Almost two weeks ago the seventh-seeded Cal softball team sat in Haas Pavilion awaiting its postseason ticket for the Regional tournament.
Last week, the Bears earned another ticket — this time, to their sixth Super Regional tournament, after they clinched a 3-0 win in the Louisville Regional championship game in Louisville, Ky.
Now, Cal (42-10) will remain in the Bluegrass State for a best-of-three weekend against Kentucky (39-14) at the UK Softball Complex. The winner of this weekend’s match-up will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Ok. The weekend series kicks off at 12 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and is televised on ESPNU.
Looking at Kentucky
After toppling No. 10 seed Michigan, 2-1, in a seventh inning rally last Sunday, the Wildcats secured a berth into their first Super Regional.
Senior enter fielder Meagan Aull lead off the final frame with a solo home run and with the bases juiced, left fielder Annie Rowlands hit the walk-off single to seal the comeback win.
Aull and Rowlands were two key hitters in the the Bears’ last face-off with the Wildcats — the second game of last year’s Columbus Regional. Cal walked away with a 1-0 win, but Aull laid down a sacrifice bunt that put pinch runner Macy Allen in scoring position in the second inning. Rowlands’ single was part of the team’s last efforts to pull out a win in the seventh.
Aside from Valerie Arioto, whose first-inning home run became the game’s lone score, right fielder Elia Reid was the only other player to record a hit off of Kentucky ace Chanda Bell. The Bears counter in the circle with Jolene Henderson, whose nation-leading .80 ERA is nearly a third of Bell’s.
“We can be confident because we have one of the best pitchers in the country on our team,” center fielder Frani Echavarria. “Knowing that, and having speedsters like Britt (Vonk) and Jamia (Reid) and having people hitting when we need them clutch hits with Jace (Williams), it is easy for us to be confident. Everyone knows their roles.”
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