Golden Bears Check in at No. 14 in ESPN.com/ USA Softball Top 25 Poll

Jan. 27, 2009

Berkeley - The California softball team earned a No. 14 preseason ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Preseason Poll on Tuesday. Last week, Cal was ranked No. 17 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll.

Cal, who returns six starters (Sanoe Kekahuna, Valerie Arioto, Vernae Sevilla, Taylor Kelly, Gina Leomiti and Bernice Masaniai) along with pitchers Marissa Drewrey, Arioto and Brittany LaRosa, finished the 2008 season with a 43-27 mark, a trip to the NCAA Super Regional and No. 14 ranking in the final USA Softball/ESPN.com Top 25 poll (No. 16 in the final USA Today/NFCA poll).

The Bears were paced by Arioto, who led the team in batting average (.324), runs (55), hits (71) and doubles (17) to earn All-Pac-10 and All-Pacific Region honors. Drewrey won 29 games in the circle with over 300 strikeouts en route to all-conference and all-region accolades. Cal set a team record with 279 RBI as well.

The 2009 squad also features depth, speed and seven newcomers - freshmen Frani Echavarria, Elia and Jamia Reid, Amy Bishop, sophomore Sati Houston, junior Shannon Thomas and senior Nikki Schrey. Letterwinners Carrie Arth, Shannon Houston and Lauren Bauer also return.

Cal begins the '09 campaign at the Cathedral City Kickoff, Feb. 6-8 in Palm Springs, Calif., and opens with the 13th-ranked Houston Cougars. The first home game is February 18 vs. Santa Clara.

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