No. 7 Cal Faces No. 2 Arizona For First Time Since 2002 World Series

April 8, 2003

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WHAT'S ON TAP: The seventh-ranked and defending national champion Cal softball team (32-9, 4-2), winners of 20 of its last 23 games as it embarks on a five-game road trip this week, faces Sacramento State in a doubleheader Wednesday at 1 p.m. before squaring off against No. 12 Arizona State Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 2 Arizona Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. It will be the first time the Bears and Wildcats have played since Cal beat Arizona, 6-0, in the title game at the 2002 World Series in Oklahoma City, May 27. Saturday's game will be broadcasted live on CSTV.

SCOUTING SACRAMENTO STATE: Earlier in the season, the Bears defeated Sacramento State, 4-0, at the National Invitational Softball Tournament. The Hornets' 25-15 club (4-0 PCSC) is riding a five-game winning streak heading into Wednesday's matchup. Jillian Bivert and Erin Coyne lead the team with 27 RBIs apiece, accounting for 45.8 percent of the team's total RBI count (118). Four Hornets are batting above .300, led by Lindy Winkler's .338 BA. In the circle, Brianne Ferguson leads the squad with a 10-7 mark in 121.0 inns. and a 1.85 ERA. Cal leads the all-time series, 43-19.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Cal defeated ASU 6-1 at the NIST earlier this season after knocking off the Sun Devils in the semi-final game of the 2002 World Series, 3-0. ASU (26-12, 3-3) has six players batting above .300, led by Kara Brun with a .430 BA (52-for-121), 11-2B, 10 HR and 93 RBI. On the mound, Desiree Serrano has seen most of the action for the Sun Devils, posting a 16-7 mark in 159.2 innings for a 1.40 ERA. Cal leads the all-time series, 44-27.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: Cal faces Arizona for the first time since the 6-0 triumph in the championship game of the 2002 World Series. The Wildcats (37-3, 6-0) have six players batting above .300, led by Autumn Champion's .443 BA and Jung Lovie's .442 BA (15-2B, 2-3B, 20-HR, 59 RBIs). Alicia Hollowell has a 24-2 overall mark from the circle, allowing just 58 hits in 168.0 innings pitched. Arizona leads the all-time series, 50-15.

CAL IN THE PAC-10: Six games into Pac-10 action, the Bears have the third-best conference team BA (.253), second-best fielding percentage (.974) and fifth-best team ERA (1.63) ... Veronica Nelson leads the league with a .750 on-base percentage and 11 walks and is fourth with a .444 BA ... Lindsay James, Vicky Galindo and Chelsea Spencer lead the conference with three sacrifice bunts while James is seventh in the league with a .474 on-base percentage ... from the circle, Kelly Anderson has held opponents to a .111 BA, the second-best in the league- and has the fifth-best ERA (0.79).

NEWCOMERS SHINE: Currently Cal is starting as many as three newcomers in leadoff batter Vicky Galindo, left fielder Lindsay James and freshman pitcher Kristina Thorson. Galindo, a sophomore transfer from West Valley J.C., and James, a freshman from San Carlos, CA, have registered the second (.370) and third (.344) best batting averages on the team for active players. This duo also leads the team with 15 and 11 multi-hit games, respectively. A Lake Forest Park, Wash. native, Thorson boasts a 1.23 ERA, including a 2-0 victory past nationally No. 2-ranked Washington Friday afternoon when she struck out five. Overall, the Bears start an entire outfield of underclassmen and three in the infield.

VERONICA NELSON SETS NEW CAL CAREER RBI RECORD: Senior Veronica Nelson's three-run dinger against Long Island University March 20 catapulted her to the top of the Cal career RBI list. Her career RBIs stand at 159, surpassing former record holder Melanie McCart's (1994-97) 153. The Oakland, CA native also holds the Cal career records for home runs (51), walks (357) and slugging percentage (.664).

BEAR BATTING BITS: Cal has six active players with a +.300 BA with runners on base, led by Veronica Nelson (.400), and also including Vicky Galindo (.391), Lindsay James (.333), Kristen Morley (.323), Jessica Pamanian (.318) and Linzi Wescott (.444) ... Pamanian has stepped up to the plate 10 times with the bases loaded, shining in that situation with a .600 BA ... as a team, the Bears currently post a .287 BA with runners in scoring position to their opponents' .160 BA ... Kaleo Eldredge features a .400 BA (12-for-30) when at the plate with two outs, including collecting nine of her 22 RBIs in that situation.

FROM THE CIRCLE: Per game, Cal's pitching staff is averaging 3.68 hits, 1.45 runs (1.04 earned runs), 1.95 walks, 7.41 strikeouts ... the four-deep staff has held opponents to a .152 BA, fanning 292 batters in 276.0 innings.

THREE DOT DATA: Cal is 4-5 in one-run ballgames, 3-1 in two-run games and 17-1 when it scores five runs or more ... combining terrific defense and gutsy pitching, the Bears have recorded 18 shutouts while being blanked only three times themselves... Cal has scored its most runs in the fifth inning (47) and its least in the sixth (15).

ROAD RUNNERS: After 38 games, the Bears have stolen 32 bases in 42 attempts, led by the fleet-footed Vicky Galindo's 15-for-19 performance. Already Cal has produced more stolen bases than in its 2002 National Championship season when it recorded 23. The last time a player had collected 15 stolen bases in a single season was in 1993 when Keri Kropke stole 16 of 21 attempts. The all-time Cal record for most stolen bases in a season by a team is 104 (1979) and individually is 28 (Kropke in 1992).

THE BARRY BONDS OF SOFTBALL: 41 games into the season, senior Veronica Nelson has one more at bat (70) than walks (69), 28 of which were intentional. Nelson, who set the NCAA single season walk record in 2002 with 108, is averaging 1.7 walks per game and is on track to possibly surpass her own record-holding mark with 18 scheduled games remaining in addition to post season play. Despite the constant four straight balls, Nelson continues to lead the Bears with a .400 BA, nine home runs, 26 RBIs and a .786 slugging percentage.

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 9th. 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.

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