No. 2 California Travels to UNLV Invitational

Feb. 15, 2005

BERKELEY -

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This Week:Feb. 18	vs. No. 24 Southern Illinois (2-1)  9:30 a.m.Feb. 18	vs. No. 19 Florida (11-1)           2:00 p.m.Feb. 19	Iowa State (0-0)                    9:30 a.m.Feb. 20 Michigan State (0-0)                11:15 a.m.Feb. 20 UNLV (5-4)                           1:30 p.m.

WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 2 California softball team looks for a brighter weekend, literally, at the UNLV Invitational Tournament, Feb. 18-20 (Fri.-Sun.) in Las Vegas. The Bears were scheduled to play in the Kajikawa Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 11-13, but heavy rain in the southwest cancelled a majority of the competition, including all five of Cal's scheduled games. This weekend in Las Vegas, Cal takes on a pair of ranked foes (No. 24 Southern Illinois, No. 19 Florida), two Midwest clubs making their 2005 debuts (Iowa State, Michigan State) and host UNLV. Follow Cal's progress against Southern Illinois (Feb. 18, 9:30 a.m.) by clicking on the Gametracker link on the softball Schedule/Results page on CalBears.com. Gametracker will only be available for the matchup with SIU.

A YEAR AGO: Junior catcher Haley Woods earned USA Softball National Player of the Week honors and Cal swept all five games with a 40-3 run aggregate at the 2004 UNLV Invitational. The Bears opened the tournament with victories over Notre Dame (2-1) and UNLV (12-0). On day No. 2, Cal defeated LSU (5-1), who the Bears would later beat in the national semifinals, and pounded No. 12 DePaul (17-0). Against the Blue Demons, Woods swatted a pair of home runs and posted seven RBIs. Cal completed the weekend with a 4-1 defeat of Cal Poly. Woods hit .600 (9-for-15) at the competition, with four homers and 17 RBIs. Senior pitcher Kelly Anderson won three games while junior Kristina Thorson recorded two victories.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: No. 24 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS went 2-1 to open their season at the Ole Miss Rebel Classic (Feb. 12-13). First baseman Kelly Creek hit .667 (6-for-9), three other Salukis batted .500 and pitchers Ashley Hamby (0.00 ERA) and Amy Harre (0.82 ERA) each picked up wins. SIU, a 2004 NCAA Regionals participant, is coached by Kerri Blaylock (194-90, sixth year) ... No. 19 FLORIDA ripped off 11 wins to begin the season before falling to Notre Dame, 4-2, Feb. 13. Eight Gators are hitting .300 or better, topped by junior infielder Lindsay Norfleet's .417. Three Florida pitchers have won at least three games, led by senior Mandy Schuerman's 0.28 ERA. Florida is coached by Karen Johns (162-109, fifth year) ... IOWA STATE opens its 2005 season Feb. 17 against tournament host UNLV. The Cyclones, coached by Ruth Crowe (241-324, 12 years) return 14 letterwinners from last year's 13-31 squad ... MICHIGAN STATE, the 2004 Big Ten Tournament Champion, also opens its season Thursday. Head coach Jacquie Joseph (353-293, 11 seasons) returns seven starters from last season's 36-26 team ... UNLV dropped to 5-4 after a 6-5 loss to Central Florida at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic (Feb. 10-13). Freshman outfielder Marissa Nichols leads the Rebels with a .455 batting average while pitcher Jacque Kerrigan is 5-3 with a .147 ERA. UNLV is coached by Lonni Alameda (30-39, second season).

WEEK IN REVIEW (2/11-2/13): Among the games cancelled by Mother Nature at the Kajikawa Tournament included tilts against No. 4 Texas, No. 18 Fresno State and No. 23 Texas A&M. The Bears will get a shot at Texas Feb. 25 and Texas A&M Feb. 26 at the Palm Springs Classic. Cal will not play Fresno State in 2005 unless the clubs meet in the postseason. Tournament matchups against Massachusetts and Syracuse were also cancelled.

BEARS ON THE BALLOT: Not playing since Feb. 5 has apparently cost Cal its top spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The Bears dropped to No. 2 in the Feb. 15 release. No. 1 Arizona (6-0), who shared the top spot with Cal a week ago, took sole possession Tuesday, garnering 12 first-place votes (491 overall) to Cal's eight (488). Texas (3-0, 443) was third followed by No. 4 UCLA (7-2, 425) and No. 5 Louisiana Lafayette (8-0, 416). Cal, No. 1 in last week's USA Today/NFCA poll, will see if their standing in unchanged when the new poll debuts Feb. 16.

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