Cal downs Oregon 6-3, advances to semis

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Cal downs Oregon 6-3, advances to semis

OKLAHOMA CITY - With its back against the wall in an elimination game, the California softball team came out firing on all cylinders - defeating Pac-12 foe Oregon on Saturday evening to keep the Golden Bears' Women's College World Series dreams alive.

Jace Williams started things with a bang in the first, driving in three runs by homering to center. Britt Vonk followed suit with a two-run double to right in the second for Cal to pull ahead 5-0. Sam Pappas cut Cal's lead to four with a solo shot in the third. Victoria Jones answered right back, smashing the first pitch of the fourth to left, putting the Bears up 6-1. A bases-loaded, one-out double by Sara Goodrum in the sixth made it a 6-3 ballgame.

It was all about working powerfully and efficiently with two outs for the Bears in the first two innings for all five of their runs came with two outs on the board.

After being two-hit against Oklahoma the day before, forcing the Bears to head to the loser's bracket, Cal responded in resilient fashion by out hitting the Ducks 9-6. Across the four games against Oregon this season, Cal went 3-1 and rocked the Oregon pitching staff for a grand total of six homers.

Top of the First - Cal 3, Oregon 0:

Britt Vonk singled to short, Frani Echavarria walked and the Golden Bear pair advanced to third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch. On a 2-2 count with two away, Jace Williams sent her eighth homer of the year to center.

Top of the Second - Cal 5, Oregon 0:

It was a slight mirror image with Danielle Henderson and Jamia Reid reaching - both on singles - and then moving to third and second on a passed ball. Again with two outs, Britt Vonk put the ball less than a foot fair down the right-field line for a two-run double.

Bottom of the Third - Cal 5, Oregon 1:

Samantha Pappas launched her second homer of the day - with the first coming against Tennessee - to get Oregon on the scoreboard.

Top of the Fourth - Cal 6, Oregon 1:

Victoria Jones knocked out her third home run of the year with a powerful shot to the left-field stands.

Bottom of the Sixth - Cal 6, Oregon 3:

With the bases loaded, Sara Goodrum singled to the wall in left, plating Kailie Cuico and Christie Nieto. A defensive gem by Jace Williams and Victoria Jones shut things down with a double play.
Next Time on the Diamond:

Cal must beat Alabama twice on Sunday to earn a spot in the championship final. First pitch between the Bears and Crimson Tide is set for 2:30 p.m. CT Sunday, following the ASU-Oklahoma game. Should the Sun Devils beat the Sooners in that game, they force the "if necessary" game, which will begin at 6 p.m. If Oklahoma wins the first game, the Sooners eliminate the Sun Devils and the Cal-Bama "if necessary" game will start at 6 p.m.

Courtesy University of California media services

Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

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Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

PROVO, Utah — Saint Mary's knows all about the raucous atmosphere at BYU. The Gaels hadn't won in Provo since 2013 and had only come out on top in three of their previous 12 trips.

Make it four out of 13.

Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and No. 22 Saint Mary's cruised to a 70-57 victory over BYU on Saturday night, snapping a three-game road losing streak to its West Coast Conference rival.

"It's definitely one of the tougher places to play for us," Hermanson said. "Coming in here we know it's a huge crowd and we know they can get riled up on any 3-point shot or any run they make. We wanted to try to limit their runs and their big plays.

"The second half was pretty unbelievable how quiet the crowd was. It felt great for us."

With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Gaels (24-3, 14-2) clinched a second-place finish in the conference standings behind top-ranked and undefeated Gonzaga.

Saint Mary's controlled the game most of the night, riding its staunch defense on one end and running efficient offense on the other. The Gaels were able to get to the rim consistently, but also knocked down 10 3-pointers.

BYU (19-10, 10-6) shot 39.7 percent from the field and connected on four 3s.

Evan Fitzner had 15 points for Saint Mary's, including 11 in the second half.

"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, "and were able to get some separation and then it made it tough on them. We kind of just wore them out after that.

"We're a little different team with Fitzner out there. He spaces the floor," Bennett added. "We just play a little different with Fitzner out there versus Jock (Landale). It's nice to have a Plan A and Plan B."

Saint Mary's took a 41-30 lead into halftime thanks to Hermanson's hot shooting and plenty of that trademark defense. The Gaels began the day ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, then held the Cougars to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Saint Mary's shot 57.1 percent at the other end, including a 3-for-4 effort from Hermanson from behind the arc.

"I feel like we're better than we showed tonight," BYU guard TJ Haws said. "That team made a lot of runs on us. Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined.

"I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."

BYU kept Landale under control in the half — and in foul trouble throughout — but Saint Mary's scored 22 of its 41 first-half points in the paint.

Eric Mika had 18 points for BYU, and Yoeli Childs added 13.

"The key to the game was that they were comfortable the entire time in our gym," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That's on us. We need to be ahead. We need to get them to speed up a little bit because they're a little bit uncomfortable.

"But the game went pretty much exactly how they wanted it to go and we couldn't flip it. We couldn't get on top."

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary's: The Gaels will be the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. No. 1 Gonzaga secured the regular-season title Saturday with a win over Pacific. An early December defeat to UT-Arlington is the Gaels' only bad loss this season, with the other two coming against Gonzaga.

BYU: The Cougars likely needed a win against the No. 22 team in the country to make an argument for the NCAA Tournament off their regular-season credentials. BYU has lost all three games against ranked opponents by double digits, including to Saint Mary's twice, and doesn't have a signature win. The Cougars get one last chance against Gonzaga next Saturday.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

No. 22 Saint Mary's might find itself moving up a bit after No. 17 Florida State and No. 21 South Carolina lost on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's: Travel to face Pepperdine on Thursday.

BYU: Play at Portland on Thursday.

Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win

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Pickens, Travis rally Stanford past rival Cal for upset win

BOX SCORE

STANFORD -- Dorian Pickens scored 23 points, Reid Travis had 19 with nine rebounds and Stanford held on to beat California 73-68 on Friday night.

Marcus Allen added 11 points for the Cardinal, who overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat their cross-bay rivals for the 21st time in the last 24 meetings between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (13-13, 5-9 Pac-12) won for only the second time in seven games and split the season series with California.

Pickens had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 20-5 run in the second half when the Cardinal pulled away.

After California closed within 62-56 on Grant Mullins' 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining, Allen made two free throws and Pickens scored on a jumper from the free-throw line as he was falling backward onto the court.

Jabari Bird scored 23 points and set a career-high with seven 3s for the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5). Ivan Rabb added 16 points and 13 rebounds after being slowed by foul trouble in the first half.