Softball: Bears Capture Hawaii Chevron Invite

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While most students used spring break as an opportunity to kick back and relax, not everyone had such a luxury.

The No. 8 Cal softball team (35-11, 2-1 Pac-10) journeyed home from the Hawaii Chevron Invitational March 25, and returned to the diamond four days later to take on Stanford three times in two days.

The Bears split Saturday's doubleheader, dropping the first game, 6-0, but rallying for a 7-6 victory in the second game of the day.

After being shut out earlier in the day, Cal's offense came alive, scoring two runs in the first inning to take an early lead. The Bears added three more runs with a two-out rally in the second inning.

"The second game, I thought we came out great in the first two innings," Cal coach Diane Ninemire said. "We really set the tone."

Courtney Scott drove in three runs, and Jocelyn Forest struck out three batters in her 19th complete game this season.

"Jocelyn's arm was sore so she didn't have as much pitch control as she would have liked at the end of the game," Ninemire said. "She had enough to give us the win and two of three in the series."

In the morning game, Stanford scored four runs in the second inning and Cal never threatened. Jen Deering replaced Kelly Anderson (5-3), who took the loss, during the second inning, but failed to escape unscathed. Cassie Bobrow replaced Deering and finished the game in the circle.

The Cardinal added two more runs in the fourth inning to solidify its lead.

The Bears got their Pac-10 season started with a 3-2 win over Stanford Friday.

The Cardinal jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Jessica Mendoza's first-inning home run, but Forest and Stanford's Tori Nyberg kept batters quiet for the next four innings.

In the sixth, Nyberg intentionally walked Veronica Nelson to load the bases. After Scott struck out swinging, Chelsea Spencer slapped a double to the fence in left center to clear the bases to give Cal the 3-1 advantage.

Stanford threatened with a run in the seventh, but Forest struck out the next three batters to end the game, finishing with 12 strikeouts, five hits and one walk.

hawaii honors

The Bears beat Northwestern (9-7-1), 9-0 in the championship game of the Hawaii Chevron Invitational March 24 to bring their tournament schedule to a close.

"We had that disappointing loss against them on Saturday, so it was good to come back and beat them for the championship," third baseman Candace Harper said. "We knew we were the better team, and we made a quick statement in the first inning."

The Bears got all the offense they needed early, jumping out to a five-run, first-inning lead.

Harper collected two hits and drove in three runs, and Mikella Pedretti racked up four RBIs of her own.

In the circle, Cal's Forest shut down the Wildcats, surrendering just one hit while striking out 10 batters.

Native Hawaiian Kaleo Eldredge, Spencer and Scott joined Forest, named the tournament's "Outstanding Pitcher," on the all-tournament team.

"They all played great and earned it," Ninemire said. "But we also had lots of other players making key contributions."

In the semifinals, Cal trounced Hofstra, 15-2, to advance to the title game.

The Bears' offense exploded, notching a season-high 19 hits, including four home runs.

Scott hit her second homer of the season in the fourth en route to a five-hit, five-RBI day. Harper, Spencer and Pedretti added to the long-ball barrage, each going yard in Cal's seven-run seventh inning.

"Courtney (Scott) had one of the most outstanding performances of any player this weekend," Ninemire said. "She gets up with lots of runners in scoring position and she got the clutch hits on Sunday."

In the circle for the Bears, Anderson (5-2) went the distance, striking out a career-high 10 batters while walking none.

Cal's only loss of the weekend came against Northwestern.

In the duel of aces, the Wildcats' Lauren Schwendimann came away with the 1-0 victory, pitching seven shutout innings, striking out four and allowing six hits.

For the Bears, Forest gave up four hits while striking out nine. Schwendimann helped her own cause with a bloop single in the top of the seventh to drive in the only run of the game.

"Jocelyn pitched great, and they just got a break," Harper said. "We didn't hit well and they caught any balls we hit hard."

Cal stranded nine base runners and went 1-for-10 with runners on base. The Bears needed extra innings in the morning game to dispatch Nittaidai One, a team representing Nippon Sports Science University.

Freshmen Cassie Bobrow and Anderson teamed up in the circle to pitch Cal to a 3-2 victory. The Bears scored twice in the international tie-breaker to pull out the win.

"They were very enthusiastic and they came out and played hard," Harper said. "They weren't bad, but it shouldn't have taken us that long to put them away."

Cal beat Hofstra in its only Friday game, 4-2. Eldredge crushed a solo shot over the left field fence, and Scott, Spencer and Jessica Vernaglia each added a RBI.

Deering improved to 9-1 on the season, and Anderson picked up her first save after coming on in relief in the fifth.

In the opening round on Thursday, March 21, the Bears downed Nittaidai, 5-3, thanks to a three-run third inning featuring Harper and Nelson's back-to-back dingers, and shut out host Hawaii, 4-0, on Forest's strong pitching performance and Nelson's three-run homer.


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