No. 6/8 Cal (4-0) Travels to UNLV Tournament

Feb. 15, 2006

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Date: Friday Feb. 17-Sunday Feb. 19
Place: Eller Media Stadium & Stephanie Lynn Craig Park, Las Vegas, Nev.
Opponents: Illinois, Cal State Fullerton, Northwestern, Wright State, UNLV

The No. 6/8 Cal softball team travels to Las Vegas, Nev., this weekend to face five teams, including No. 14 Northwestern, which will be the Golden Bears' first ranked opponent this season. The Bears (4-0) open UNLV Tournament play on Friday against Illinois (11:15 a.m.), followed by a game against Cal State Fullerton (3:45 p.m.). Saturday evening, Cal faces No. 14 Northwestern (6 p.m.) and Wright State (8:15 p.m.). Cal wraps up tournament play Sunday versus host UNLV (1 p.m.).The Bears' opponents this weekend have a combined record of 11-9, with six of those nine losses coming against teams ranked No. 12 or higher.

The Bears last faced Illinois in 2002, when Cal defeated the Illini 8-0 in five innings. Illinois (2-2) returns seven starters. Cal holds an all-time record of 14-22 against Cal State Fullerton. The Bears defeated Fullerton 6-0 in the teams' last meeting in 2004. The Titans went 30-21 in 2005 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Fullerton (2-3) returns eight starters. Two of the Titans' three losses have come against ranked opponents - No. 3 Arizona and No. 12 Oregon State.

The Bears faced both Northwestern and UNLV in 2005, with Northwestern winning 2-1 at the Capital Classic Tournament in Sacramento and Cal defeating the Rebels 2-1 at the UNLV Tournament. The Wildcats (3-2) return eight starters from the 2005 team that finished 42-18 overall (second in the Big 10). Northwestern's losses have come against No. 3 Arizona and No. 5 Texas.

The Rebels tallied a 44-19 record in 2005, advancing to the NCAA Regional round. UNLV (4-2) returns five position players and two pitchers from last year's squad. UNLV's losses have come against No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 11 Washington.

The Cal softball team came through its opening weekend undefeated, with wins against Oklahoma State, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Massachusetts. The Bears came from behind in their final three games of the weekend - defeating Cal Poly 3-1, UC Santa Barbara 3-1 and UMass 3-2. In the final three games, the Bears scored eight of their nine runs in the sixth inning or later, making for an exciting weekend. The Bears outscored their opponents 23-9 on the weekend. Cal's opening win against Oklahoma State was a six-inning, 14-5 decision.

The Bears got a big boost from their freshmen this weekend, with shortstop Carly Winger, pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz and outfielders Gina Leomiti and Morgan Siegel all making significant contributions.

Winger, who was nominated for Pac-10 and NFCA Player of the Week, started all four games and hit .417, going 5-for-12 with three runs, a triple and a home run. Wingers' home run helped the Bears come from behind and defeat UCSB 3-1. With the Bears down 1-0, Winger led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a homer to left field to tie the game. That marked the freshman shortstop's first career homer as a Bear. When Cal rallied to beat Cal Poly, 3-1, Winger had a key single which led to the Bears' third run.

Frankiewicz picked up her first collegiate win against Cal Poly. Over the weekend, she finished 1-0, pitching 13 innings while striking out 11.Leomiti and Siegel both played all four games, with Leomiti sparking the Bears' seventh-inning rally against Cal Poly. Siegel went 2-for-3 against UMass, keying a seventh-inning rally against the Minutewomen.

Cal opened the 2006 season ranked No. 7 in the Softball Top 25 and No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. After going 4-0 in the Bears' opening weekend, Cal moved up to No. 6 in the Softball poll and stayed at in the eighth spot in the USA Today/NFCA rankings.

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