May 31, 2004

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - California returns to the NCAA Division I Softball national championship game today for the third consecutive year, having won the Women's College World Series in 2002 and finishing second to UCLA in 2003. The Bears' 6-0 victory in 2002 over Arizona brought home the first NCAA national championship for Cal Softball as well as the first NCAA national championship for any women's sport at California.

With its return to the WCWS title game today, the Bears become only the fourth team ever to make three or more consecutive appearances in the NCAA national championship contest (the others are UCLA, Arizona and Fresno State). UCLA was the last team to make three or more straight championship games, between 1999 and 2001, with the Bruins defeating Washington, 3-2, for the title in 1999 and falling to Oklahoma, 3-1, in 2000 and Arizona, 1-0, in 2001.

California made it's sixth consecutive trip the Women's College World Series in 2004 and ninth overall.

LIVE NATIONWIDE COVERAGE ON ESPN: California squares off against UCLA for the NCAA Division I Softball national championship today at 7 p.m. CT in a live ESPN televised contest airing coast to coast.

BEARS VERSUS BRUINS: California is 1-2 versus UCLA this season and 15-65 all-time against the Bruins including a 1-2 mark in the postseason. UCLA will be the home team for Monday's championship. Cal and UCLA faced off in the championship game last year, with the Bruins winning 1-0 in nine innings.

UPDATED CAL RECORDS: The Bears enter today's championship game with an 18-15 all-time record in the Women's College World Series and is 11-3 over the past their past three WCWS appearances (2002-2004). California is 61-41 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

CAL'S ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: California advances into its third consecutive NCAA national championship game with a 3-1 Women's College World Series record in 2004 and a postseason mark of 7-1 including the Bears' 4-0 sweep through the NCAA Region 5 Softball Championship. It was Cal's third straight sweep of regional action, having gone 4-0 through the Fresno State regional in 2002 and the Michigan regional in 2003.

2004 California Postseason ResultsMay 20  vs. Maine               W   4-0May 21  vs. Mississippi State   W   2-1May 22  vs. Nebraska            W   2-0May 23  vs. Nebraska            W   2-0May 27  vs. Florida State       W   4-2May 28  vs. Oklahoma            W   2-1May 30  vs. LSU                 L   1-4May 30  vs. LSU                 W   4-1

GALINDO SETS THE TONE EARLY FOR BEARS: Junior 3B and first team All-American Vicky Galindo has record a hit as the first inning leadoff batter for the Bears in three of four WCWS games (two singles and a double), having only been stifled by Oklahoma. Galindo is also leading the California offense with a 12-game hitting streak dating back to May 9 against Washington. During that stretch, Galindo has tallied 19 hits, 10 runs, five doubles and two home runs.

CALIFORNIA'S WCWS OFFENSIVE LEADERS: The following lead the Bears through four WCWS games...

Batting       Vicky Galindo   .500Runs          Lindsay James      3Hits          Vicky Galindo      7              Lindsay James      7Doubles       Vicky Galindo      1              Haley Woods        1Triples       Jessica Pamanian   1Home Runs     Vicky Galindo      1              Roni Rodrigues     1Slugging %    Vicky Galindo   .786On-Base %     Vicky Galindo   .563Stolen Bases  Lindsay James      1              Jessica Pamanian	 1              Alyssa Smoke       1

BEARS' PITCHING MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Junior P Kelly Anderson (25-8) and sophomore P Kristina Thorson (28-4) continue to provide the backbone of California's success this season. The pair of 20-game winners, only the second such pair in Golden Bear history, have taken turns starting in the circle as well as backing each other up when the going gets tough. The only other pair of 20-plus win pitchers were Jocelyn Forest (27-9) and Nicole DiSalvio (21-8) in 2001. Below are the Bears' pitching statistics through four WCWS games...

          ERA   W-L  G  GS  CG   IP    H  R  ER  BB  SO  2B  3B  HR  B/AVGAnderson  0.50  2-0  3   1   1  14.0   8  2   1   3   9   2   0   0   .167Thorson   2.33  1-1  3   3   1  15.0  11  6   5   1  19   3   0   2   .193

SUTTON EXPLODES IN FOURTH WCWS GAME: Freshman RF Alex Sutton had been on a three-game hitting streak coming out of the Nebraska regional but in her first three career WCWS games had failed to record a hit. That all changed Sunday night in California's second game against LSU, as Sutton exploded for three hits and two RBIs. Two years ago it was a core group of freshman helping the Bears' to capture their first NCAA national championship, including current starting juniors Kaleo Eldredge, Jessica Pamanian, Chelsea Spencer, Kristen Bayless, Jessica Vernaglia and Kelly Anderson. As the only regularly starting freshman on this year's squad, Sutton appears ready to make her championship game debut with confidence and poise.

PAC-10 IN THE WCWS: Since 1991, the first year of an all Pacific-10 Conference Women's College World Series final, 11 of the past 14 NCAA national championship games have featured two Pac-10 teams. In the history of the WCWS, there have only been two years, 1983 and 1986, that a Pac-10 team was not participating in the national championship game.

Go Bears!!!

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