After an upset loss to Arkansas Friday night, the Bears rallied for three straight wins, including tonight's doubleheader sweep over Arkansas to win their first ever Berkeley Regional tonight at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley.
With their backs against the wall, the Bears bounced back from their disappointing game two loss to defeat Boston University yesterday, moving them into the finals rematch with Arkansas.
"This is a great day for Cal softball," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "Everyone contributed to the success of this winning both games today
"We knew our backs were against the wall and we knew we were going to play a great team in Arkansas.
"I'm just really proud of the team for sticking with it and never giving in."
Needing two take two from the Razorbacks, the Bears pounded Arkansas, 10-2 to win by mercy rule on the strength of centerfielder Frani Echavarria's 4-for-4 night, including the game-ending grand slam -the first of her softball career at any level.
"The bases were loaded and we needed more runs so I just did what I could to help the team," said Echavarria.
"I wasn't even expecting for it to go out and when it did, it was a great feeling. I'm just happy I could contribute and help out my pitcher, Jolene, know she had to throw the next game. It was a great feeling and I'm really happy.
The Bears also got three hits from leadoff sparkplug Jamia Reid and dh Britt Vonk in the blowout, five inning victory.
In the rubber match, the Bears jumped right on the Razorbacks, striking for three runs in the 1st -a lead that would hold up for the victory on the back of Cal pitcher Jolene Henderson's complete game shutout in Cal's 7-0 victory in the finale.
DP Britt Vonk crushed a 3-run homer in the 2nd to push the lead to 6-0 to make the Bears' lead effectively insurmountable.
"We knew we were going to need great pitching and Jolene threw great both games," said Ninemire.
Henderson pitched all 12 innings of the Bears' sweep, strking out 10 and giving up 11 hits in the pair of victories.
The regional victory was the Bears' first ever in Berkeley -an event made possible by the addition of left and center field bleachers and the installation of tempory lighting at Levine-Fricke Field.
"It's the first time, I think, we ever won a regional at Cal," said Ninemire. "So it's really special and really great to see so many people come out and support our program.
"The hard work it took to put this on -I can't say enough about how much we appreciate the staff and all who helped put this on this weekend. They did and outstanding job and we're just so proud we're Cal Bears.
To view the postgame celebration and press conference with Echevarria, Henderson and Ninemire, use the viewer below: