California Golden Bears pitcher Joleen Henderson was shelled in the first game today by Kentucky, but in the second game she came back and shut out the Wildcats 9-0 in a dominant performance.
Much like Kentucky in the last game, the Golden Bears jumped on the Wildcats early, scoring 5 runs in the first inning and forcing starting pitcher Chanda Bell to an early exit. Rachel Riley pitched a very good game in relief, but tired at the end after pitching the first game and most of the second, and Cal added four runs to their total in the 7th inning. The Wildcats were retired in order in the bottom of the 7th, and the series ends with California winning, 2-1.
Congratulations to the Golden Bears on some really outstanding defense, and offense, in the last game. Combined with Henderson's near-perfect pitching, the Wildcats looked a bit like a team reaching the super-regional level of the NCAA tournament for the first time, obviously frustrated that they could not hit Henderson, nor make a game of it after the big Cal first inning.
Coach Rachel Lawson and Wildcats fans everywhere have to be proud of the outstanding run by this Kentucky team that ended one game short of the Women's College World Series. I can't say enough about how tough the Wildcats have been in this run, and the outstanding fan support that they received. The future of the Kentucky softball program looks incredibly bright, and with a number of talented returning starters, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Wildcats back next year in the same position.