Cal Travels to Corvallis for Super Regionals

May 23, 2006

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Date: Fri., May 26, 4 p.m. / Sat., May 27, 1 p.m.
Place: OSU Softball Complex, Corvallis, Ore.

California's postseason journey will continue when the Bears travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the Oregon State Beavers in a best-of-three series in the NCAA Super Regionals. The Golden Bears are seeking their eighth consecutive trip to the Women's College World Series. Cal (47-12) arrives in Corvallis having won nine of its last 11 games, including a 3-0 sweep at the Iowa City Regional.

The 10th-seeded Bears will face seventh-seeded Oregon State (41-13) for the fourth time this season. Friday's Super Regional opener is scheduled for 4 pm at the OSU Softball Complex. It will be the first time Cal has met Oregon State in the postseason.

Cal, the top seed in the Iowa City Regional, went 3-0 in the opening weekend of NCAA play. The Bears opened with a 1-0 win against Illinois State, Friday. Cal then defeated Nebraska twice - 4-2, Saturday, and 6-1, Sunday.

Oregon State, the top seed in the Corvallis Region, defeated Nevada once and Baylor twice to advance out of the first weekend of NCAA play. The Beavers won 2-1 against Nevada, Friday, 5-3 against Baylor, Saturday, and 3-1 on Sunday to advance to the Super Regional.

Should the Bears win the Corvallis Super Regional, Cal would earn its eighth consecutive trip to the Women's College World Series, which will be held from June 1-7 in Oklahoma City.

Cal is making its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament this spring. Cal is 52-28 in regional play, and head coach Diane Ninemire is 49-23 in her 19 seasons of postseason regional action.The Bears first qualified for NCAA play in 1982. After a four-year hiatus, Cal returned in 1986, beginning a run of 20-straight tournament appearances, the longest active streak by any Pac-10 school.Cal's most frequent regional site has been Fresno State, where the Bears have gone 11 times (including last year). Cal has also hosted three times and been sent to Iowa (2006), Nebraska (2004), Michigan (2003), Florida State (2001), Massachusetts (1999), Sacramento State (1995) and Arizona State (1986).

After taking the Fresno State Regional in 2005, the Bears won two out of three at Baylor to earn a trip to the WCWS. Kelly Anderson threw a three-hitter and Cal took the opener, 8-0, in six innings. In day two, the Bears overcame two rain delays and a six-and-a-half hour postponement before the second game, which Baylor won, 4-1. In the elimination contest, the Bears scored all their runs in the first two innings, and Kristina Thorson pitched a one-hitter in the 7-1 victory.

The Corvallis Super Regional is just one of two pairings with two top-10 seeds competing. The other top-10 pairing features eighth-seeded Tennessee hosting ninth-seeded Michigan.

The Cal-Oregon State Super Regional is the only pairing with two in-conference opponents. The other seven Super Regionals feature non-conference competition. But Cal is no stranger to meeting Pac-10 foes in the postseason. Though this is the first meeting between the Bears and Beavers in the postseason, Cal has faced Pac-10 teams nine times in regional play and 18 times in the World Series.

All seven Pac-10 teams that made the postseason advanced to the Super Regionals. UCLA, the No. 1 overall seed, will host South Florida. Arizona - the No. 2 seed - will host 15th-seeded LSU. Arizona State, the sixth seed, will host Florida State. The seventh seed, Oregon State, hosts No. 10 seed Cal. No. 12-seeded Stanford will travel to fifth-seeded Alabama. No. 14 seeded Washington travels to third-seeded Texas.

The Bears went 2-1 against the Beavers this season, winning 2-0 on both April 8 and 9 in Berkeley, and falling 4-2 on April 28 in Corvallis, Ore.In the April 8 game, freshman Gina Leomiti hit a home run, and senior Kristina Thorson struck out 12. Leomiti led off the bottom of the third with a home run to right center, putting the Bears ahead 1-0. Cal scored again in the fifth inning when junior Alex Sutton hit an RBI single to drive in freshman Morgan Siegel, who had reached base on a single.

In the April 9 contest, Sutton hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 2-0 win. With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the seventh, senior Emily Friedman led off with a single to right center. Sophomore Chloe Kloezeman then entered the game as a pinch runner. Sutton followed with her third home run of the season, sending Kloezeman home. Sutton, who finished 2-for-3, also had a double in the second inning. Thorson struck out 13.

The Bears dropped a 4-2 decision at Oregon State (April 28). Cal scored twice in the third inning on consecutive RBI singles by seniors Haley Woods and Friedman. In the third, Sutton doubled to right center and then scored on Woods' single. Woods then scored on Friedman's hit.

The Beavers had taken a 1-0 in the bottom of the first when Cambria Miranda led off the inning with a home run. Miranda scored again in the third after reaching base on an error, bringing the score to 2-2. Oregon State then scored one run in the fifth and one in the sixth for the 4-2 win.

Seniors Kristina Thorson and Haley Woods stole the show in Iowa City in the first round of NCAA play. Woods led the Bears at the plate, going 4-for-7 (.571) with four RBI and three runs, including two home runs. Thorson posted a 0.33 ERA over 21 innings. She racked up 39 strikeouts through the three games, giving up just one earned run (three overall) on eight hits.

Sophomore Julie Meyer and senior Lindsay James also came through in the clutch. Meyer went 3-for-7 (.429), including a home run, while James was 3-for-8 (.375) with two runs.

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