SOFTBALL FALLS TO 13TH-RANKED CAL
BERKELEY – Cal right-hander Jolene Henderson was perfect through six innings before allowing a leadoff single in the seventh to lead the 13th-ranked Bears to a 6-0 victory over Sacramento State in a non-conference softball game Wednesday afternoon at Levine-Fricke Field.
With the win, Cal, which is ranked 13th in the nation in the latest NFCA top 25 poll, won for the eighth time in 10 games and improved to 30-8 overall. In addition, Cal’s Diane Ninemire won her 1,000th career game as a head coach. In her 23rd season with the Bears, Ninemire is now 1,000-485.
Sacramento State, which started seven underclassmen in the game (including five freshmen), dropped to 10-24 overall. The Hornets remained winless when playing an opponent on its home field (0-9).
Today’s game served as the final non-conference tune-up of the season as Sacramento State jumps into Pacific Coast Softball Conference play this weekend with a four-game home series against Santa Clara. The Hornets and Broncos play doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday at noon. Sacramento State has won nine straight meetings in the series between the two teams dating back to 2007.
In today’s game, Henderson was dominant all day, retiring the first 18 Hornets in succession before sophomore Alyssa Nakken broke up the perfect game with a single to begin the seventh inning. That was the only hit Sacramento State would accumulate all day. Henderson (13-3) lowered her season ERA to 0.94 while facing just one batter over the minimum. After Nakken’s single, Henderson retired the next three batters in succession.
The Bears scored twice in the first inning, once in the third, and three more in the fourth. Valerie Arioto finished the day 2-for-2 with a run and five RBIs. That included a three-run single in the fourth inning on a ball that Hornet second baseman Molly Smith went back on and had the ball in her glove before it popped out. The play was ruled a single and all three runs scored.
The lone highlight of the day for the Hornets came in the circle where junior right-hander Megan Schaefer was making her first appearance in three weeks. Schaefer, who had been out with a concussion, threw scoreless innings of relief in both the fifth and sixth. She finished the game allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out two over two innings.
Three different Hornet pitchers appeared in the game, as junior Jacquelyn Serrano worked the first two innings and sophomore Shelby Voelz pitched in the third and fourth. Serrano (2-6) got the loss, allowing one hit and two runs (one earned).
Fourteen of Sacramento State’s 15 healthy players appeared in today’s game.
After this weekend’s four-game series against Santa Clara, the Hornets have just two remaining home dates on the schedule, and that doesn’t come until May 1-2 when the team hosts Cal State Bakersfield for a four-game set.