Streaking Cal Looks to Maintain Momentum on Fullerton Road Trip





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Newton's first law of motion states: "An object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

The No. 7 Cal softball team (15-4), looks to stay in motion at the Worth Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., and hopes it encounters no unbalanced forces.

After a 4-4 start, the Bears have won 11 straight, including a 3-0 victory over then-No. 4 LSU.

"This team fights for everything and refuses to lose," Cal coach Diane Ninemire said. "They're finding ways to win games."

Cal gets its weekend started Friday with a 2 p.m. matchup against Oklahoma State (15-2).

Pitching will be the key against the big bats of the Cowgirls' lineup, which features three .400 batters.

"Our pitching has looked very good," Ninemire said. "Our pitchers have been finishing games and throwing well so we know we can depend on them."

The Bears could face OSU's Lauren Bay, who is 6-1 with a 1.34 ERA this season.

In the 6 p.m. nightcap, Cal takes on San Diego State (9-9-1).

Sophomore Jessi Green tops the Aztecs' pitching staff with a 3-1 record and 1.78 ERA.

On Saturday, the Bears meet Ohio State (9-1) at noon.

Jennifer Link keys the Buckeyes' offense with a .467 batting average and nine stolen bases. Stacy Roth is hitting .407 and leads the team with 11 RBIs.

Wendy Allen anchors the pitching staff with a 3-1 record and 0.34 ERA in five appearances.

In their afternoon game, Cal takes on its only ranked opponent of the weekend, host No. 14 Cal State Fullerton (8-8).

Monica Lucatero's .359 batting average and Amanda Hockett's three home runs ad 11 RBIs set the pace for the Titans.

In the circle, Gina Oaks sports a 4-2 record and a 0.99 ERA.

The Bears get started early Sunday, meeting Minnesota (11-1) at 9 a.m.

For the Golden Gophers, ace Piper Marten has an 8-0 record with a 0.47 ERA, and has notched 67 strikeouts in 45 innings.

Cal's weekend concludes with a 1 p.m. rematch against Portland State (1-4).

The Bears shut out the Vikings 8-0 on Feb. 17 at the UNLV Softball Classic behind freshman Cassie Bobrow's six-strikeout performance.

Cal's long win streak has coincided with a surging lineup.

After a quiet start, senior third baseman Candace Harper has driven in 12 runs in the Bears' last 11 games and leads Cal with a .397 batting average.

Catcher Courtney Scott leads the team with 14 RBIs. Freshman Kaleo Eldredge has swiped four bases and is second on the team with a .381 batting average.

"You never know how players will adapt to this level," Ninemire said. "But Kaleo has adapted very well and she's doing everything we'd hoped."

Slugger Veronica Nelson has hit three home runs despite drawing 30 walks in the young season. The junior is just two walks short of the NCAA career record of 211, set by Oregon State's Tarrah Beyster between 1997 and 2000.

"We're getting contributions from everyone," Ninemire said. "Our ninth batter (Jessica Pamanian) hit a grand slam, so everyone is making big plays."

Led by senior Joclyn Forest, Cal's pitching staff has dominated opponents. Forest is 5-2 with a 1.30 ERA and has 72 strikeouts in 48 innings.

Bobrow is 4-0 without allowing an earned run, and Jen Deering is 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA.

"The whole team is starting to come together," Forest said. "We're doing the fundamental things and everybody is contributing."

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