Cal softball falls to Florida, eliminated from WCWS

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Cal softball falls to Florida, eliminated from WCWS

June 4, 2011COLLEGE PAGE

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Florida Gators showed they don't have to hit home runs to generate offense at the Women's College World Series.Cheyenne Coyle, Aja Paculba, Tiffany DeFelice and Michelle Moultrie all had RBI singles as the nation's top home run-hitting team moved into the semifinals by beating California 5-2 on Saturdaynight.The Gators (54-11) had homered twice in each of their first two World Series games to push their NCAA-best total to 114 this season. This time they got timely base hits and capitalized on a series of fielding mistakes by Cal shortstop Britt Vonk.RELATED: Cal softball stays alive, defeats Oklahoma State
"That's the difference in this game compared to the game that I started building this program on, with more power than power and speed," said Tim Walton, Florida's sixth-year head coach. "We're making the transition from power to power and speed and being a little bit more of a triple threat typeteam."Florida will face Southeastern Conference rival Alabama on Sunday, needing to beat the second-seeded Tide twice to reach the best-of-threefinals."Bama is always an amazing game," Kelsey Bruder said. "It's been back and forth throughout the years. Kelsi Dunne has gotten us as many times as we've gottenher."Vonk's errant flip to third on Coyle's third-inning infield single allowed the Gators to tie the game at 2, and Paculba followed with a clean single to put Florida ahead to stay. The Gators tacked on runs in the fourth and fifth on two more infield singles hit toVonk.Moultrie came all the way around from second to score when Vonk booted DeFelice's single up the middle. Moultrie then legged out a two-out RBI single in the fifth when Vonk looked to second for a force out, then threw to first a moment too late to beatMoultrie.The Bears (45-13) survived an elimination game earlier in the day, but got knocked out after failing to protect the 2-0 first-inning lead they built against freshman Hannah Rogers. Jace Williams had an RBI double to right, then scored on Lindsey Ziegenhirt's single tocenter.Rogers (35-7) avoided falling too far behind by striking out Victoria Jones and getting Jordan Wallace to ground out with the bases loaded to end the first. That kept the game within striking distance for the Gators, who rank second in the nation with 7.4 runs per game and have scored at least five in all three of their World Seriesgames."We know Florida has a very explosive offense and we were going to need a lot of runs," Williams said. "A fantastic team, Florida. Not much of a weaknessanywhere."Their big rally started after Jolene Henderson (40-10) had retired the first two batters in the third. Bruder and Brittany Schutte had back-to-back singles before Henderson walked Megan Bush to load thebases.Coyle, who had already hit into an inning-ending force-out with the bases loaded in the first, hit another grounder in the same direction but this time it resulted in two runs. Vonk's flip to third was wide of the base, allowing Bruder and Schutte to score and tie thegame."It was really the same pitch and almost the same exact result," Walton said. "She got a little bit of the top of the ball in both cases, and both cases were a tough play for shortstop. ... Obviously it was a huge momentumshift."

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on