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Pac-12 Softball Recap: Cal Golden Bears No. 1 Again, ASU No. 4

The Golden Bears are probably grinning after earning their third straight No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll from April 10, 2012, representing the ninth week of competition. Cal received 29 first-place votes and No. 2 Alabama earned one.

Cal captured its second and third overall Pac-12 series sweep last weekend taking down the Utah Utes on the road, 10-0 (five innings), 11-3 (five innings) and 12-3 (six innings), respectively. Cal stands a perfect 9-0 in Pac-12 play, 6-0 at home, 7-0 on the road and is 23-1 on neutral ground.

In Cal's 10-0 shutout senior Frani Echavarria had five RBI's from two doubles and one home run.

In the top of the second, Echavarria drove home Danielle Henderson and Victoria Jones from third and second, respectively, with a double to left. In the top of the third, Echavarria again doubled to left and scored Cheyenne Cordes. In the top of the fourth Echavarria homered to right to bring home Jones for the second time, from first base.

"After receiving a big target on our backs on (April 3) on being number one unanimously, every game is going to be tough because every team is going to play their best nine to beat us," Echavarria said. "So for us to come out as a team and win our first game by 10, speaks volumes about our team.

"We live to compete," Echavarria continued. "In the Pac-12, anyone can beat anyone. Personally, as a senior, I'm just trying to have fun and leave my mark. My teammates push me to play my best every day."

Cordes finished the game with three runs, Echavarria, Jones and Henderson had two and Breana Kostreba scored one.

On the mound Jolene Henderson earned her 19th win of the season for Cal, tossing seven strikeouts and allowing just two hits in 5.0 innings.

Next the Golden Bears will play a single game at Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif. on April 11 at 3:00 p.m. PT.

Also earning a series sweep was No. 4 Arizona State, which improved three rankings after taking down UCLA last weekend 9-1 (six innings), 9-1 (five innings) and 4-2, respectively. The sweep marks Arizona State's second all-time against the Bruins in series history dating back to 1980 and the second so far this season.

In the final game, down 2-0 for the first time all weekend, the Sun Devils caught fire in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead after four straight singles, a fielder's choice, a walk and Katelyn Boyd's home plate slide on a wild pitch.

But that wasn't Boyd's only impression. She nailed her 15th home run of the season -- 58thof her career and two shy of ASU's record 60 - for the Sun Devils' final run in the sixth for ASU's 4-2 win.

Next Arizona State will travel to Oregon State on April 10 and 11. Games are scheduled for 2:00 p.m./4:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

After winning their first 13 games of the season, the No. 7 Washington Huskies, which fell three spots, have lost their last 5-of-6, including two against Arizona in their weekend series April 5 to 7. The Dawgs dropped the first two games, 2-0 and 5-3, respectively, before winning the final meeting 7-5.

Washington's 7-5 win was a slow start but a rather cat and mouse game. In the top of the third Arizona's Hallie Wilson homered on Bryana Walker's 3-1 pitch. But UW fought back in the bottom with five runs of its own - on two outs. Kimi Pohlman and pinch hitter Kelli Suguro each had an RBI single, Kylee Lahners scored two with an RBI single and Hooch Fagaly made it 5-1 with an RBi single to center.

Arizona answered back with one run in the top of the fourth, but the Huskies plated two in the bottom off a two-run home run by designated player Kaitlin Inglesby. Arizona then followed in the sixth with three runs off three walks and an error before Inglesby took to the mound to blank any more AU runs and eventually the Dawgs earned the 7-5 score.

Next Washington travels to Eugene, Ore. to take on the Ducks April 10 and 11. Games are slated for 3:00 p.m./5:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

In the series at Washington, the No. 13 Arizona Wildcats, improving four spots, went 2-for-3, going 2-4 on the road. The Cats took the first two games, 2-0 and 5-3, respectively, before falling 7-5 in the third.

In Arizona's 5-3 victory - which began Friday night but was suspended due to rain - the Cats picked up on Saturday where they left off in the sixth inning. With two outs and runners on the corners, Arizona's pitcher tossed a wild one. Victoria Hayward attempted the run home but was tagged by Brigette Del Ponte at the plate to close the inning.

Washington was first on board in the bottom of the first inning and it added two more in the bottom of the fifth, but Arizona plated Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria, Jessica Spigner, Sam Davis and Chelsea Suitos in the top of the fifth for the eventual win.

Next Arizona will host Utah on April 10 and 11, with games scheduled for 5:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. MST.

