California (52-14) WCWS Notes, June 4

June 3, 2005


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Today's Game*: vs. Arizona (44-11)Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)TV: ESPN (11:00 a.m. CT)*Winner plays Texas at 6 p.m. CT (ESPN)

BEARS FACE LONG ROAD TO CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: If the second-seeded California softball team hopes to appear in a fourth-consecutive Women's College World Series championship game, it will have to win four consecutive games against elimination over two days. The road out of the loser's bracket and into next week's best-of-three championship series begins Saturday, June 4, against perennial Pac-10 and World Series foe Arizona (44-11). The game will be carried live on ESPN with Pam Ward and Lisa Fernandez calling the action from ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The Bears (52-14) put themselves behind the proverbial 8-ball by falling to seventh-seeded UCLA, 2-1, in Thursday's opening round. Also on Thursday, 11th-seeded Tennessee defeated Arizona, 1-0.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cal-Arizona winner will face fourth-seeded Texas on Saturday at 6 p.m. (ESPN) in another elimination game. The Cal-Arizona loser will go home. Cal defeated Texas, 1-0, on Feb. 25 in the only game the two schools played this season.

CAL VS. ARIZONA, THE SERIES: Though Arizona owns the all-time series (57-19) and the postseason series (4-3), it's the Bears who have enjoyed the upper hand in recent years. Cal took two of three games this year to win the season series (see below). The Bears have also won the last three postseason games, defeating the Wildcats, 6-0, to win the 2002 WCWS. A year later, Cal eliminated Arizona with back-to-back 2-1 (10 innings) and 4-1 wins.

Cal-Arizona 2005 Season Series Recap

May 12, 2005 (Cal, 1-0): Sophomore right fielder Alex Sutton singled home senior pinch runner Jessica Vernaglia in the bottom of the seventh for the winning run ... Cal head coach Diane Ninemire wins her 800th career game.

April 3, 2005 (Cal, 6-3): A three-run homer from junior catcher Haley Woods leads a 14-hit Cal attack ... Bears earn first victory against Wildcats in over a year after being swept in 2004.

April 2, 2005 (UA, 4-2): Shortstop Kristie Fox swats a two-out, bottom-of-the-seventh grand slam to defeat Cal.

CAL HAS RECENT HISTORY ON ITS SIDE: The Bears are no stranger to long odds in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. At the Fresno State Regional, Cal dropped its first game to BYU, 3-1, on May 19 before defeating Long Beach State (4-3) and the Cougars (9-0, five innings) May 20. The following day, Cal defeated Fresno State, 3-1 and 1-0, to advance to the Waco Super Regional. There, Cal defeated Baylor, 8-0, in six innings in game No. 1 May 27. Baylor rebounded to post a 4-1 win over Cal but the Bears wrapped their seventh-consecutive WCWS berth with a 7-1 victory in the nightcap.

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY: The last time the Bears were on the brink of elimination after their WCWS opener was 2001, when Cal fell to Arizona, 3-2, in the first game before defeating Michigan, 5-2 (Stanford eventually eliminated Cal, 1-0). At the WCWS, Cal has never won more than three consecutive games when facing elimination (2003). Cal is 8-8 all-time when facing elimination at the WCWS and 3-3 after losing the first game. Cal has been eliminated from the WCWS in two games just once: in 2000, the Bears fell to Oklahoma, 2-1, and Arizona, 6-0.

MISSCELANEOUS NOTES: Bears' left fielder Lindsay James currently has a six-game hitting streak and has hit safely in seven of nine tournament games ... Cal's 14 losses are the second-least for a Diane Ninemire-coached team ... Cal is currently 18-17 in 10 appearances at the WCWS and 67-45 in NCAA Tournament play ... the Bears are 21-11 against top-25 teams this season (Arizona is ranked third).

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