No. 3 Cal Competes in UNLV Tournament

Feb. 11, 2003

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WHAT'S ON TAP: No. 3 California (7-0) hits the road for the first time in 2003, competing in the three-day UNLV Tournament hosted by UNLV at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Henderson, Nev. The Golden Bears kick off the 16-team round-robin tournament against Purdue (1-3) Friday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. followed by a nightcap against Texas Tech at 7 p.m.

THE FIELD: In addition to Cal, the UNLV tournament features six teams ranked in the Top 25: No. 1 UCLA (4-1), No. 4t Nebraska (5-0), No. 7 LSU (3-2), No. 10 Cal State Fullerton (6-3), No. 20 South Carolina (5-1) and No. 23 Oregon State (9-1). Rounding out the squads are Cal Poly SLO, Central Michigan, Hawaii, Portland State, Purdue, Texas Tech, UC Riverside, UNLV and Utah.

CAL'S OPPONENTS: Cal looks to extend its 18-game winning streak dating back to 2002 this weekend. The Bears face Purdue for only the second time, leading the series 2-0. On the mound, Boilmaker freshman right hander Diana LaRiva (0-2) has racked up 15 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.41 in 12.1 innings. The first and last time the Bears took on Texas Tech (3-7) was in 1999, edging by the Lady Raiders, 1-0. Senior shortstop Kristi Robles is batting .353 (12-for-34, 2 HR). No. 4 Nebraska leads the all-time series versus Cal, 8-12, including a 4-3 eight-inning victory in 2002. The Cornhuskers swept No. 10 CS Fullerton, 2-0, 2-0, outscoring opponents 24 to nine this year. Portland State opens the 2003 season this weekend, returning seven starters and gaining four newcomers. The Bears hold an all-time 12-2 edge on the Vikings. In its five games, Hawaii (2-3) has received three home runs from WAC player of the week, April Crowell (5-for-13, 8 RBI). Cal leads the series, 12-5, blanking the Rainbow Wahine, 4-0 last season.

LAST YEAR AT UNLV TOURNEY: Cal defeated all six of its opponents, tying UCLA as co-champions. The Bears racked up wins against Portland State (8-0), Kansas (8-4), Kent State (10-2), then-No. 4 LSU (3-0), BYU (5-2) and UC Riverside (3-0).

RECORDS TO WATCH: Head coach Diane Ninemire is just 29 games away from becoming the all-time winningest head coach in Cal sports history. Her 660-336 mark, which spans over 15 years, stands behind former baseball head coach Bob Milano's 688 career victories. Senior Veronica Nelson needs 15 RBI's to become Cal's all-time career RBI leader. Melanie McCart (1994-1997) holds the record at 153, with Nelson currently at 139.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: California batted .350 this past weekend at Levine-Fricke Field, defeating No. 21 Pacific for the first time since 1996, 4-0, Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the Bears blasted past Saint Mary's 8-2, 8-1. Junior Eryn Manahan paced Cal, hitting .556 (5-for-9). Freshman Haley Woods, adjusting perfectly to collegiate competition, roped four hits in eight at bats, including a 3-for-3 performance with three doubles in game one versus Saint Mary's. Sophomore Kelly Anderson picked up two wins (14 strikeouts, 4 walks, 3 hits) and senior Jen Deering improved her record to 2-0 (2 hits, 7 strikeouts, no walks).

BALL 1,2,3,4: After only seven games, All-Pac-10 Veronica Nelson has been walked 15 times, including two intentional base on balls. Despite the constant free ticket, Nelson has made opponents pay the price for pitching to her, batting .556 (5-for-9) with two dingers and six RBI for a slugging percentage of 1.222.

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