May 23, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After posting a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a single by Valerie Arioto, the No. 11-seeded California softball team rained five runs on Ohio State in the top of the second to defeat the Buckeyes, 7-0, on Sunday afternoon to win the Columbus Regional. For the third and final game of the Columbus Regional, the Bears shutout their opponent, this time shellacking host Ohio State for seven runs off 10 Cal hits and two OSU errors at Buckeye Stadium. After posting a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a single by Valerie Arioto, the Golden Bears (43-17 overall, 3-0 in the 2010 postseason) rained five runs on the Buckeyes (39-14) in the top of the second off of three hits and two OSU errors.

Arioto pitched the complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits.

Cal advances to Super Regional play for a best of three series with Athens Regional winner Georgia. The winner of the Cal-Georgia series will move onto the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Bears defeated Bucknell, 10-0, on Friday in the Regional's opening game. From there, Cal got past Kentucky, 1-0, on Saturday to move onto Sunday's championship game with the Buckeyes.

The 7-0 win over OSU will be tape delayed on the Big Ten Network on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. PST.

With the Bears leading, 1-0, sophomore center fielder Frani Echavarria reached on an error and moved to third on another error at short. She scored when Elia Reid singled up the middle. With Sevilla at third and Reid at second, Arioto homered to give Cal its key 6-0 lead at the end of the second.

Jamia Reid swung at the first pitch of the game, earning a hit that went past third baseman Megan Coletta. By the time that shortstop Alicia Herron made the dig and throw to first, Reid's speed had her aboard. Reid promptly stole second, her 48th steal of the season, and moved to third when second baseman Shannon Thomas laid down a bunt, her 15th of the year.

Arioto plated Thomas when she yoked a single through the left side and into left field. Arioto was left stranded after Ziegenhirt flied out in fly territory to Coletta and sophomore third baseman Jace Williams grounded out to Whitney Cooper at second.

Frani Echavarria led off and got on when her grounder to Colletta bounced off the third baseman's glove for an error. Designated player Vernae Sevilla hit a grounder to Colletta, who made the turn to second to try and get the advancing Echavarria. The throw to second went awry, however, and Echavarria was safe at second and Sevilla was aboard with a fielder's choice.

Second baseman Whitney Cooper fell in a heap and was unable to retrieve the nearby ball and Echavarria, ever the aggressive baserunner, safely reached third. Sevilla stole her first base of the season on a ball in the dirt to put Bears at third and second with no outs. After Buckeye hurler Megan Miller got Taylor Kelly on a swinging strikeout, Elia Reid singled up the middle to plate Echavarria.

With Cal leading, 2-0, Sevilla at third, Jamia Reid in the box, Elia Reid stole second to remove the force. Jamia Reid struckout swinging to give OSU two away. Thomas then singled into left field, and the ball bounced into a few feet into foul territory with both Sevilla and Reid coming around to score.

It was then, with her Bears up, 4-0, that Arioto gave herself and the Bears an even bigger cushion. Arioto hit her 19th homer of the year, the third of the Columbus Regional and the 31st of her career to bring the score to 6-0.

The top of the third was the first inning in which the Buckeyes sent the Bears down in order.

OSU earned its first hit of the game when right fielder Leah Ledford hit a grounder to Kelly at short. Kelly fielded the ball and made a clean throw to a stretching Jolene Henderson at first, but Ledford beat the throw. Arioto earned her fourth and fifth Ks of the game and a groundout left Ledford stranded.

Jamia Reid had a two-out single back to the pitcher to give Cal its first baserunner of the fourth. Thomas put one on the ground that went past shortstop Alicia Herron's extended arms and into left-center field for a hit. Arioto had the crowd on its feet when she dropped a hit into center, but Vanessa Spears was there to make a first-class catch.

To start the top of the fifth, Ziegenhirt smashed the ball to the wall in left-center. OSU left fielder Dee Dee Hillman made a replay-worthy catch at the wall, bounced off the wooden wall and tumbled in the dirt to make the out. After Williams grounded out, Echavarria hit to the exact place as Ziegenhirt, only Hillman was unable to make the catch and Echavarria had a double.

Sevilla singled to shallow left field to score Echavarria, extending Cal's lead to 7-0.