No. 6/7 Cal Travels to Pirate Invitational in N.C.

March 22, 2006

Date: Friday-Sunday, March 24-26Place: Berkeley, Calif.; Greenville, N.C.Scheduled opponents: Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Kent State, Buffalo and Penn State

The No. 6/7 California softball team (24-2) travels to Greenville, N.C. for the Pirate Invitational (March 24-26), hosted by East Carolina. Cal is scheduled to face Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Kent State, Buffalo and Penn State. The Bears are the only ranked team in the field.

Cal opens tournament play Friday against Coastal Carolina (15-13, 2-0 Big South) at 2 p.m. The Bears defeated the Chanticleers last season, 8-1, at the North Carolina Tournament.

Cal will follow with a contest against host East Carolina (19-11) at 6 p.m. It will be the first meeting between Cal and East Carolina. The Bears will play East Carolina a second time, Sunday, at 1 p.m.

Saturday, Cal opens against Kent State (8-9) at 1 p.m. The Golden Flashes come off of a 1-2 showing at the Buckeye Invitational, with a win over Youngstown and losses against Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Kent State went 25-27 last season, finishing fourth in the MAC east. The Bears last met Kent State in 2002, with Cal winning 10-2. The Bears hold a 2-0 all-time record against the Golden Flashes.

The Bears follow with a night game against Buffalo at 6 p.m. The Bulls (8-17) went 2-4 at the USF Speedline Invitational last week, with wins against Fordham and George Mason. Buffalo lost to Ohio, Dartmouth, Illinois-Chicago and Elon. It will be the first meeting between Cal and Buffalo.

The Bears open Sunday with a game against Penn State (14-2) at 9 a.m. The Nittany Lions, who compete in the Big 10 conference, went 2-2 in the NCAA Regionals last season and finished with a 36-23 overall record. The Bears are 1-0 all-time against Penn State after defeating the Nittany Lions in 2005, 8-0, at the North Carolina Tournament.

The Bears held steady in both polls, continuing to be ranked No. 6 in the Softball poll, and No. 7 in the USA Today/NFCA poll for the third week in a row.

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