No. 1 California Battles No. 3 Texas and No. 5 Tennessee
Feb. 24, 2005
Feb. 25 vs. Mississippi State (9-3), 3:30 p.m.Feb. 25 vs. No. 3 Texas (7-0), 6:00 p.m.Feb. 26 vs. No. 16 Texas A&M (12-1), 3:00 p.m.Feb. 26 vs. No. 5 Tennessee (13-0), 8:30 p.m.Feb. 27 vs. Loyola Marymount (0-0), 1:00 p.m.
All games at the Big League Dreams Sports Park inCathedral City, Calif.
WHAT'S ON TAP: The California softball team (No. 1 USA Today/No. 2 ESPN.com) gets a chance to find out where it stands among some of the nation's elite clubs at the three-day, 24-team Palm Springs Classic, which begins Fri., Feb. 25 at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif. The Bears open play against Mississippi State (9-3) at 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 before a sundown showdown with No. 3 Texas (7-0) at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 action pits Cal against No. 16 Texas A&M (12-1) at 3 p.m. before an 8:30 p.m. nightcap with No. 5 Tennessee (13-0). Cal finishes tournament action on Sun. at 1 p.m. against Loyola Marymount (0-0). The Bears already had games against Texas and Texas A&M rained out at the Kajikawa Tournament in Tempe, Ariz. (2/11-13). Cal's opponents this weekend are a combined 41-4 in the early season.
PITCHING PROWESS: Through seven games, Cal's pitching staff has been, simply, dominant. The trio of senior Kelly Anderson (3-0, 0.30 ERA), junior Kristina Thorson (3-0, 0.00) and sophomore Sarah Adams (1-0, 0.00) are collectively holding opposing hitters to a .079 batting average (12-for-152). Cal hurlers shutout the opposition for the first 29 innings of the year until UNLV pushed a fifth-inning run across in the Bears' 2-1 Feb. 20 victory. Only one school - Iowa State (Feb. 19) - has tallied three hits in a game and on three occasions Cal pitchers have one-hit the opposition. The Bears team ERA is 0.15.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Cal defeated Mississippi State, 2-1, at last season's NCAA Region 5 Tournament on the way to the Women's College World Series. This season's Bulldogs are led by pitchers Stephanie Comeaux (3-0, 0.00 ERA) and Kelli Miller (4-1, 0.48). Mississippi State features eight batters that are hitting .314 or better. Cal is 2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs, coached by Jay Miller (3rd year, 82-59) ... No. 3 Texas (7-0) was 24-25 a year ago, but that was without pitcher and 2003 Collegiate Player of Year Cat Osterman (3-0, 0.54), who took the season off to win a gold medal with the U.S. national team at the Athens Olympics. The junior is coming off of NFCA National Player of the Week honors after striking out 17 in tossing a perfect game against Texas State Feb. 16. Freshman Meagan Denny (2-0, 0.00) has also been strong in the circle for Texas, who has nine players hitting .333 or better. Cal is 2-3 versus Texas, led by Connie Clark (10th year, 308-160-1) ... Freshman Amanda Scarborough (5-0, 0.40) and sophomore Jill Weynand (3-0, 0.75) have each been perfect for No. 16 Texas A&M, which holds a 9-4 advantage against Cal, though the teams haven't met since 1998. The Aggies are coached by Jo Evans (9th year, 297-181-2) ... No. 5 Tennessee (13-0) has outscored its opponents 74-2 and pitcher Monica Abbott is a huge reason why. The sophomore is 8-0 with a 0.12 ERA. Junior outfielder Sarah Fekete is hitting .575 for the Lady Volunteers, co-coached by Ralph and Karen Weekly (3rd year/135-66-1) ... Loyola Marymount, 33-13 last season, opens its 2005 campaign Feb. 25 against Texas A&M.
WEEK IN REVIEW: Cal improved to 66-0 all-time against Santa Clara with a pair of 6-0 victories Feb. 23. Anderson two-hit the Broncos in game No. 1 while Thorson and Adams combined on a one-hitter to complete the sweep in game No. 2. Junior catcher Haley Woods was 3-for-6 with six RBIs and a double on the afternoon. ... Cal posted a 4-0 record at the UNLV Invitational (Feb. 18-20) with victories against Southern Illinois (1-0, 6 innings), Iowa State (5-0), Michigan State (13-0) and UNLV (2-1).
BEARS ON THE BALLOT (2/21-27): Cal continued as the nation's top-ranked club in the USA Today/NFCA poll, edging out No. 2 Arizona in votes (696-676) and first-place votes (24-4). For the second week in a row, voters in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll gave the Wildcats the No. 1 edge (492-485, 13-7). Log onto USASoftball.com March 1 and NFCA.org on March 2 to see how next week's polls shape up.