Final 2004 Home Series This Weekend for No. 4 California
May 4, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
WHAT'S ON TAP FOR CAL SOFTBALL: No. 4 California (40-11 overall, 7-8 Pac-10) returns to Berkeley this week following a successful 2-1 road trip to the Arizona schools last weekend. The Bears will challenge No. 3 UCLA on Friday at 2 p.m. in a Fox Sports Net televised contest. Cal will continue the weekend with two games versus No. 7 Washington Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. This weekend's three games mark the Bears' final home appearances for the 2004 season. Cal will travel to the Oregon schools to conclude the Pac-10 regular season before the NCAA announces regional seedings on Sunday, May 16. The Bears are currently sitting sixth in the Pac-10, 5.5 games behind No. 1 Arizona.
SCOUTING THE NO. 3 UCLA BRUINS: Riding a five-game winning streak that began with their two wins over Cal in Los Angeles two weeks ago, No. 3 UCLA swept No. 11 Oregon (2-0) and No. 18 Oregon State (2-0, 3-1) on the road last weekend. Senior P Keira Goerl recorded her 1,000th career strikeout in Sunday's win over the Beavers. She became the first Bruin and the 25th player in NCAA Division I history to reach the milestone, also earning her 119th career win, tying for seventh in the NCAA record book (with former Cal P Michele Granger). UCLA (34-7 overall, 7-6 Pac-10) hosts No. 7 Washington Wednesday before heading north to Berkeley Friday and across the Bay to No. 9 Stanford for Saturday and Sunday contests.
A LOOK AT THE NO. 7 WASHINGTON HUSKIES: Also on a road trip to the Oregon schools, No. 7 Washington (34-12 overall, 8-5 Pac-10) posted a 2-1 record over the weekend, defeating No. 18 Oregon State (4-2) and splitting with No. 11 Oregon (2-10 (5), 1-0). The Huskies are currently third in the Pac-10 standings, 3.5 games behind the No. 1 Wildcats. Junior C Kristin Rivera was named a Top-10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award May 3, the second time in as many years. She leads the country in slugging percentage (.973), is second with 17 home runs, 13th with a.445 batting average and seventh with 46 RBIs. Washington travels to No. 3 UCLA for a Wednesday afternoon game before playing at No. 9 Stanford Friday night.
CAL VS. UCLA TO BE TELEVISED BY FOX SPORTS NET: Fox Sports Net will air a tape-delayed telecast of Friday's match-up between No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 California in various national markets. Fox Sports Bay Area will carry the game on Sunday at 4 p.m. and again on Monday at noon. Check your local listings for information on additional airings. The broadcast will be Cal's only televised game of the 2004 regular season. ESPN is scheduled to carry several NCAA regional games before airing Women's College World Series contests later this month.
NCAA SOFTBALL REGIONAL SITES ANNOUNCED: The NCAA Division I Softball Committee announced this year's eight regional tournament sites Monday. They are: Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona); Waco, Texas (Baylor); Los Angeles (UCLA); Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State); Athens, Ga. (Georgia); Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan); Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska); and Stanford, Calif. (Stanford). Each site will feature eight teams playing a double-elimination format between Thursday, May 20 and Sunday, May 23. Pairings will be announced live on ESPNews Sunday, May 16 between 5 and 6 p.m. PT.
CAL'S OFFENSE LIGHTS UP IN ARIZONA DESERT: California enjoyed an offensive breakout series in Tempe last weekend, racking up 19 runs in two games against Arizona State. Juniors SS Chelsea Spencer and 2B Jessica Pamanian each hit 3-for-7 on the Sun Devils with three runs and five RBIs. Spencer's three hits were all home runs while Pamanian went yard twice. Sophomore C Haley Woods also hit her team-leading 13th homer in the desert Sunday. The Bears' 13 runs at ASU Sunday were their second-highest output of the season and resulted in the Sun Devils' worst loss of the year. Cal's biggest scoring production this season was a true Valentine's Day gift, a 17-0 win versus then No. 12 DePaul at the UNLV Tournament in La Vegas, Nev., on February 14 in a game showcasing 15 Cal hits and resulting in the Bears' second win of the day and the season over a ranked opponent, having defeated No. 14 LSU earlier, 5-1.
