No. 5 California Opens NCAA Tournament Play Against Illinois State

May 14, 2006

BERKELEY-- The fifth-ranked California softball team earned the No. 10 seed in the 2006 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament and will open play against Illinois State, Friday, at a regional hosted by Iowa. Nebraska and the host Hawkeyes, who will also play on May 19, round out the regional field.

If the Bears (44-12) win, Cal will play on Saturday, May 20. An opening-round loss would put the Bears in the losers bracket. Game times have not been set at this point. Daily updated results and the regional schedule will be available on www.CalBears.com as soon as they come available.

Cal, which finished third in the Pac-10 Conference behind top-ranked UCLA and No. 3 Arizona, is making its 21st overall appearance in the NCAA tournament. Cal has advanced to the Women's College World Series for seven consecutive seasons.

The regional round will be played in double-elimination format. The winners of the 16 regionals will advance to the super regional round, which will take place from May 26-27. The super regional round is a best-of-three format, with the winners of the eight super regionals advancing to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. (June 1-7).

Should the Bears win the Iowa Regional, Cal would earn a match-up against the winner of the Oregon State regional, which includes the seventh-seeded Beavers as well as Nevada, Portland State and Baylor.

Illinois State (37-14) earned an at-large berth to the postseason after being eliminated from the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Redbirds will be making their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Other Missouri Valley Conference teams to make the postseason field are Southern Illinois and Missouri State.

Iowa finished 39-19 in the regular season, placing third in the Big 10 conference behind first-place Northwestern and second-place Michigan. Cal defeated the Hawkeyes in a 1-0 decision earlier this season at the Capital Classic.

Nebraska (42-10), which is currently ranked No. 14 nationally, is making its 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Huskers went 2-2 at the Big 12 Championship and finished second in the conference behind Texas.

Cal is one of seven Pac-10 teams to earn a trip to the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Top-ranked UCLA received the No. 1 seed. The other conference teams are seeded and will play in the following regions: Arizona (No. 2, host), Arizona State (No. 6, Long Island), Oregon State (No. 7, host), Stanford (No. 12, Fresno State) and Washington (No. 14, BYU).

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