BERKELEY, Calif. ?- The No. 3 Arizona softball team (37-10, 11-8) began its final weekend of play by ending up on the short end of a 1-0 thriller at No. 2 California (45-10, 1, 12-7).
UA junior Leslie Wolfe (3-2) was the tough luck loser, as she gave up one run on six hits in her six and one third innings of work. Cal’s Kelly Anderson (24-6) was a bit better than Wolfe, surrendering three hits over the course of her seven shut out innings.
Arizona’s two offensive opportunities came in the first inning and seventh innings. In the first, Caitlin Lowe opened up the game with a single. Following an Autumn Champion strikeout, Kristie Fox walked, and Jackie Coburn consequently reached on an error to load the bases. Anderson worked out of the jam, however, inducing Jen Martinez into a lineout and Crystal Farley to groundout.
The seventh inning began with a Farley single, before Callista Balko bunted her to second base. Another out later, Adrienne Acton and Lowe both walked to load the bases, but Champion was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, as the Wildcats stranded three runners in an inning for the second time. Despite UA’s lack of scoring, Anderson retired the Wildcats in order in just two of the seven innings.
With the game still scoreless entering the bottom half of the seventh, the Golden Bears came out swinging. Designated player Emily Friedman singled to center, before being lifted for the speedy Jessica Vernaglia. Cal coach Diane Ninemire had Kristen Bayless bunt Vernaglia to second, setting the stage for Alex Sutton. Sutton, a .198 nine-hole hitter, drove Vernaglia home with a single to win the game.
This was Cal’s third consecutive 1-0 win and sixth game of the last eight in which the score was 1-0.
Arizona next plays Friday at 7:30 (PDT/MST) against No. 5 Stanford. The game will be televised live on CSTV. On Saturday, UA will wrap-up its regular season by playing the Cardinal at 3 p.m. (PDT/MST).