The Hendersons sure know how to make an appearance.
Behind strong performances by Jolene and Danielle Henderson, the No. 1 Cal softball team rebounded after dropping the middle game of its series to Oregon on Saturday, defeating the Ducks 10-0 Sunday at Howe Field in Eugene, Ore.
“We came out with a different game plan today,” Jolene said. “We made adjustments and jumped all over the starting pitcher.”
Danielle hit a two-run double in the third to blow open the scoring for the Bears (42-3, 13-2 in the Pac-12), and Jolene pitched a three-hit shutout to shut down an Oregon offense that has had no problem scoring against other Pac-12 powers. Oregon (32-11, 9-7) is hitting a robust .316 as a team, averaging 5.5 runs per game against Pac-12 teams.
The Bears’ main obstacle Sunday was Jessica Moore, the heralded Duck starter. Going in, Moore had compiled a 22-7 record with a 1.88 ERA. Moore may have been Cal’s most difficult pitching opponent to date; her resume includes more strikeouts than hits allowed, and wins against Arizona State and Washington.
But the resilient Cal offense is not one to be repeatedly outmatched. After suffering a shutout at the hands of Moore yesterday, the Bears rebounded with a hitting barrage, chasing Moore after allowing four runs in only 2 2/3 innings.
Although Moore was able to keep Cal at bay for the first two frames, the wheels began to spin off in the third. Moore walked the bases loaded for Danielle Henderson, who smashed a liner into right-center to plate Valerie Arioto and Breana Kostreba. Jolene followed with a single through the hole on the left side, scoring Danielle and Cheyenne Cordes to put the Bears up 4-0.
Cal added some embarrassment to an already lopsided deficit in the sixth. Ashley Decker, a little-used utility player, took Oregon reliever Karissa Hovinga deep with a two-run shot. Arioto came up next and followed with her 20th home run of the year, putting the Bears up 8-0.
After Williams singled to right field, Kostreba stepped up and hit the third home run of the inning to straight away center, finishing the scoring at 10-0.
Beneath the offensive surge was Jolene Henderson’s pitching performance. The Oregon offense was stymied all weekend by Jolene’s offerings, allowing just three hits today while striking out six and walking only one. Including Friday’s 8-1 victory, Jolene pitched 13 innings against the Ducks, allowing only seven hits and one run.
“I went after batters today,” Jolene said. “And our defense really stepped up and continued to play well.”
The win established Cal’s pole position in the treacherous Pac-12 race. On Friday, the Bears took out the Ducks 8-1 behind Jolene Henderson’s gem and a four-RBI day from Williams. The Cal offense shut down on Saturday, losing 1-0. The Bears are one game ahead of No. 5 Arizona State in the Pac-12 standings.