Softball: Henderson’s no-hitter keeps Cal alive

Senior Jolene Henderson powered Cal to a 6-0 win over Valparaiso (35-27) on Saturday afternoon, keeping the Bears alive in the Ann Arbor Regional of the NCAA tournament.

Cal (38-18) plays Sunday against No. 7 Michigan (47-10), which beat the Bears 5-0 earlier in the day. The Bears must beat the Wolverines twice to win the Regional and advance to the Super Regional round next week.

Cal is 7-2 all-time vs. Michigan, but the Wolverines have won the past two meetings, including Saturday’s matchup.

Henderson struck out seven, walked no one and allowed just one baserunner (on an error) in her seven-inning gem. It was her fourth career no-hitter.

Victoria Jones drove in two runs for the Bears and Khala Taylor had three hits.


Softball: Bears blanked by Michigan at NCAAs

Cal lost 5-0 to host Michigan in a second-round winners-bracket game at the NCAA tournament Ann Arbor Regional on Saturday and will play at 2:30 p.m. PDT against either Central Michigan or Valparaiso.

The Bears (37-18) committed three errors and allowed the No. 7 Wolverines three unearned runs and now find themselves one defeat away from postseason elimination. Ashley Decker had two hits for Cal.

Lauren Sweet hit a pair of home runs for Michigan (47-10) and sophomore Sara Driesenga scattered five hits and struck out eight to win her 28th game of the season.


Basketball: Crabbe measures up at Chicago

Ex-Cal guard Allen Crabbe, at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago this week, was measured at 6-foot-5 1/4 in bare feet, 197 pounds. His body fat was measured at just 4.7 percent and his wingspan is an impressive 6-11 1/4.

Compare that to Arizona combo forward Solomon Hill, who was measured at just 6-5 1/2 with a wing span of 6-9.  Crabbe’s wingspan even exceeded that of ex-Colorado forward Andre Roberson, who measured 6-6 1/4 with a 6-11 span.

Shabazz Muhammad, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year from UCLA, checked in at 6-4 3/4, 222 pounds, with a 6-11 wingspan and 9.0 percent body fat. Another Pac-12 freshman, power forward Grant Jarrett of Arizona, is listed as just 6-8 3/4, although he does boast a 7-2 wingspan. 

Former Arizona State forward Carrick Felix recorded the lowest body fat mark at 3.3 percent.

Figures provided by www.DraftExpress.com.



Softball: Henderson sisters power Bears

Sophomore Danielle Henderson hit two home runs and senior Jolene Henderson pitched a two-hitter, lifting the Bears (37-17) to an 8-1 win over Central Michigan in their NCAA Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional opener.

Cal plays a winners-bracket game Saturday against No. 7 Michigan (46-10), which beat Valparaiso 5-0.

Victoria Jones and Lindsey Ziegenhirt also homered for Cal.

Jolene Henderson struck out eight and allowed one unearned run. She is expected to face Michigan sophomore Sara Driesenga, who pitched her own two-hitter and struck out six against Valparaiso.


Golf: Bears push Regional lead to 11 strokes

The top-ranked Golden Bears own an 11-stroke lead after Friday’s second round in the NCAA Pullman Regional at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.

Cal (265-276-541) sits 35 strokes under par after 36 holes, well ahead of runnerup USC (272-280-552).

The third and final round is Saturday and Cal will be trying to win its 11th tournament of the season, which would set a modern NCAA record. The top five finishing teams advance to the NCAA championships, May 28 to June 2 at Alpharetta, Ga. 

“It’s a little bit like a broken record, but we had another great round today,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “I could even make the case that we played better today than we did yesterday when we set a school-record for our lowest round. The separation that we put between ourselves and the rest of the field make that point. It was fun to watch.”

Cal’s Michael Weaver (65-67-132) is alone in second place, six strokes behind USC’s Sam Smith (62-64-126). Joel Stalter (65-68-133) is one stroke behind his teammate in third.

Michael Kim (69-69-137) is tied for sixth, Brandon Hagy (66-73-139) is 12th and Max Homa (70-73-144) is 34th.


Golf: Golden Bears scorch course for record score in first round of NCAA Pullman regional

The top-seeded Cal golf team set a course record to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the NCAA Pullman (Wash.) Regional at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.

The Bears shot a 23-under par score of 265 and lead Saint Mary’s, which checked in at 267. The top five finishers qualify for the NCAA championships, May 28 through June 2 at Alpharetta, Ga.

“Yes, we want to win this tournament,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “But let’s not forget what the real goal is here, and that real goal is to finish in the top five and get to the NCAA Championship in Atlanta.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot for that, and if we can continue to do what we’ve done I like our chances. If we win even better, but let’s get to Atlanta. That’s the rallying cry.”

Cal, which has won 10 tournaments this season, got seven-under par scores of 65 from Joel Stalter and Michael Weaver. They are tied for third place.

The first-round leader is USC’s Sam Smith, who broke the course record with a 10-under par 62. Mac McClung of Saint Mary’s is second at 63.

Brandon Hagy shot a 66 for the Bears, Michael Kim had a 69 and Max Homa a 70.


Basketball: Allen Crabbe’s draft diary

Courtesy of NBA.com, here’s former Cal star Allen Crabbe’s contribution to the “Draft Diaries.”

