No. 7/8 Cal Opens Season at SDSU Tournament

Feb. 8, 2006

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Date: Friday Feb. 10-Sunday Feb. 12
Place: San Diego State Softball Stadium, San Diego
Opponents: Oklahoma State, San Diego State, Cal Poly, UCSB and UMass

The No. 7/8 Cal softball team opens the 2006 season at the Campbell Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State. The Golden Bears start tournament play Friday with games against Oklahoma State and San Diego State. Saturday, Cal faces Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The Bears wrap up tournament play against Massachusetts on Sunday.

Oklahoma State finished eighth in the Big 12 last season. The Cowgirls ended their season with a 35-24 record and loss to Arizona in the NCAA Regionals. San Diego State returns seven starters from the 2005 squad that finished 27-30 and 4-16 in Mountain West Conference play (sixth). Top returners for the Aztecs include senior pitcher Celena Velasquez. Cal Poly went 35-16 (15-6 Big West) in 2005 and returns 10 starters from the group. UC Santa Barbara went 26-22 during the 2005 season and finished fifth in the Big West (9-12) The Gauchos welcome back nine starters from last year's team. Massachusetts was runner-up in the Atlantic 10 conference last season. The Minutewomen posted a 37-16-1 finish (13-3 conference).

The Bears had the challenge of re-loading following the graduation of two All-Americans and four, four-year starters. Thanks to skilled recruiting, Cal welcomes eight new players, including three sophomore transfers and an impressive freshman class.

The Bears' infield got a boost thanks to the three transfers: Chloe Kloezeman (Ole Miss), Jessica Moore (Miami of Ohio) and Katie Vickers (Georgia). All three players are vying for starting positions in the infield, and both Vickers and Kloezeman were named to the All-SECfreshman team. All three are California natives.

The freshmen include catcher Heather Camara (Walnut Creek, Calif. / Deer Valley HS), pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz (Vienna, Virginia / James Madison HS), Gina Leomiti (San Diego, Calif. / Mira Mesa HS), Morgan Siegel (Antioch, Calif. / Deer Valley HS) and Carly Winger (Orlando, Fla. / Luke Highland Preparatory).

Last year, the Golden Bears made their seventh consecutive Women's College World Series appearance, and they expect nothing short of another trip this season. With veterans Lindsay James (LF), Haley Woods (C) and pitcher Kristina Thorson (P) anchoring Cal, the Bears won't be short of talent, even with all the new faces in the field.

The 2006 Bears return four starting position players and one pitcher from last year's 52-15 squad that finished tied for first in the Pac-10 and posted a 6-2 record in the Regionals and Super Regionals before being eliminated from the WCWS. The 2006 Bears will feature one All-American and three All-Pacific Region players.

Thorson is coming off of her second straight 20-win campaign. She will split time with freshman Lauren Frankiewicz, who proved herself a solid pitcher in the fall season.

James and Woods will continue to be Cal's go-to hitters. Woods led Cal in RBI last season (58), while James paced the squad with a .439 batting average and hits (65).

Other returning starters include junior Alex Sutton (RF), sophomore Julie Meyer (1B) and senior Emily Friedman (DP/UT).

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