No. 15 Stanford, dropping one place, won three of their last 10 games, going 1-for-3 this past weekend while hosting Oregon. Stanford fell 8-5, then won 7-6 and lost the final 12-8.

After trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third in their 7-6 victory, Stanford took a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Ashley Hansen hit a bases clearing triple to score pinch hitter Erin Ashby, Hanna Winter and Leah White. Maya Burns followed with an RBI single to score Hansen, Tylyn Wells came in for Burns to pinch run and then Jenna Rich hit a left field homer for the additional two runs.

Oregon added one to make it a 6-3 game in the sixth, but Stanford answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth as White reached on a throwing error. The Ducks again plated in the top of the seventh, this time three runs to make it one-run game, but Christie Nieto hit a fly out to center to close out the game.

Teagan Gerhart earned her 23rd win on the season for Stanford, pitching 4.2 innings and allowing five hits, four runs, one error, three strikeouts, two wild pitches and one hit-by-pitch.

Next Stanford will travel to Los Angeles to play at UCLA on April 10 and 11. Games are set for 5:00 p.m./7:30 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

On the road the No. 16 UCLA Bruins, falling three rankings, are 5-3 after falling 9-1 (six innings), 9-1 (five innings) and 4-2 this past weekend at Arizona State in UCLA's second all-time series sweep against the Sun Devils since 1980.

In the 4-2 loss, the Bruins were first on the board for the first time of the weekend, taking a 2-0 advantage. Katie Schroeder made it home from second on a Stephany LaRosa single up middle and Andrea Harrison hit a two-out home run to right, her ninth of the season.

But Arizona State came back to earn the eventual 4-2 win and series sweep over UCLA, nabbing three runs in the fourth and a home run in the sixth by Katelyn Boyd, her second run of the day.

Next UCLA will host Stanford on April 10 and 11, with games slated to start at 5:00 p.m./7:30 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

The Oregon Ducks, ranked 19th, went 2-for-3 at Stanford this past weekend, winning 8-5, losing 7-6 and winning again 12-8.

In the first matchup, Oregon was first on the board in the first and later added two runs in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the seventh.

Up 4-2 heading into the fifth inning, Kailee Cuico (2-for-3, 4 RBI) branched Oregon's lead to 7-2 after a three-run homer to left field plated Kaylan Howard and Courtney Ceo. Stanford came back with two runs of its own and one more in the sixth, but that wasn't enough for the Cardinal as the Ducks scored the final run, their eighth, in the top of the seventh.

In Oregon's 12-8 victory in game three, the team had 12 runs on 16 hits and drilled 12 RBI's, including three apiece from Christie Nieto, Samantha Pappas and Howard.

Next the Ducks will host Washington on April 10 and 11, with games slated for 3:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

Oregon State rounded out the top 25 for the second consecutive week. The Beavers were supposed to host Portland State on April 4 in a double-header but the games were postponed due to rain and poor field conditions. The matchup will be rescheduled for April 24 at 2:00 p.m./4:00 p.m. PT.

Next the Beavers will host Arizona State on April 10 and 11. Games are scheduled for 2:00 p.m./4:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

The Utah Utes lost 7-3 on April 3 in a one-game stint against Hawai'i and fell to California April 5 to 7, 10-0 (five innings), 11-3 (five innings) and 12-3 (six innings), respectively.

In the final contest between the Utes and the Golden Bears, Utah plated first in the bottom of the first when Whitney Holm drove Kelsi Hoopliana home from second on a left-center field single. Cal then reacted by scoring three runs in the next two innings for a 3-1 lead before Utah tied it 3-all with two in the bottom of the fourth. Katelyn Elliot hit a solo home run and Marissa Mendenhall scored Hannah Clements on a pinch-hit double to left-center.

Utah's runs, however, weren't enough as the Golden Bears added nine in the fifth and sixth innings against Generra Nielson who threw 5.2 innings and allowed 12 hits, 11 runs, 11 errors, five walks and four strikeouts.

Next Utah travels to Tuscon, Ariz. on April 10 and 11, with games scheduled for 5:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. PT.

Standings: Conference, Overall

California: 9-0, 36-1

Arizona State: 7-1, 35-4

Oregon: 4-4, 25-8

Oregon State: 3-3, 26-10

Washington: 4-5, 33-6

Arizona: 4-5, 25-10

UCLA: 2-4, 25-10

Stanford: 2-7, 28-10

Utah: 0-6, 23-12