Crabbe talks about returning to campus for the team banquet, where he named MVP (a surprise, he claims), reflects on his three years in Berkeley and discusses his preparation for the Chicago pre-draft camp and the June 27 NBA draft.

To catch up with Crabbe, click on http://allball.blogs.nba.com/category/draft-diaries/




Football: Bears expand strength/conditioning staff, hire new coach to handle football duties

Damon Harrington was hired as Cal’s new football head strength and conditioning coach, and will work under Mike Blasquez, the athletic department’s director of strength and conditioning.

“We have restructured our strength and conditioning department to better serve the needs of our entire student-athlete population,” athletic director Sandy Barbour said. “The addition of Damon will add to an already excellent and experienced staff  that will take both our entire strength and conditioning program as well as our specific operation for football to new heights.”

“I think we got better as a program today,” head football coach Sonny Dykes said. “We added more expertise with both Mike’s move and Damon’s addition. We’re very excited about the future and both guys are excited to work with each other.”

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Football: Who is Cal’s greatest running back?

In honor of Chuck Muncie, who died Monday at the age of 60, we pose this simple question:

Who is the great Cal running back of all-time?

Actually, not that simple because the question covers a lot of years and a lot of talented players, although let’s limit the discussion to the post-World War II era.

The candidates (presented chronologically):

— JACKIE JENSEN: Cal’s first 1,000-yard back  — 1,080 yards, a 7.3 ypc average in 1948 — Jensen played on Pappy Waldorf’s Rose Bowl teams and on a College World Series championship team. Was the American League MVP one season, playing alongside Ted Williams.

— JOHNNY OLSZEWSKI: Led the Bears in rushing in 1950-51-52, including a 1,000-yard campaign as a sophomore, when he was a first-team All-America pick. Played 10 seasons in the NFL.

— CHUCK MUNCIE: Ran for 1,460 yards as a senior in 1975, when the Bears led the nation in total offense and posted an 8-3 record. Was a consensus first-team All-America pick, the Pac-8 Player of the Year and runnerup in the Heisman Trophy voting. Still No. 5 on Cal’s career rushing list. A three-time Pro Bowl pick in the NFL.

— PAUL JONES: A straight-ahead runner, Jones led the Bears in rushing three straight years (1977-78-79) and ranks No. 6 on the all-time list with 2,960 yards.

— RUSSELL WHITE: Cal’s only three-time 1,000-yard rusher, he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against defending national champion Miami the first time he touched the ball at Memorial Stadium. Remains the Bears’ career rushing leader with 3,367 yards.

— JOE IGBER: Led the Bears in rushing as a freshman and sophomore in 1999 and 2000 and sits No. 4 all-time at Cal with 3,124 yards. The downside: He played on teams that were a combined 4-29 his first three seasons.

— J.J. ARRINGTON: Had the most prolific season of any Cal running back in 2004, rushing for 2,018 yards with 15 touchdowns as the Aaron Rodgers-led Bears went 10-2.

— MARSHAWN LYNCH: Had back-to-back seasons of 1,246 and 1,356 rushing yards in 2005 and ’06, and sits second on Cal’s career list with 3,230 yards … despite leaving for the NFL after his junior season. Averaged 6.6 yards per carry for his Cal career. Has topped 1,000 yards four of his six seasons in the NFL.

— JUSTIN FORSETT: Played behind Lynch for three years, then ran for 1,546 yards — third-best in school history — as a senior in 2007. Despite three seasons as an understudy, totaled 3,220 yards, third-most by any Cal player.

— JAHVID BEST: Probably Cal’s fastest running back — although Brendan Bigelow might make an argument — Best ran for 1,580 yards and 15 TDs as a sophomore in 2008. He averaged a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry that season. In parts of three seasons, Best totaled 2,668 yards on 7.3 per attempt.

You may have others in mind, but these are 10 of the most accomplished.

Here is my Top 5: 1. Muncie; 2. Lynch; 3. White; 4. Jensen; 5. Best.

Cast your votes now.


Football: Chuck Muncie dies at age 60

Click here to see a video of Muncie’s Cal highlights.

Former Cal quarterback Steve Bartkowski called Chuck Muncie “the most talented athlete I’ve ever been on the football field with.”

Muncie, one of the greatest running backs in Cal history and a three-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL, died Monday. He was 60. Family spokesman Vintage Foster of AMF Media Group told The Associated Press that Muncie died at his Los Angeles-area home from heart failure.

Muncie was a consensus first-team All-America and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy for Cal in 1975, then was the third overall pick in the 1976 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He rushed for 6,702 yards and scored 74 total touchdowns during his pro career, much of it spent with the San Diego Chargers.

Chuck Muncie was runnerup for the 1975 Heisman Trophy.  (Courtesy of Cal Athletics)

Muncie’s off-field issues often overshadowed his abilities as a versatile big back with great pass-catching skills. He was suspended for the 1984 NFL season after testing positive for cocaine and later spent 18 months in prison for selling cocaine.

Bartkowski, who played quarterback for 12 seasons in the NFL, called Muncie “one of the most likable, nicest guys I’ve ever been around, which I think was his downfall.

“It was a strength that really became a weakness. I don’t think he ever met a stranger.”

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