No. 5 California Battles No. 2 Arizona for National Championship
May 26, 2002
Who: California (55-19) vs. Arizona (55-11)
What: Women's College World Series
When: May 27, 10:15 a.m. (PST)
Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma City
Television: ESPN (Live)
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Bears Break School Record for Most Wins: By winning its 55th game of the season against Arizona State, Sunday, California set a school record for most wins in a year. Last year's team went 54-18 on their way to a fifth-place tie in the Women's College World Series. It also marks only the third time that a Cal team has won 50 or more games. In the last four years, the Bears have won 209 games - the most in a four-year span in the history of the program.
Championship Would Be First for Cal Women: The Cal softball team represents the institution as a whole, but they could be doing a lot today for the Bears' women's teams, in particular, with a national title. Cal has never won a women's NCAA team champion in its history. Clinching the softball crown would not only be a first for Golden Bear softball, but for Cal women's athletics as well.
Forest, Winningest Pitcher in Postseason: With 16 postseason wins, senior pitcher Jocelyn Forest has won more games in the NCAA Tournament than any other pitcher in Cal history. Forest boasts a 16-5 record all-time in the tournament, including 7-0 this season.
Harper Plays Most Postseason Games Ever: Being part of the first class to make the WCWS all four seasons, senior Candace Harper has played in her share of NCAA Tournament games. Harper has played the most career postseason games all-time at Cal with 24 appearances.
Numerous Team Records Fall with Season Coming to Close: After playing 74 games, the Bears have broken numerous team records on both offense and defense. At the plate, Cal has scored more runs than any other team in school history, registering 296 with one more game to play. The 1999 team previously had the highest tally, scoring 281. Courtesy of junior Veronica Nelson, who accounts for over a third of Cal's walks, the Bears shattered the previous team walk record of 230 set in 2000. Defensively, the Bears broke the team record for putouts, Sunday, against ASU, tallying 1527. The previous mark was 1525.
Forest Strikes Out Single-Season Career-High: Jocelyn Forest broke her single-season personal-high in strikeouts when she K'ed seven Seminoles, Friday. In 2001, the Santa Maria Native tallied 364 strikeouts. She now sits at 371 for the season and 1195 in four years. Forest totaled 226 as a freshman, 234 as a sophomore and 364 her junior year.
Sharp Shooting Forest: Onlookers might assume that senior pitcher Jocelyn Forest's overpowering rise ball is the lone reason for her success in the circle this season, but its also her accuracy and ability to keep additional runners off base with walks. During the current ten-game winning streak - of which Forest has appeared in eight - she has walked one batter or less in six games. Throughout the season, Forest has kept runners off, walking one or less batter in 29 of 44 appearances. The most free passes she has given up in a game this season is four.
Intentional Walks, Alone, Allow Nelson to Lead Squad in Base on Balls: Junior Veronica Nelson was walked for the 105th time this year against ASU, Sunday. Both of her walks against the Sun Devils were intentional walks, her 36th and 37th of the season. The NCAA career and single season walk leader's intentional walks, alone, eclipse any other teammate's walk total in 2002. Junior Courtney Scott is the closest with 33 base on balls.
Three Dot Data: The Bears took two of three from the Wildcats this year, winning two in Berkeley, while dropping one game in Tucson ... Cal needs just 25 more at-bats to tie the school record for team at-bats of 1925 set by the 2000 squad. Cal has a realistic chance of breaking the team record today ... Forest owns a 2-7 career record against Arizona ... clinching the national title today would mark the first time a Cal team has won a NCAA championship since 1999 when the men's gymnastics team one the second of its back-to-back titles.