Cal's ace deals a weekend shutout

Photo: Sophomore Jolene Henderson turned in a dominant weekend in Corvallis, not allowing a single run in 21 innings.
Matthew Miller/File
Sophomore Jolene Henderson turned in a dominant weekend in Corvallis, not allowing a single run in 21 innings.

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Everyone knows how uncomfortable food poisoning is.

Try pitching eight innings of a softball game on top of that.

Cal sophomore Jolene Henderson became ill on Saturday night but still managed to blow through eight scoreless frames during the Bears' 4-0 victory in the rain over Oregon State on Sunday. It marked her 25th complete-game win of the season.

"I knew my team needed me and I wasn't going to not play because I was sick," Henderson said. "Honestly, I was just trying to get through the game. I was so tired and my team was what held us in the game. They played fearless defense and that was enough."

The workhorse's arm didn't seem to tire at all, however, and the hometown Beavers were the ones having fits - Oregon State managed just just three hits off Cal's ace.

And Henderson isn't the only one who is on a roll.

Sunday's win against OSU (18-24, 1-15 in the Pac-10) completed the weekend after a 9-0 run-rule decision on Friday and a 1-0 win on Saturday. The No. 7 Bears (36-9, 13-5) are now riding on an eight-game winning streak and have won 13 out of their past 14.

While Cal came out on top at the end of Sunday's match, it wasn't an easy win to wrest from the Beavers.

The Bears' offense trudged through seven innings of a 0-0 tilt before bringing in four runs in the eighth inning.

Cal managed to log four hits in the first three innings, but struggled to string them together and stranded a total of five baserunners.

Left fielder Jamia Reid, who went 9-for-11 at the plate against No. 11 UCLA last week, cooled down considerably in Corvallis - batting just 2-for-11 in three games against OSU.

She wasn't going to go down easily in her last plate appearance, however. Reid fought through foul ball after foul ball, until she knocked a power hit through second base that put her on first. A sacrifice fly by shortstop Britt Vonk moved her to second. Third baseman Jace Williams singled to left field to bring Reid home from third for the first run of the tilt.

"It all came together," catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt said. "As the lead off batter, Jamia makes things happen and the confidence level goes up. We turned it on and decided to do it (then)."

Added Henderson: "It took a big person to get our team going, and (Jamia) was the one to do it."

With dark clouds rolling in, designated player Ashley Decker came up to bat with the bases juiced, riding on the momentum of the rally Reid started. She doubled down the right field line to bring home Williams and Victoria Jones. Frani Echavarria reached home on a throwing error to give Cal its final 4-0 lead.

After a successful weekend in their their first road series in almost a month, the team closes out Pac-10 play at No. 11 Arizona next week.


Kelly Suckow covers softball. Contact her at [email protected]

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