No. 5 California Travels to Fiesta Bowl Tournament
Feb. 5, 2002
WHATS ON TAP: No. 5 California embarks on a 48-day, seven-week tournament circuit that takes the Bears around much of the western region of the United States and Hawaii. The first stop is the Fiesta Bowl Tournament hosted by Arizona State. The three-day tournament has Cal slated for five games, including two a piece on Friday and Saturday, and a final game on Sunday.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Bears opened the 2002 season with a double header sweep of Sacramento State last Saturday afternoon at Levine-Fricke Field. Cal defeated the Hornets 3-2 in the first game as senior Jocelyn Forest struck out 13 batters on her way to her first win of the year. Freshman designated player Kelly Anderson contributed with a towering home run to left in just her second plate appearance of her college career. In the night cap, the Bears received seven shutout innings from junior Jennifer Deering and timely hits from several players for the 4-0 win. On Sunday, Cal suffered a shutout loss at the hands of 19th-ranked Pacific, 4-0. The last time the Bears were blanked by a nonconference opponent was Mar. 17, 2001 when Iowa defeated Cal, 1-0, to end the Bears' best start in school history at 32-0.
BEARS RANKED IN TOP 5: California has done it again. After spending much of last season hovering in and out of the Top Five in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25, the preseason rankings for 2002 has the Bears at No. 5. The Pac-10 Conference is once again a dominant force in the polls as Arizona is the preseason No. 1 after winning the national championship in 2001. UCLA, last year's national runner-up, is at No. 2, followed by Stanford in the third spot. Louisiana State is the only non-Pac-10 team in the Top Five. The following is the Top 10 teams in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top 25 poll.
School 2001 Record Pts. 2001 Ranking 1. Arizona (20) 65-4 668 1 2. UCLA (7) 60-6 655 2 3. Stanford 54-16-1 604 3 (tie) 4. LSU 59-11 591 3 (tie) 5. California 54-17 543 6 6. Iowa 49-14 492 7 7. Oklahoma 50-9 485 5 8. Arizona State 36-22 469 9 9. Washington 40-23 431 13 10. CS Fullerton 48-14 424 12
TWO ALL-AMERICANS RETURN IN 2002: For the first time since Michele Granger and Gillian Boxx played together at Cal (1993), All-America teammates return to Berkeley to play together another year. Senior Jocelyn Forest (second team) and junior Veronica Nelson (first team) were selected to the 2001 All-America squad, and return this spring for another run at the WCWS.
DIANE NINEMIRE GUNS FOR 600: With 14 years of coaching under her belt, Diane Ninemire has racked up wins at an incredible pace. After Saturday's sweep of Sacramento State, she has 599 wins and could potentially be sitting on a milestone, 600 wins, by the end of the week. After guiding the Bears to their most wins ever (54) last season, Ninemire is fourth all-time in wins in the Pac-10 and third in the conference among active coaches.
Coach Years W L T Pct. 1. Mike Candrea, ARIZ* 16 871 172 - .835 2. Sharron Backus, UCLA 21 847 167 3 .834 3. Sue Enquist, UCLA* 13 641 121 1 .840 4. Teresa Wilson, UW/UO* 14 603 302 - .666 5. Diane Ninemire, CAL* 14 599 116 - .838
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: On Friday, Cal faces off against No. 16 Fresno State (0-0) to kick off the Fiesta Bowl Tournament. The Bulldogs return 12 letterwinners, including eight starters, from a 39-19 team that captured its fourth straight Western Athletic Conference title and fifth WAC crown in six years. Five newcomers, including two high school NFCA All-Americans, dot the roster. Margie Wright is in her 17th season as head coach of the Fresno State softball program and has compiled a record of 831-243-1. She directed the Bulldogs to a national title in 1998 while guiding the program to the NCAA Women's College World Series in 10 of the last 15 years.
SCOUTING KANSAS: The unranked Jayhawks return 15 letterwinners and eight starters in 2002 from a team that went 32-27 overall and 8-10 in league play last season, finishing tied for third in the Big 12 regular season. Six returning Jayhawks were All-Big 12 selections in 2001, including senior Leah Tabb, Megan Urquhart, Big 12 Freshman of the Year Kara Pierce, Courtney Wright, Amy Hulse and Shelly Musser. Head coach Tracy Bunge begins her fifth year as head coach of the Kansas softball team after guiding the Jayhawks to a 127-199 record over the previous four seasons.
SCOUTING TEXAS: Only in their sixth year of existence, the Longhorn softball program has seen early success. In only its second varsity season, Texas reached the WCWS and placed among the elite eight and have made the NCAA Tournament three times (1998-2000). The Longhorns have a core of talented returning players in 2002, including junior catcher Marlo Hanks and sophomore pitcher Natalie King. Head coach Connie Clark has been at Texas since the program's inception and boasts a record of 178-113-1.
SCOUTING UNLV: UNLV returns five starters in the field, three on the mound and 11 letterwinners from last year's 26-30 squad, including senior pitcher Geney Orris. The Bears are the highest ranked team the Rebels face this weekend. UNLV is led by head coach Shan McDonald, who is in her 15th season at Las Vegas. Cal is 6-5 all-time versus the Rebels.
SCOUTING SOUTHWEST TEXAS STATE: The 17th-ranked Bobcats feature 11 upperclassmen on their roster, including sophomore Kristin Zaleski and junior transfer Amber Blair. SW Texas State has struggled early on in the 2002 season with a 1-4 record. Zaleski leads the team with a .533 batting average and five stolen bases. Junior pitcher Stephanie Blair has a 1-1 record and a 6.19 ERA in four appearances. Head coach Ricci Woodard is in her second year at Southwest Texas State.