Bears Cruise Past Visiting Gaels

Photo: Taylor Vincent notched a hit in her only at-bat against St. Mary's on Wednesday. She was one of 12 players to reach base for the Bears, who jumped out to a sizeable lead against the Gaels and never broke a sweat at Levine-Fricke Field.
Evan Walbridge/Staff
Taylor Vincent notched a hit in her only at-bat against St. Mary's on Wednesday. She was one of 12 players to reach base for the Bears, who jumped out to a sizeable lead against the Gaels and never broke a sweat at Levine-Fricke Field.

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When St. Mary's catcher Megan Smith hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to cut the Cal softball team's lead to seven runs, it looked like the game was going to drag on for a few more innings.

Luckily for the Bears, outfielder Alex Robben put the Gaels out of their misery in the bottom half of the inning with a walk-off single, pushing the lead back up to eight runs and ending the game due to the mercy rule.

Thanks to Robben's late game heroics, No. 13 Cal defeated St. Mary's, 9-1, on Wednesday in only the fourth game played at Levine-Fricke field this season.

"It's hard to say if we're a better home or away team," catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt said. "But it's definitely more fun to play at home."

After struggling offensively in two losses to No. 8 Washington last weekend, the Bears (25-8, 2-4 in the Pac-10) got back on track against the Gaels by scoring an efficient nine runs. The team tallied 12 hits, left only three runners on base and had seven different players record RBI.

St. Mary's pitcher Jessica Lemmon retired the first batter she saw, but then walked the next three. Lemmon was immediately pulled from the game, and replaced by lefty Audrianna Solari.

Solari proved to be equally ineffective, as she allowed the next three batters to hit RBI singles. The Bears earned their first two runs when freshman Victoria Jones dropped a single into left field, bringing shortstop Britt Vonk and third baseman Jace Williams home. Cal would finish the first inning with five runs.

"We really need to come out and explode, and jump on teams early in order to win games," Ziegenhirt said.

It was all downhill from there for the Gaels (5-17, 2-4 in the PCSC).

The Bears continued to add to their advantage in the bottom of the second, when Williams knocked a double into right field, bringing Jamia Reid in to score. Frani Echavarria followed it up with a sacrifice fly, extending the lead to seven runs after two innings.

Cal also benefitted from a solid outing from pitcher Jolene Henderson, who found her grove after struggling with her control early on. Following a walk to Christine Torrise to lead off the second inning, Henderson hit Mandy Camuso in the head with a pitch. The sophomore right-hander then settled down, striking out the next two batters to end the inning.

With the team leading, 8-0, going into the fifth inning, Henderson, who struck out seven batters, was pulled from the game along with the rest of the starters. Freshman Arianna Erceg relieved Henderson, allowing two doubles and a run in only one inning of work.

Cal clearly outclassed the Gaels, and dominated nearly every facet of the game en route to an easy win. That won't be the case this weekend, when the Bears play host for a three game series with No. 18 Oregon, who swept all three games with Cal in 2010.


Connor Byrne covers softball. Contact him at [email protected]

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