Cal to Take on Fresno State in First Round of NCAA Softball Regional at Fresno

May 12, 2002

BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears softball team earned a No. 3 seed and their 17th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament and will play host, Fresno State (49-18) in a first round regional game, Thursday in Fresno, Calif.

The Bears, 48-19 overall and ranked 5th in the country, return to Fresno State for a NCAA Regional for the 11th time in school history. Cal advanced to the Women's College World Series three of those seasons, most recently in 2000 when the Bears defeated the Bulldogs, 2-0, in the regional final.

Cal State Fullerton (50-11) earned the No. 1 seed and the Titans take on Evansville (34-25) in the first round. Fullerton is the top seed in the region, followed by No. 2 seed Stanford (43-18), No. 3 Cal, No. 4 Fresno State, No. 5 Pacific (42-15) and No. 6 Evansville.

The Bears and the Bulldogs faceoff Thursday at 5 p.m. at Bulldog Diamond. Should Cal win, it would play the winner of Stanford and Pacific on Friday at 5 p.m. If the Bears were to lose, they would face the loser of game four on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

The NCAA Tournament features 48 teams seeded into eight regionals of six teams each. The regionals are double-elimination, and will be played on campus sites May 16-19. The winner of each regional advances to the College World Series May 23-27 in Oklahoma City.

The Bears finished fourth in the Pac-10 conference with a record of 12-9. The tally was the first time Cal finished over .500 in league since the 1996 season. The Bears' winning percentage of .571 is also the highest mark since 1991 when they finished 14-6 (.700). The Bears, who were 5th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA poll, has remained in the top 10 all season.

Last year, Cal won its regional in Tallahassee, Fla., and went on to its third consecutive College World Series, finishing fifth overall.

This season, after losing three starters from last season's roster due to graduation, and integrating eight newcomers to the program, Cal had one its best conference runs in recent years.

Cal is 36-60 all-time against FSU. The two teams met earlier in the season at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Feb. 8, where the Bulldogs edged the Bears, 1-0.

In last season's regional, Cal knocked off Florida State in 10 innings in the regional final, 3-2.

Cal is 38-38 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 31-26 in regional competition. The Bears have advanced to the NCAA College World Series six times, in 1986, '92, '96, '99, '00 and 2001.

Log on to www.ncaachampionships.com for further information. Click here for a PDF version of the Fresno State Regional bracket pairing.

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