Three of Nation's Top 6 Collide in Berkeley This Weekend As Cal Opens Pac-10

March 25, 2003

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WHAT'S ON TAP:The sixth-ranked California Golden Bears, whose 15-game winning streak ended last weekend, welcome three teams to Levine-Fricke Field after completing a six-week long road trip. The Bears (27-7) host UC Santa Barbara Wednesday, March 26 at noon before opening up Pac-10 play against No. 3 Washington Friday, March 28 at 2 p.m. and No. 1 UCLA Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: Santa Barbara (22-8) enters this week with five players batting above .300 and a team .272 BA. Jami Trinidad leads the squad with a .379 BA, 33 hits, seven doubles, 14 walks and 19 RBIs. On the hill, Loren Thornburg posts a 1.00 ERA and a 11-5 record in 17 appearances, notching nine shutouts. Cal leads the all-time series 12-4, including a 3-1 win last season.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON:The third-ranked Huskies claimed the Capital Classic this past weekend with a 4-1 record. Washington (31-2-1) has a team .293 BA and 1.39 ERA. Kristen Rivera leads the team with a .394 BA, 43 hits, 15 home runs and 42 RBIs. The Huskies have drilled a remarkable 50 home runs 34 games into the season while outscoring their opponents 188 to 69. Their two loses have been to Northwestern (6-5) and Stanford (3-1) after tying with Minnesota (5-5). Tia Bollinger posts a 17-1 mark from the circle, K'ing 119 batters. Washington leads the series, 19-21, as Cal won two of the three games last year.

SCOUTING UCLA: The top-ranked Bruins have not played ball since March 9, entering Pac-10 play with a 26-2 record. Natasha Watley boasts a .532 BA, 50 hits, four doubles, three triples, three home runs and 32 RBIs as well as a 21-for-24 in stolen base attempts. Keira Goerl has seen most of the action from the circle, standing at a 18-2 record that includes 14 shutouts, 33 hits in 123.2 innings and 147 strikeouts for a 0.17 ERA. UCLA holds a 59-13 lead in the series, defeating the Golden Bears three times in 2002.

BEARS POST 4-1 RECORD AT CLASSIC: Cal posted a 4-1 record at the 11-team Sacramento Capital Classic before its final game versus Illinois was rained out on Sunday. No. 3 Washington was crowned tournament champs with a 4-0 mark, as the Bears filled the third slot behind Iowa (4-1) since the Hawkeyes defeated Cal in a head-to-head matchup. The Bears provided a strong opening at the Classic, mercy-ruling Long Island University and Eastern Kentucky 9-0 before defeating Utah State 5-1. On the third day of the tourney, Cal slipped by UNLV 1-0 on Kristen Morley's sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. In its second game of the day, Cal lost a heartbreaker to Iowa, losing 4-3 on a bottom of the seventh, two-out, two-run homer.

ERYN MANAHAN NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT: Starting all five games at the Classic at second base, junior Eryn Manahan lashed out a .462 BA, to earn all-tournament honors. The Tustin, CA native launched her first two home runs of the season in Sacramento, recording a team-high eight RBIs, in a 6-for-13performance that also included a double, a walk and three runs for a 1.000 slugging percentage and an errorless performance on defense.

VERONICA NELSON SETS NEW CAL CAREER RBI RECORD: Senior Veronica Nelson's three-run dinger against Long Island University Thursday evening catapulted her to the top of the Cal career RBI list. After launching her second home run of the weekend, her career RBIs stand at 157, surpassing former record holder Melanie McCart's (1994-97) 153. The Oakland, CA native also holds the Cal career records for home runs (50), walks (344) and slugging percentage (.662).

WHILE YOU WERE AWAY: Cal collected a 20-7 mark during its six-week long road trip. Five players surfaced with a .300 BA or better, highlighted by Vicky Galindo (.382), Veronica Nelson (.353) and Lindsay James (.330). The Bears outscored their opponents 130 to 36, lashing out 200 hits to 94. Kristina Thorson fired a 0.69 ERA, 9-3 record in 15 appearances, allowing a meager 38 hits, eight walks and seven earned runs in 71.1 innings.

ROAD RUNNERS: After 34 games, the Bears have stolen 25 bases in 30 attempts, led by the fleet-footed Vicky Galindo's 11-for-12 performance. Already Cal has produced more stolen bases than its 2002 National Championship season when it recorded 23. The last time a player has collected 11 stolen bases in a single season was in 1994 when Ericka Perez stole 11 of 13 attempts. The all-time Cal record for most stolen bases in a season by a team is 104 (1979) and individually is 28 (Keri Kropke in 1992).

FREE TICKET, ALL ABOARD: 34 games into the season, Veronica Nelson has received 56 free tickets to first base, 20 of which were intentional. Nelson, who set the NCAA single season walk record in 2002 with 108, is averaging 1.6 walks per game and is on track to possibly surpass her own record-holding mark with 25 scheduled games remaining in addition to post season play.

TOP 40 PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST: Seniors Veronica Nelson and Courtney Scott were among the 40 players named to the initial list of players to watch for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball, is the only national player of the year award in college softball. The first 25 finalists will be announced April 8th. The list will then be reduced to ten players on April 29th, with three finalists being named on May 13th. The winner will be announced at the World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.

INSIDE THE HEAD OF AN ALL-AMERICAN: First baseman Veronica Nelson writes a weekly journal entry posted on the calbears website, Roni's Remarks. It can be found at: http://calbears.ocsn.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/nelson-index.html.

NOTES: Cal's scheduled home game against Santa Clara April 23rd has been moved to April 16th. Game time remains at 2 p.m. The Bears' April 11 game at Arizona State will be broadcasted on KAZ-TV and their May 2 game at home against Arizona will be tape delayed on Fox Sports Net.

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