MEMORIES OF OKLAHOMA CITY LINGER WITH BEARS AND BRUINS: UCLA won the Women's College World Series in 2003 with a nine-inning, 1-0 win over California in the championship game. It was Cal's second appearance in the WCWS championship in as many years, having defeated Arizona in 2002 for the first women's NCAA national championship in school history, and fifth straight trip to the WCWS. But in 2003 it was UCLA claiming the crown, taking its ninth softball title for the program. Cal had reached the championship game as a No. 7 seed, upsetting higher-seeded No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Oklahoma and sweeping No. 1 Arizona in a must-win doubleheader to face UCLA once more.
TOP-25 TEAMS ACCOUNT FOR ALL OF CAL'S LOSSES: Following the Bears' loss at No. 1 Arizona last weekend, all 11 of California's losses this season have been to Top 25 teams and eight of those were Pac-10 opponents. By the same token, Cal has won nine games against ranked teams this season and its five conference wins on the road this year have exceeded its away mark last season of three road victories. Each of Cal's final six remaining Pac-10 and regular season games are against Top 25 teams, half at home and half on the road.
CALIFORNIA PITCHING UPDATE: Sophomore P Kristina Thorson (19-3) threw a strong first game against ASU last Saturday, giving up just one hit over the first six innings and finishing with six hits, no runs, no walks and four strikeouts. Thorson's ERA is now 0.93 after 157.2 innings of work. She has allowed just 93 hits, 22 runs, 21 earned runs and 18 walks while striking out 152. Opposing batters are hitting just .168 overall against Thorson this season and only .221 in Pac-10 play. Thorson has eight conference starts in 2004, posting a record of 4-3 with a 1.51 ERA (third in the Pac-10 rankings). California's elder starter, junior P Kelly Anderson (21-8, 3-5 Pac-10), has also been throwing quite well this season, posting an ERA of 1.32 overall and 2.23 in conference. Anderson has held the circle for 174.2 innings this year, allowing 144 hits, 51 runs and 33 earned runs while striking out 130, 34 of those in Pac-10 action.
BEAR NOTES AND OTHER INTERESTING SOFTBALL MUSINGS: In its 40 victories this season, California is averaging 5.8 runs per game while allowing a mere 0.875. On the other hand, in Cal's 11 losses, the Bears averaged just one run per game while allowing 4.09. In its wins, Cal hits .312 versus .165, and in its losses, .190 versus .310, almost a complete reversal of fortune ... Junior SS Chelsea Spencer is having a great conference season in 2004, batting .333 with an impressive .622 slugging percentage (sixth-best in the Pac-10), tallying a double, four home runs (tied for second in the Pac-10) and eight RBIs while successfully stealing 4-of-5 bases ... California's 19 runs in the desert last weekend did good things for its overall batting average, moving the Bears up to second amongst Pac-10 teams with a .287 mark, still a long way off the leading .340 Wildcats ... The Bears' pitching staff has notched a 2.02 ERA in conference games, third amongst their Pac-10 peers, but have also allowed the third-most hits in conference games behind Oregon State and Arizona State and have recorded the least strikeouts. However, Cal's pitching has also only allowed a conference-tying third number of earned runs, 29, with UCLA and behind Oregon and Arizona ... Sophomore LF Lindsay James is batting .354 in Pac-10 games, good for sixth amongst conference hitters, has the second-most hits with 17 and has stolen a conference-best seven bases (junior 3B Vicky Galindo is right behind her with six) ... James and Galindo have each stolen a team-leading 21 bases this year, fourth amongst the Pac-10.