No. 7/8 Cal Hosts Davis, Travels to No. 14 Washington, No. 1/3 UCLA

March 28, 2006

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Date:  Wednesday, March 29; Friday, March 31; Saturday-Sunday, April 1-2Place: Berkeley, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Los Angeles, Calif.Scheduled opponents: UC Davis, No. 14/14 Washington, No. 1/3 UCLA

The No. 7/8 California softball team (29-3) hosts UC Davis in a doubleheader on March 29 at Levine-Fricke Field. The first game starts at noon. The Golden Bears then open Pac-10 play, paying a visit to No. 14/14 ranked Washington (25-8), Friday at 1 p.m., and travel to No. 1/3 UCLA (28-2), facing the Bruins at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Cal opens conference play against some of the nation's top teams. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams are currently ranked in the nation's top 25, and six of the seven teams are in the top 10: UCLA (1/3), Arizona (1/4), Stanford (5/5), California (7/8), Oregon State (7/8), Arizona State (9/9) and Washington (14/14).

Pac-10 schools have won the NCAA title in 17 of the 24 years softball has been an NCAA sport. In 2005, all eight Pac-10 teams made the WCWS regionals for the fourth time ever.

Last weekend UC Davis finished 1-4 at the Stanford Invitational, with a win over Santa Clara and losses against Princeton, Illinois and Stanford (doubleheader). At the NIST (March 11-2), the Aggies went 2-2, with losses against Southern Illinois and Arizona State. UC Davis defeated St. Francis and North Dakota State. Cal has recorded wins against Santa Clara, Illinois, Southern Illinois and North Dakota State this season.

Cal is 10-6 all-time against the Aggies. The Bears and UC Davis last met in 1982, when Cal won 17-0.

Washington (25-8) picked up three wins last week, defeating Pacific twice - 2-0 in nine innings and 4-0 - and Nevada, 10-2. The Huskies have been defeated by the following opponents: Kentucky, LSU (twice), Mississippi State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Texas and Texas A&M.

Ashley Charters leads UW offensively. She is in the top three of the conference in the following areas - batting average (.459, third), hits (50, first), doubles (10, second to Cal's Haley Woods) and stolen bases (24, second). Pitcher Danielle Lawrie is second in the Pac-10 in innings pitched (124.1), batters struck out looking (52) and appearances (22). Cal's Kristina Thorson leads the Pac-10 in all three categories.

Cal went 2-1 against UW last season, with the Huskies winning the teams' final meeting 1-0 in Berkeley. The Bears are 27-23 all-time against UW.

Last weekend, the Bruins defeated Cal State Northridge, 1-0, and lost to Northwestern, 3-2. One of Cal's three losses this season came against Northwestern, Feb. 19, by a score of 3-0. UCLA defeated Fullerton earlier this season, 1-0. The Titans defeated the Bears, 1-0, Feb. 17.

The Bruins return several key players from the team that finished runner-up at the WCWS last season, including sophomore pitcher Anjelica Selden and seniors Caitlin Benyi and Andrea Duran. Selden was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year last season, and she leads the conference in ERA (.43), opposing batting average (.101) and strikeouts (201).

Cal went 2-2 against the Bruins last season, including 2-1 in the regular season and 0-1 at the 2005 Women's College World Series. UCLA won the WCWS game 2-1. UCLA leads the all-time series 68-17.

Cal won four of its final five games over the last two weekends of league play in 2005 and had a chance to win the Pac-10 Conference crown outright, but after a 2-1 loss to Arizona State on the final day of the regular season, the Bears had to settle for a four-way split of the title. Cal, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State all finished thePac-10 season at 13-8, though OSU received the conference's automatic NCAATournament bid by league tie-breaker rules. The split was Cal's best finish since taking the inaugural Pac-10 banner in 1987 and the best mark for a Diane Ninemire-coached team. Coupled with a second-place showing in 2004, the 2005 cochampionship gave Cal its best back-to-back conference showing. The 13-8 Pac-10 mark is also Cal's best conference record since going 20-8 in 1995.

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