A new day saw a very different performance from the Bears against a familiar foe. The Bears put balls in play, got clutch two out hits, and hit for power - everything they didn't do against Oklahoma. It all added up to a mostly drama free 6-3 win over Pac-12 rival Oregon.
As a result, Cal advances to the semi-finals, where they will face the unenviable challenge of beating 2nd ranked Alabama twice. Game 1 will take place tomorrow at 12:30 PT on ESPN. If the Bears won that game they would play Alabama again in the late game for the chance to advance to the Championship Series.
The biggest hit of the game was Jace Williams' three run home run in the first inning. Britt Vonk's single and Frani Echavarria's walk set up the inning, and Jace hit a shot that kept carrying right over the wall near dead center. It was the big hit that was lacking yesterday, and I can only imagine that it helped settle down Jolene Henderson immediately to head to the circle with a quick lead. And even better, Cal kept the early offense coming.
In the 2nd inning it was Britt Vonk with the two out hit. Danielle Henderson and Jamia Reid both reached on base hits before advancing on a passed ball. Vonk turned on an inside pitch, blooping it down the line in right field. Henderson and Reid scored easily, and the game felt virtually over at that point.
Jolene Henderson cruised through the first five innings without much trouble. The only hard hit ball I recall was Samanta Pappas' 3rd inning home run. Luckily Victoria Jones followed that home run with a home run of her own in the next half inning.
To Oregon's credit they finally got to Jolene in the 6th inning with a single, hit by pitch, walk and double. The Ducks even got the tying run to the plate, but Jolene got out of her jam with a big assist from her defense and the backstop. Jace Williams made a nice running catch on a bloop hit by Lindsey Chambers, and when her throw home sailed wide the ball bounced right back to Victoria Jones, who dove to tag out Alexa Peterson to end the inning. Luckily the 7th inning was much more routine as Cal wrapped up the win.
So, bring on the Tide. We'll have a quick little preview of Alabama in tomorrow's gamethread. Survive and advance.