Cal Softball Ranked No. 13 by ESPNU, 17th in the Preseason NFCA Poll

Jan. 20, 2009

BERKELEY - The California softball team earned a No. 13 preseason ranking by ESPNU and a No. 17 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll released on Tuesday.

ESPNU's college contributing writer Graham Hayes, who ranked the Golden Bears No. 13, noted, 'California has been to a World Series more times in recent years than the New York Yankees, so it's not as if the 2002 national champion and one-time Oklahoma City regular is in a sad state of affairs. But after stumbling off the pace in the Pac-10 recently, the Bears may be back in top form in 2009.' Read full ESPNU post here

Cal, who returns six starters (Sanoe Kekahuna, Valerie Arioto, Vernae Sevilla, Taylor Kelly, Gina Leomiti and Bernice Masaniai) along with pitchers Marissa Drewrey, Arioto and Brittany LaRosa, finished the 2008 season with a 43-27 mark, a trip to the NCAA Super Regional and No. 14 ranking in the final USA Softball/ Top 25 poll (No. 16 in the final USA Today/NFCA poll).

The Bears were paced by Arioto, who led the team in batting average (.324), runs (55), hits (71) and doubles (17) to earn All-Pac-10 and All-Pacific Region honors. Drewrey won 29 games in the circle with over 300 strikeouts en route to all-conference and all-region accolades. Cal set a team record with 279 RBI as well.

The 2009 squad also features depth, speed and seven newcomers - freshmen Frani Echavarria, Elia and Jamia Reid, Amy Bishop, sophomore Sati Houston, junior Shannon Thomas and senior Nikki Schrey. Letterwinners Carrie Arth, Shannon Houston and Lauren Bauer also return.

Cal begins the '09 campaign at the Cathedral City Kickoff, Feb. 6-8 in Palm Springs, Calif., and opens with the 13th-ranked Houston Cougars.

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