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Cal Softball Rallies Behind Frani Echavarria, Beats LSU 5-3

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via <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=368963666484542&set=a.368963279817914.87411.142696355777942&type=3&theater">Cal Softball Facebook</a>
via Cal Softball Facebook

Opposing pitchers keep on walking Valerie Arioto. Frani Echavarria makes them pay.

Echavarria had three RBIs, including the two biggest ones to bring Cal back from an early 2-0 LSU deficit. When Britt Vonk advanced to second on the Arioto walk, Echavarria singled through the right side to cut it to 2-1 at the bottom of the third. In the fifth inning, when Jamia Reid advanced to second on a throwing error and Vonk advanced her on a sacrifice bunt, Echavarria's long sacrifice fly to deep field easily scored Reid to tie the game at 2-2. She added a crucial insurance RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth to put the Bears up 5-2.

It was a good thing Frani was hitting, because it took the Bears awhile to get going. Cal took the lead in the sixth when Victoria Jones singled up the middle and Cheyenne Cordes doubled into left field. An infield single by Reid scored Jones, and Vonk's opposite field hit brought in Cordes to give Cal a 4-2 lead.

It was not Jolene Henderson's strongest outing (possibly due to more inconsistent strike zone enforcing), but she ground it out. Henderson gave up two runs in the second inning but stranded every other LSU on-base hitter from then on until a final LSU run on the last out. Henderson needed 149 pitches, which could cause significant fatigue going into tomorrow night's game against the power of the Sooners.

Cal moves onto face Oklahoma tomorrow at 4 PM PT, 7 PM ET on ESPN2 (online on ESPN3). I'm guessing the Bears will need a LOT more timely hitting if they expect to win.