In front of 1,025 fans at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley, Calif., No. 1 California shutout No. 2 Arizona State 5-0 on Friday to earn the inaugural Pac-12 title and its first outright since 1987. The Golden Bears tied for first in the conference in 2005. With the title, California receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Coming into the weekend series, the final of the 2012 regular season, the Pac-12 title was a toss-up for the first team to win two games, determined by a three-game round-robin play. Cal won the first game of the series on Thursday, 4-2, with a two-run, walk-off homer by Valerie Arioto.
Cal's shutout was the 24th of the season and the eighth of the Pac-12 competition.
The Golden Bears first got on board in the bottom of the second when Danielle Henderson (2 H, 3 RBI) hit to left center, just missing the length for a homer, for an RBI single. Henderson drove in a second run in the bottom of the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Then in the bottom of the fifth Cal scored three; two by Elia Reid (1 H, 2 RBI) and one more by Henderson, who plated Jace Williams from third.
On the mound, Lowe's Senior Class Player of the Year candidate Valerie Arioto (20-2) threw a complete game and struck out 11 Sun Devils. Arioto allowed just six hits and one walk against 30 batters faced. She tossed 108 pitches.
The third and final game between Cal and Arizona State is on May 12. Valerie Arioto, Frani Echavarria, Elia Reid, Jamia Reid and Jace Williams will be celebrated for Senior Day.