 in fiving innings, Ole Miss, 8-4, Cal Poly, 10-0 in five innings, and San Jose State, 7-2.

Rookie pitcher Nyree White earned her first career shutout in Stanford’s 4-0 win over James Madison, throwing her second complete game of the season. She tossed three strikeouts and just 12 balls the whole game. During the tournament, she also pitched against Colorado State (5.0 IP, 5 SO, 16 BF), Cal Poly (5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 SO, 20 BF), and San Jose State (7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 SO, 1 WP, 24 BF).

Stanford opens Pac-12 play March 23-25 when the Cardinal host California.

No. 14 Arizona (18-4), which led the nation with a .988 fielding percentage going into last weekend, was only able to fit in two of its scheduled five matchups in the Judi Garman Classic. But in those two games, the Wildcats beat UC Davis, 8-0, in six innings and Iowa, 6-1.

In game one, Shelby Pendley knocked in five runs, including a walk-off homer in the sixth. Shelby Babcock, who threw a shutout, earned Arizona’s sixth straight shutout and ninth in 11 games.

Against Iowa, Arizona plated three unearned runs on three Hawkeye errors. Kenzie Fowler, who is 8-0 on the mound, was perfect through three innings, allowing just three hits and throwing nine strikeouts. The lone Iowa run was the first against Fowler in 38 innings and the first run allowed by a Wildcat pitcher in seven games.

Arizona plays against New Mexico State on March 21, with games scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. MST.

The UCLA Bruins (20-6), ranked 16th, were five of five in the Long Beach State Invitational March 9-11. The Bruins shutout Long Beach State, 14-0 in five innings and Utah State, 2-0. They also crushed Eastern Kentucky, 9-1 in six, Charleston Southern, 9-1 in five, and Pittsburg, 5-3.

Jessica Hall started the tourney on the mound, striking out seven apiece against Eastern Kentucky and Charleston Southern in a total of 10.0 innings pitched. Verses Pittsburgh she threw two (2.0 IP), and in the closing game against Utah State she earned the save, tossing four strikeouts in two innings.

UCLA plays at UC Santa Barbara on March 25 at 1:00 p.m. PT.

Oregon, tied for 17th with Hawaii, tied it up 1-all in the fifth against Alabama on March 13 in the Ducks’ home-opener, but the Crimson Tide had a late four-run rally roll to take the 5-1 win.

In the circle for Oregon (18-4), All-Pac-12 pitcher Jessica Moore tied her career high in strikeouts (14) with the third-best mark in OU history, and five better than her previous season high. She held the Tide to only one hit in the first five innings.

Oregon opens Pac-12 play against Oregon State March 24-26 in Corvallis, Ore.

The Utah Utes (19-5) won four of their six games played March 9-12 in the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament. The Utes beat both Georgetown and Howard, 5-1, and Colgate both 2-1 and 8-0 (five innings). Utah’s two losses came against Florida Gulf Coast, 2-0, and Stony Brook, 1-0 in eight innings.

In Utah’s wins against Colgate, they outscored them 10-1 and held a 14-3 advantage in hits.

Generra Nielson earned both victories on the mound, including her second no-hitter of her Utah career, the 25th in school history. Nielson didn’t give up an earned run and only allowed one hit in 9.0 innings, while striking out 18.

Utah plays against Southern Utah March 21 in Salt Lake City. Games are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. MT.

Oregon State fell 3-2 against Ivy League foe Harvard on March 11 in Northridge, Calif. Erin Guzy hit a game-tying homerun to make it 2-all in the sixth, but the Crimson added a run in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch.

Guzy’s homer was her third of the season and OSU’s 25th. In 396 at-bats for Guzy in her Oregon State career so far, she only had two home runs, but now has added three in just 76 at-bats during the 2011-12 campaign.

The Beavers, which are 21-7, have already surpassed their winnings from their 2010-11 season, and at the halfway point of this season are standing to have their best year in the last five seasons.

Oregon State opens Pac-12 play against Oregon March 24-26 in Corvallis, Ore.