May 17, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The California Golden Bears improved to 38-18 and advanced to NCAA Softball Super Regional play with a 2-1 win over Oklahoma State (36-22) Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the 2009 NCAA Softball Tallahassee Regional at JoAnne Graf Field. Cal will face the University of Florida next weekend in a three game series with the winner heading to the College World Series.
The Golden Bears recorded eight hits in Sunday’s victory while Cal pitcher Marissa Drewrey held the Cowgirls to just two hits as she picked up her third straight complete game victory and improved to 24-10 on the year.
California broke the 1-1 tie in the fifth inning when with one out, the Golden Bears put together a string of three hits to score the go-ahead run. Frani Echavarria, Jamia Reid and Shannon Thomas recorded singles to load the bases and Echavarria scored on fielder’s choice by Valerie Arioto. It was Arioto’s 37th RBI of the season.
The Cowgirls took advantage of a Cal pitching mishap in the top of the first inning and scored their only run of the afternoon. Leadoff batter Mariah Gearhart reached base after being hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. With two out, Sam Heinlein drove in Gearhart with a single up the middle. It was Heinlein’s 27th RBI of the season and Gearhart’s team-leading 46th run.
Cal tied the game with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. With one out, Thomas singled toward third and after stealing second, went on to score on a two-out single to left by Gina Leomiti, one of Cal’s RBI leaders with 37 on the year.
Oklahoma State threatened in the top of the 7th inning as with one out, Julie Ward and Chelsea Garcia reached base on California errors. Drewrey forced a pop up by OSU pinch-hitter Jessica Meza for the second out but Gearhart hit a single down the middle to load the bases. Katelyn Bright grounded out to the shortstop to end the game.
OSU pitcher Anna Whiddon finished the season with a 21-14 record.
California Head Coach Diane Ninemire:
“Well I thought this was really a championship game. It was a very close game. Oklahoma State came out with everything they had today and we knew that we had to come out with our best. Marissa Drewrey, she just showed up everyday for us, throwing really great games all the way through this tournament and I can’t say enough of her performance.”
“Offensively, we found a way sometimes to score. We left a lot of runners on but we came up with a key hit when we needed it and we came up with the defense when we needed it, even though that was shaky towards the ends there.”
“They were putting pressure on us but all good teams like Oklahoma State, they’re going do that in the last inning. You’ve got to count on that they’re not going to just sit down and die, they’re going to come out with everything they have. Those girls really fought hard and our girls, they stuck in there tough and like I said Marissa came up with the key pitches for us today and we’re just really happy to go on.”
Oklahoma State Head Coach Rich Wieligman:
“They’ve (his players) come in and they’ve kept getting better and they’re working hard and they’re seeing the successes, too. This is a good regional for us. Our guys fought right down to the end this last game and they needed it. We’re young, we’re young and we’re going to keep getting better so I look forward to next year. They need to keep working and remember this regional and learn for it.”