Despite Great Pitching, Perfect Start Eludes Cal





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The opening act didn't play out quite the way it had been rehearsed.

After suffering only one loss in its first 33 games last year, the No. 5 Cal softball team lost to No. 19 Pacific Sunday to fall to 2-1 on the season. The Bears had swept a doubleheader with Sacramento State Saturday.

Pacific's Cindy Ball stumped the Bears, allowing only four hits in a 4-0 shutout.

"We had lots of opportunities to score runs," Cal head coach Diane Ninemire said. "We got some runners on base but we didn't get the timely hits to bring them in."

On the mound, Cal senior Jocelyn Forest (1-1), pitching for the second time in as many days, didn't have the same mastery she displayed Saturday in a win over the Hornets.

The Tigers' Kristen Allen opened scoring with a fifth-inning solo shot.

Sac State added three insurance runs in the sixth thanks to Estee Okumura's RBI double and back-to-back, bases-loaded walks by Cal's Kelly Anderson, who relieved Forest following Pacific's second run.

"We didn't play our best ball," Ninemire said. "But we'll learn from our mistakes and get ready for next weekend."

The loss left Ninemire one win shy of 600 victories as a coach.

Victories 598 and 599 came Saturday against Sacramento State at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.

Junior Jennifer Deering tossed a two-hit shutout in the afternoon game, holding an early lead to close the day with a 4-0 victory.

Deering notched seven strikeouts and surrendered only one walk over seven innings.

"We had great pitching all day," Ninemire said. "That's something that can really carry us this season."

The Bears jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on Courtney Scott's first-inning double into the left field gap to drive home Candace Harper and Jessica Pamanian.

Scott also contributed from behind the plate, gunning down two would-be base stealers.

In the second inning, junior Mikella Pedretti increased the Bears' lead with a home run down the left-field line.

Harper struck again in the fifth, ripping a double down the left-field line and advancing on Scott's single. Deering's chopper over third brought Harper home and gave Cal a 4-0 lead.

The Bears collected 11 hits. Scott accounted for three, while Harper and Kaleo Eldredge each collected a pair.

"We got the scoring started right off and everybody was hitting," Ninemire said. "It was a great way to start the season."

Cal opened its day with a 3-2 victory in the first game of its doubleheader against the Hornets.

Forest dominated most of the game, pitching six and one-third perfect innings before surrendering a two-run homer to Jillian Bivert following a walk.

Forest quickly retired the next two batters to finish with 13 strikeouts and the victory.

"Jocelyn threw a great game and just had a little trouble in the seventh inning," Ninemire said. "She had lots of strikeouts and showed what she can do."

The Bears built a 3-0 lead on RBI singles by Chelsea Spencer and Harper and Anderson's fourth-inning bomb before Sac State was able to muster a response.

"Sacramento couldn't get anything going on offense all day, and they never really threatened," Ninemire said. "We looked focused and played great defense and came away with a couple of wins."

Cal travels to Tempe, Ariz., Friday to compete in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament.

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