No. 6 Cal Faces Santa Clara, No. 3 Arizona, No. 8 ASU

April 18, 2006

WHEN: Wed., April 19 (3 p.m.) / Fri., April 21 (3 p.m.) / Sat., April 22-23 (1 p.m.)WHERE: Santa Clara, Calif. / Berkeley, Calif.

The No. 6 California softball team (36-6 overall, 5-3 Pac-10) travels to Santa Clara (15-26, 4-4) Wednesday (3 p.m.) and then hosts No. 8 Arizona State (39-6, 3-3) andNo. 3 Arizona (32-7, 3-4). The Bears take on the Sun Devils Friday at 3 p.m. Cal faces the Wildcats Saturday and Sunday, with both games starting at 1 p.m.

The Bears moved from No. 5 to No. 6 in the latest Softball rankings. The updated USA Today/NFCA poll will be released Wednesday (4/19).

Santa Clara comes off a 2-2 series against Sacramento State last weekend. Friday, the Broncos beat the Hornets 6-2 and then lost 8-0 in the second game. In Saturday's doubleheader, Santa Clara won 1-0 and then lost 4-0 in Game 2. Earlier this season, Cal swept Sacramento State in a doubleheader, 4-0 and 9-6, in Berkeley in February.Cal had been scheduled to face Santa Clara at the NIST earlier this season, but the game was cancelled due to rain.The Broncos went 26-31 in 2005, finishing fourth in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.

In 2005, Cal defeated the Broncos 6-0 and 6-0 in a doubleheader in Berkeley and 4-1 in an NIST game.Cal leads the all-time series between the teams 66-0.

Arizona State comes off of a 1-1 split against Arizona over the weekend in Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Devils rallied for a 4-2 10-inning win Friday but lost, 3-0, to the Wildcats Saturday.

ASU leads the conference in several categories, including runs scored (246), RBI (230), home runs (51) and total bases (551). Freshman outfielder Kaitlin Cochran tops the Pac-10 in slugging percentage (.843), on-base percentage (.582), hits (61), RBI (51) and total bases (107). Sophomore Mindy Cowles is first in homers (13) and walks (32).

ASU entered Pac-10 play with just three losses - Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Florida State. In conference play, the Sun Devils have dropped games to UCLA (7-4), Washington (3-1, 11 innings) and Arizona (3-0). ASU's Pac-10 wins have come against Oregon State (3-2, eight innings), Washington (5-4, 13 innings) and Arizona (4-2, 10 innings).

Last season, Cal went 2-2 against ASU. The Sun Devils won the first game 1-0 at the NIST on a solo home run by Sharee Zaleski. Cal won 4-2 in Tempe, Ariz., thanks to two home runs from Haley Woods - a three-run shot and a solo homer. The Bears won the first game in Berkeley 9-1 (six innings) but dropped a 2-1 decision the next day, again on a home run from Zaleski. The Bears lead the all-time series 50-31.

The Wildcats went 1-1 against ASU last weekend, dropping the first game 4-2 in 10 innings but winning the second game 3-0 on Saturday. Both games were played in Tempe, Ariz.

The Wildcats' pitching has been dominant this season. Arizona leads the conference in several areas, including ERA (.85), opposing batting average (.135), batters struck out (444), hits allowed (117) and runs allowed (35).

Arizona returns two All-Americans in junior outfielder Caitlin Lowe and senior pitcher Alicia Holwell. In 2005, Lowe was also a finalist for national Player of the Year and was chosen as co-Pac-10 Player of the Year. Lowe leads the conference in batting average (.490).Last season, Arizona was one of three teams to share the Pac-10 title with Cal.

The last meeting between Cal and Arizona took place in the Women's College World Series, where the Wildcats were a 3-2 winner in a 12-inning marathon that eliminated the Bears from the tournament.The teams split their four games 2-2 in 2005, with Cal winning the second and third meetings - 6-3 in Tucson, Ariz., and 1-0 in Berkeley. The Wildcats won the teams' first game last year, 4-2, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona leads the all-time series 58-19.

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