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Pac-12 Softball: Cal, Oregon Sweep in Pac-12 Openers

Pac-12 play began this past weekend and Cal and Oregon opened big, with Cal senior Jolene Henderson making history on the mound.


CALIFORNIA vs. UTAH: Cal 6-0, 9-4, 4-1

California (26-3, 2-0), which made it to the semi-finals last season before being beaten by eventual WCWS winners Alabama, is sitting at the top of the Pac-12 conference after sweeping Utah (13-13-1) in opening conference play 6-0, 9-4 and 4-1. Utah has lost its last seven games after running on a 12-game unbeaten streak.

In the final win over the Utes, senior pitcher Jolene Henderson tossed her way to the top of Cal's record books recording her 120th win to pass former Cal pitcher Michele Granger (119 wins).

"We've had a number of All-American pitchers here at Cal that have pitched at the Olympic level and the USA level, and here comes Jolene and she has now broken the mark to be the all-time winningest pitcher. That is a phenomenal accomplishment by a great player and a great team player. I know that Jolene will never take credit for all 120 wins because she's the type of player that believes the team is who wins the game, and it is the team who wins, but she has certainly played a great part with 120 wins behind her on the mound," said California head coach Diane Ninemire. "We look forward to a few more wins and finishing strong and I just want to congratulate her on one of the most accomplished awards that one could win."

Henderson struck out five, walked one and had just one run with five hits. Over her career, along with her 120 wins, Henderson has 26 losses and nine saves in 125 games started and 166 games played. She's totaled 1.016 strikeouts in 972 innings.

"The best part about it is that my team has won all these games. I've never won a game all by myself but Cal has had so many people put in so much energy in to all these wins in all these four years here. It all plays a part," Henderson said. "It was cool to win with the team and win our first series and that was what was important."

Next, Cal will play a non-conference game at Sacramento State on March 30 before playing at Arizona April 2 and 3.

Utah will play Utah Valley March 26 and against Arizona March 28-30.

WASHINGTON vs. ARIZONA: Washington 7-1, Arizona 7-4, Washington 8-3

The Washington Huskies (24-7, 2-1) beat Arizona (21-10, 1-2) 7-1 and 8-3 but lost 7-4. The Dawgs tallied three runs in the second and four in the fifth, including Kimberlee Souza's two homers (second and fifth innings) and Victoria Hayward's lead-off triple in the latter.

In Arizona's win, both teams nabbed 10 hits. Arizona's Chelsea Goodacre led going 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double and a homer (team-best 36 RBI, 12 homers) and Kelsey Rodriguez finished 2-for-3 with one run. It was a back-and-forth game as Arizona scored two in the first, two in the third and three in the fifth and the Huskies had two runs in the third and fourth.

In the final match, as the Huskies played their first-ever live game on the Pac-12 Networks, they earned their first-ever series win on the road against Arizona, as the last series win against them was in the Seattle in 2010.

Next, Washington will host Oregon March 28-30.

Arizona will play at Utah March 28-30.

ARIZONA STATE vs. UCLA: UCLA 3-2, Arizona State 10-3, 5-4

Arizona State (31-3, 2-1) won its first Pac-12 series of the season with an almost upset 5-4 win against UCLA (24-6, 1-2). The Sun Devils were on a 5-0 shutout roll at the top of the fourth before UCLA earned four runs in the sixth and had a winning run on base in the seventh. But Mackenzie Popescue earned her first career save in relief and ASU earned the win. Alix Johnson, Allie Butterfield, Elizabeth Caporuscio, Nikki Girard and Bailey Wigness all scored, while Dallas Escobedo (16-3) earned the win.

UCLA won the opening game 3-2 in part to B.B. Bates's 14th homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth and Ally Carda's two-run shot. Carda (15-2) also won on the mound, tossing 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, striking out one and allowing one hit. UCLA lost its 2-0 lead from the bottom of the first when ASU tied it 2-all in the top of the fifth, but Bates's homer was the winner

Next, Arizona State will play against Oregon State March 28-30.

UCLA will compete at Stanford March 28-30.

OREGON vs. STANFORD: Oregon 4-3, 3-2 and 10-3

Stanford (22-8, 0-3) hadn't played a game since March 10 until the Cardinal batted against Oregon (26-4, 3-0) beginning the 23rd and were swept 4-3, 3-2 and 10-3. Oregon's Samantha Pappas hit her second game-winning RBI of the season, her team-leading fifth at the time, on a two-out, seventh-inning double down the right to score Janie Takeda.

"Anything can happen in this conference this year, so getting a win and a good start to the Pac-12 slate was important, especially at home," Oregon head coach Mike White said. "I told Sam before her final at-bat to slow it down and not be so anxious. She was one swing away from a great day, and the previous at-bats didn't matter."

Takeda finished the game 2-for-4 and earned a hit for her 13th straight game and her 16th multi-hit game of the season. Kaylan Howard also hit big that game, smacking a homer over the left field wall in the fourth. Cherdian Hawkins, who earned the win in relief for Jessica Moore in the circle to start the fifth, struck out eight of nine.

Oregon freshman Janelle Lindvall hit two game-winning RBIs, her first and second of the season, one in each the 3-2 and 10-3 wins. In the latter, Oregon stole base five times, with Takeda swiping two and Courtney Ceo, Lindvall and Danica Mercado adding.

Next, Oregon is set to compete at Washington March 28-30.

Stanford will host UCLA March 28-30.

Oregon State (23-6, 0-0) beat UC Davis 1-0 (8) and CSU Bakersfield 13-3 (6) before losing 10-7. Lea Cavestany homered three times in the double-header and tallied four hits. In Oregon State's 13-3 win, the Beavers had 13 runs on 16 hits. Pitcher Marina Demore struck out four and earned her 16th win of the season.

Next, Oregon State will start Pac-12 play at Arizona State March 28-30.