March 25, 2000
BERKELEY, Calif. -- No. 8 Stanford opened Pac-10 play for 2000 with a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in 12 innings to No. 4 California Saturday afternoon at Levine-Fricke Field. The Cardinal falls to 28-4 and sees its 12-game win streak end, while the Golden Bears improve to 37-4.
The Pac-10's first game of the season quickly developed into a pitchers' duel. Cal sophomore Jocelyn Forest, who came in with a 40-9 career record and a 16-2 mark in 2000, retired the side in the top of the first. Stanford freshman Dana Sorensen (San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, and both did the same in the second. Forest carried a streak of five consecutive strikeouts into the third, when junior Ramona Shelburne (West Hills, CA/El Camino Real HS) drove a two-out single to center for the game's first hit. Forest got the third out to avoid any damage, however.
Stanford drew first blood in the top of the fourth. With one out, Stanford sophomore Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA/Camarillo HS) fouled the first pitch down the first-base line. Seconds later, Mendoza launched the 0-1 offering into the afternoon. It not only cleared the right-field wall 200 feet away, but also flew over a 10-foot retaining fence behind the wall. The line shot was Mendoza's fifth home run of the season and extended the sophomore's Stanford career record for homers to 14.
Stanford got three more runs in the top of the sixth. Senior Kellie Wiginton (Fresno, CA/Bullard HS) hit a one-out single to right-center, then sophomore Robin Walker (La Palma, CA/Mater Dei HS) did the same. Mendoza then hit an RBI single to right, and the ball rolled past the right fielder for an error. Walker scored from first and Mendoza advanced to third on the error. Sophomore Sarah Beeson (Tucson, AZ/Canyon del Oro HS) singled up the middle to score Mendoza, making it 4-0.
California got the runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Courtney Scott broke up Sorensen's no-hitter with an infield single to lead off the inning. After an out, Pauline Duenas was hit by a pitch. Sorensen got the second out on a fly ball before facing Bear freshman Veronica Nelson, who has already broken the Cal single-season record for home runs this season, with 12. Nelson drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, then Lisa Iancin did the same to bring in the first run. Candace Harper singled to center to make it 4-2, then freshman Maureen LeCocq (Woodland Hills, CA/Chaminade Prep) came on to replace Sorensen in the circle. Eryn Manahan singled down the left-field line to drive in a third run, then pinch hitter Jen Deering drew a walk to tie the game. LeCocq then induced a comebacker and threw the runner out at first to strand three Bears and end the inning.
The Bears threatened again in the bottom of the seventh. Amber Phillips led off with a single, and Duenas put down a bunt. First baseman Beeson fielded Duenas' bunt, but her throw pulled second baseman Kira Ching (San Lorenzo, CA/Arroyo HS) off the bag at first. Paige Bowie sacrificed both runners over, leaving runners on second and third with only one out for Nelson. But LeCocq induced Nelson, who is hitting .404 on the season, to ground out, and then got another ground-ball out to end the threat. Both teams went fairly quitely in the eighth and the ninth.
The international tiebreaker rule, which places a runner on second base to lead off the inning, was employed beginning in the 10th, as per Pac-10 rule. Stanford had LeCocq, who started as the designated player before coming in to pitch, on second to start the top of the 10th. After an out, freshman Cassi Brangham (Clovis, CA/CLovis HS) reached on an error to advance LeCocq to third. But Forest got her 16th strikeout and a flyout to end the threat. In the bottom of the 10th Bowie was placed on second, but LeCocq retired three straight batters. Wiginton was placed on second to start the 11th. Walker popped out to short, then Mendoza hit a screamer up the middle. Forest got her glove on the ball to avoid injury, but Mendoza reached first with the base hit and Wiginton advanced to third. But Forest rang up her 17th K and got another flyout to end the inning. Harper began the bottom of the 11th on second, but was doubled off when Mendoza made a running catch of Manahan's liner to center. After a single, LeCocq got a comebacker to end the inning.
Ching was placed on second to start Stanford's half of the 12th. LeCocq was hit by a pitch, then junior Jenni Shideler (San Jose, CA/Leland HS) sacrificed both runners over. Brangham flew out to left, and Ching got a bad jump off the bag at third, and did not attempt to score. Shelburne then hit a ball sharply down the third-base line, and reached safely when the third baseman deflected the ball toward the Cal dugout. Ching scored and LeCocq moved to third, but Forest got the third out to leave the score at 5-4. Scott began the home half of the 12th on second. LeCocq got a strikeout, then Duenas ripped a single back up the middle that ticked off LeCocq's glove. Bowie, the next batter, did the exact same thing, but LeCocq was able to catch the line drive for the second out, leaving runners at first and third for Nelson. Nelson delivered, blasting a line shot high off the wall in left, scoring the tying run. Lisa Iancin then ripped a two-strike single down the third-base line to score Duenas and end the game.
Forest improves to 17-2 after striking out 17 and walking no one in a 203-pitch effort. Eight Bears each had one hit. For Stanford, Sorensen struck out five in 5.2 innings, allowing only two hits. LeCocq fell to 4-1 with the loss despite giving up only one run in six innings of work. Mendoza was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored to raise her average to .466.
The two teams return to action Sunday with a rematch at the Stanford Softball Complex. Gametime is 1:00 p.m.