California shuts down Kentucky
Henderson fires complete game one-hit shutout to lead the way
LEXINGTON, Ky. - With sophomore Jolene Henderson pitching a one-hitter in the circle, all that No. 7-seeded California needed was a solo shot by Frani Echavarria to get a 1-0 victory against Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Bears outhit the Wildcats, 6-1, en route to their Lexington Super Regional opening win.
In front of a UK Softball Complex record 1,717 fans, Jolene Henderson pitched the one-hitter to improve to 38-7 overall and 4-0 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Coming into the game, Henderson - the best pitcher in the country in terms of ERA - was tied for second in the country with 16 shutouts, which she upped to 17 on Saturday.
Cal gets its first Super Regional win since 2006 and its first-ever Super Regional win against an SEC team. The Wildcats and Bears square off at noon on Sunday for a ticket to the Women's College World Series. UK will have to beat Cal twice to advance to Oklahoma City.
With a 1-2 count and one away in the bottom of the fourth, Frani Echavarria homered to center. The homer was her first of the season and the second of her career.
The shutout loss was the first for Kentucky since March 23, when the Wildcats lost to their in-state rivals Louisville, 6-0.
Henderson fanned just four batters with almost perfect defense behind her. Britt Vonk and Victoria Jones - both of whom were appearing in their first Super Regional games - each tallied two hits.
For the Wildcats, Chanda Bell took the six-inning loss. She struck out eight and allowed the one earned run and six hits.