California NCAA Tournament Notes, May 20
May 20, 2005
FRESNO, Calif. -
Today's Game*: vs. Long Beach State (39-15)Fresno, CA (Bulldog Diamond), 5:30 p.m.*If Cal wins, the Bears will play at 8:30 p.m.against the Fresno State-BYU loser (3 p.m., Friday)
BEARS' REGIONAL LOSS A RARE OCCURANCE: Cal's 3-1 opening-round defeat against BYU Thursday evening snapped a 13-game regional round winning streak. Cal's last regional-round loss was a 2-1 defeat at Florida State to the host Seminoles in 2001. Thursday's loss was also the Bears' first opening-game defeat at a regional since 1997, when they fell to Fresno State, 7-0, at Bulldog Diamond. Additionally, Thursday's defeat was Cal's first to BYU in seven meetings.
49ERS AT THE 2005 FRESNO STATE REGIONAL: Long Beach State was relegated to the loser's bracket following a 4-0 loss to host Fresno State Thursday. Bulldog starting pitcher Jamie Southern (27-3) held the 49ers to three hits and struck out 11. Long Beach State starter Marcel Torres (15-7) allowed seven hits but just one earned run, struck out three and collected one of the 49ers' hits.
CAL VS. LONG BEACH STATE IN THE POSTSEASON: The Bears are 3-2 all-time against the 49ers in postseason play, which includes a few matchups in Fresno. The last postseason meeting between the two schools came in the loser's bracket final of the 1997 Fresno State Regional, a 3-1 Cal victory. The Bears also knocked off the 49ers in the opening round of the 1996 Fresno State Regional, 4-1. At the 1993 Cal Regional, the two schools played three times, with the 49ers taking two games and eventually eliminating the Bears. Cal is 13-10 all-time against LBSU, which won the last overall meeting, 1-0, on March 9, 2002.
A SHOT AT HISTORY: To advance to the Super Regionals, Cal must win their next four games - two on Friday and two on Saturday. Despite the format change for this season's NCAA Tournament, Cal has never won more than two consecutive games in regional play after dropping the first game. That instance came in 1997, when Cal fell to host Fresno State in the first round (7-0), rebound to defeat Cal State Northridge (3-2, 9 innings) and Long Beach State (3-1) before falling to the Bulldogs in the final, 9-3. This season, Cal has posted five stretches of four consecutive victories, the latest of which came over the last two weekends of regular season play and helped keep the Bears in the Pac-10 Conference title chase. Having to win out to take the league crown, Cal defeated No. 25 Oregon in back-to-back 1-0 games (May 7-8) before dispatching of No. 3 Arizona, 1-0 (May 12), and Arizona State, 9-1 (May 13).
ANDERSON SCHEDULED TO GET THE BALL FOR CAL: Senior Kelly Anderson (24-7), the Most Outstanding Player at the 2003 Region 7 Tournament (Michigan), is expected to get the start today against Long Beach State. Anderson won 20 games for third consecutive year in 2005. Entering today's 5:30 p.m. contest, she leads Cal in victories, shutouts (10), innings pitched (201.2), opposing batting average (.147) and starts (28). She pitched one inning of scoreless relief in Thursday's loss to BYU.
LOOKING AHEAD: If the Bears defeat Long Beach State, they will play the loser of the Fresno State-BYU game (3 p.m., Friday) at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. The winner of the nightcap advances to Saturday's 3 p.m. championship. Cal junior Kristina Thorson, who suffered the loss against BYU, could get the start if Cal can advance past the 49ers and into the night game.
CAN'T STOP SUTTON: There's no hotter hitter in the Cal lineup currently than sophomore Alex Sutton. The right fielder has at least a hit and an RBI in her last four contests, dating back to a game-winning, bottom-of-the-seventh RBI-single that helped Cal topple then-No. 3 Arizona, 1-0, May 12. She went 2-for-3 a day later as Cal defeated Arizona State, 9-1, and hit her first homer of the year in the Bears' season-ending, 2-1, loss to the Sun Devils May 14. Against BYU Friday, she singled home senior shortstop Chelsea Spencer in the second inning for an early 1-0 lead. On May 12, Sutton was hitting .198. Since going 5-for-9 (.555) with five RBI over Cal's last four games, she is now batting .229. Sutton has had a penchant for coming through in the clutch. In 2004, she collected three hits and had two RBI in a 4-1 national semifinal win against LSU that helped vault Cal into the Women's College World Series title game.
JAMES MAKES RETURN: Following an 18-game hiatus due to a broken left hand, junior left fielder Lindsay James returned to the Cal lineup Thursday evening. James, whose current .466 season batting average ties her for the top single-season mark in Cal history, went 0-for-3 in Cal's opening-round loss to BYU.
MISCELLANEOUS: Senior center fielder Kaleo Eldredge became Cal's career hit by pitch leader (18) following a third-inning plunking by BYU starter Summer Tobias Thursday ... senior third baseman Vicky Galindo suffered her team-leading seventh hit by pitch of the season Thursday ... Friday's attendance of 1,303 was the largest crowd to see Cal play since 1,188 settled into Washington's Husky Stadium May 1 and was the Bears' fourth-biggest crowd of the season.
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