Walk-off walk against ASU gives Bears first Pac-10 win

Photo: Jordan Wallace drew the game-winning walk against Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo with bases loaded. It was Wallace's 10th walk of the season.
Zully Juarez/Photo
Jordan Wallace drew the game-winning walk against Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo with bases loaded. It was Wallace's 10th walk of the season.

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Heading into its first home game at Levine-Fricke Field against its first conference opponent, the No. 8 Cal softball team could have had three starters missing from the lineup.

In the final game of the weekend's slate, one was able to make a starting appearance.

After spending a week on crutches, pitcher Jolene Henderson received the all-clear to play against No. 4 ASU. The sophomore helped the Bears to a 3-2 victory to rebound from two losses on Friday and Saturday.

All-American pitcher Valerie Arioto has been sidelined all season with a broken leg.

"I can't stay in the dugout and watch my team and feel so helpless," Henderson said. "As a player, I don't like that feeling that I won't be able to come in if something happens."

The Sun Devils (35-3, 2-1 in the Pac-10) ace Dallas Escobedo, who had two strong performances in the preceding games, sat in the dugout until the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, right fielder Elia Reid's solo home run and center fielder Frani Echavarria's RBI single tied the score at 2-2 and prompted ASU coach Clint Myers to pull freshman starter Mackenzie Popescue in favor of Escobedo.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the bases loaded, two outs and a full count, Bears second baseman Jordan Wallace drew a walk to win the game.

Cal (22-7, 1-2) was also still missing baserunning threat of speedster Jamia Reid. The left fielder was still in the dugout with a lingering shoulder injury.

"Jamia is a big deal on our team," Henderson said. "She gets things going, even if it is not home runs. It is the confidence she has at the plate and it is the confidence that she shows in the outfield."

The resulting losses may have been due to the roster changes, but Friday's close 3-1 loss was a testament to the Bears' resilience against the team with the highest batting average in the country.

That resolve was less evident on Saturday in the second game of the weekend series. ASU had Erceg's number all afternoon, tallying 13 hits en route to a 7-2 win.

Escobedo threw a complete game to improve her record to 17-1. The 6-foot-1 freshman had a seven-strikeout performance, backed by infielder Annie Lockwood's two homeruns.

Cal catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt's solo shot in the sixth inning was the Bears' biggest offensive display against the ace.

Despite the struggles in the two games leading up to Sunday, the Bears seemed more confident in their third round with ASU.

"I think all the mystery was gone," Ziegenhirt said. "We pretty much knew who were their hitters and who were their slappers, what was (Escobedo's) go-to pitch and what they would do in certain situations."


Kelly Suckow covers softball.

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