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Cal Softball vs. ASU Friday Gamethread

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Along with Oregon, ASU is the other highly ranked Pac-12 squad. All three games between the Bears and the Sun Devils will be televised. Is Cal ace Jolene Henderson healthy? Can the Bears win any games without their ace and senior leader?

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

No. 10 Cal (35-9, 9-6) at No. 5 Arizona State (39-7, 10-5)

Time: 7 PM PT

TV: ESPNU

Online: WatchESPN.com

Live Stat: Gametracker

Twitter Play by Play: RookieBears1754

We are done to the last 9 Pac-12 conference games of the season. Here is a quick look at the Pac-12 Softball Standings:

SCHOOLS
CONFERENCE
OVERALL
Oregon
13-2
38-6
Washington
12-6
34-13
Arizona St.
10-5
39-7
California
9-6
35-9
Stanford
6-9
29-15
UCLA
7-11
31-15
Utah
6-12
23-24
Arizona
5-10
28-19
Oregon St.
4-11
27-17


So Oregon is ahead of the pack (or Pac), then it is two teams (Washington and ASU) that have similar records as the Bears, all ahead of Furd. In these final 3 weeks, the Bears will take on ASU this weekend down in Tempe, follow by Furd at home next weekend, and finish at Washington.

Of course, the story of today's game might be who is probably not playing for the Bears. Senior ace Jolene Henderson, who have pitched almost all of the year's important innings, suffered a knee injury in the closing moments of last Sunday's 1-0 loss to Oregon State. Judging from the need of many to send Jo encouragements on Twitter, her availability for this series and the foreseeable future is not so good.

Apparently, she was signing autographs from the back of a cart after the game on Sunday. She is obviously a fighter and will remain positive, but the injury does look fairly serious.

Nevertheless, that should not prevent you from voting for Jolene for the Senior CLASS Award! You can vote by clicking here. Have you voted today yet?

Without Jolene, the Bears would have to relie on either sophomore Nikki Owens or freshman Nisa Ontiveros. Can they handle the extra spotlight this weekend, with all three games against a very tough ASU squad televised?

The Bears offense would also have to pick up the slack. Senior Catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt has been doing her best Valerie Arioto impression by slugging a pretty insane 0.807 with 15 homers to lead the team. Sophomore and US Jr National Team member SS Cheyenne Cordes is leading the team in batting average. To replace the graduated Reid twins, the Bears are counting on a pair of freshmen in the OF in Khala Taylor and Vanessa Alvarez. Jolene's little sister Danielle Henderson is the starting 3B who is 2nd on the team with 8 homers, tied with none other than her sister Jolene (so the Bears would also miss Jolene's bat).

The Bears need to keep on winning to ensure an easier path in the postseason, where a potentially healthy Jolene can carry the Bears as far as her right arm would allow it.

GO BEARS!