Cal Hosts San Jose State, Tennessee to Open Season

Jan. 27, 2003

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WHAT'S ON TAP: The California softball team begins its quest to defend the national title Friday, Jan. 31 when it hosts San Jose State and Tennessee at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, at Levine-Fricke Field. The round-robin tournament features the visiting teams battling off at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1. Play continues for the Golden Bears at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, facing the Lady Volunteers and the Spartans in round two.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS: Coming off a storybook season that included 56-19 overall record, a fourth place conference showing (12-9 Pac-10) and the 2002 National crown, the Golden Bears return seven starters and gain six newcomers in 2003. Highlighting the returnees are 2002 second team All-Pac-10 selections Veronica Nelson, Courtney Scott and Kaleo Eldredge. Senior first baseman Nelson led the team last season with a .329 batting average, .559 slugging average, nine home runs and a NCAA record 108 walks. Scott, a senior, hit .301 last season, started in all 75 games, led the team with 46 RBI and committed just one error in 635 chances (.998) behind the plate. In her freshman campaign as a starting outfielder, Eldredge batted .299 (76-254), drove in 18 runs with 47 runs scored.

NEW FACES: Cal adds two transfers and four freshmen this season - utility player Vicky Galindo (West Valley J.C./Union City, CA), outfielders Linzi Wescott (New Mexico State/San Ramon, CA) and Lindsay James (San Carlos, CA), right-handed pitchers Kristina Thorson (Lake Forest Park, WA) and Chanel Tripp (Oxnard, CA) and catcher/first baseman Haley Woods (Burlingame, CA).

NINEMIRE ON TRACK TO SET CAL RECORD: Last season head coach Diane Ninemire recorded her 600th career win, placing her as the all-time winningest female coach in Cal history. Entering this season with a 653-336 (.660) record spanning over 15 years at the helm for the Bears, Ninemire needs just 36 games to pass up the all-time winningest coach at Cal, former baseball skipper Bob Milano (688-644-4; 1978-1999).

A LOOK AT SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans return eight starters after posting a 25-44 (8-16 WAC) overall record last season. Coach Dee Dee Enabenter-Omidiji enters her third year at the helm with a career record of 51-85. Senior outfielder Becca Baldridge led the team with a .312 batting average and left her mark on the base path, successfully stealing 10 out of 15 attempts. San Jose returns sophomore pitcher Carol Forbes who posted a 15-23 record last season on the mound for a 2.71 ERA in 52 appearances. Cal holds an all-time 37-5 edge on the Spartans, defeating them twice last season, 6-1 and 7-0.

A LOOK AT TENNESSEE: The Lady Volunteers start their rebuilding season this Friday, returning only four letterwinners and gaining 16 newcomers. Its 35-25-1 overall mark (8-17 SEC) provided a fourth place conference finish last season. First baseman Amber Rhinehart led the team in with a .325 batting average, 12 doubles and four triples. Senior pitcher Stephanie Humphrey set a school single season record with 326 strikeouts last year, allowing only 67 walks for a 2.36 ERA and a 24-19 record. Head coach Ralph Weekly begins his second season with the Lady Vols, and is assisted by California Hall of Fame Member and former U.S.A. Olympian Michele Granger. This is the first meeting between the two teams.

COME OUT TO THE BALL PARK: Admission to California softball games are free, with the exception of weekend Pac-10 games. On these select dates, prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.

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