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Cal Opens 2007 Season on Friday
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/05/2007

Feb. 5, 2007

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This Week:

Fri., Feb. 9 vs. Kansas - 2 pm Fri., Feb. 9 at SDSU - 7 pm Sat., Feb. 10 vs. UMass - 11:30 am Sat., Feb. 10 vs. UCSB - 7 pm

Follow Cal softball this weekend via GameTracker

QUICKLY: The tenth-ranked California softball team opens its 2007 campaign in the Campbell-Cartier Classic, hosted by San Diego State, at the San Diego State Softball Stadium, Feb. 9-10. The Bears begin tournament play vs. Kansas on Feb. 9 at 2 pm. California has not lost a season-opener since 1996. Cal is 8-1 all-time vs. Kansas, including a 1-0 victory the last time they met on Mar. 15, 2002. In fact the Bears are a combined 43-6 vs. their Campbell-Cartier Classic opponents.

CALIFORNIA IN THE POLLS: Cal is ranked No. 10 in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN/USA Softball Top-25 polls. Defending national champion Arizona earned 23 first-place votes to claim the top spot in poll. Arizona leads a contingent of seven Pac-10 teams ranked in the poll, including six in the Top-10 (UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford, and Cal). Cal was picked to finish in a sixth place tie according to the annual Pac-10 softball preseason coaches poll released in January. Both California and Washington garnered 18 points to earn the sixth place tie. Last season's NCAA Champion, Arizona, was picked to win the conference after collecting five first place votes and 47 points overall. UCLA was a close second, earning 45 points and three first place votes. Arizona State earned the third place nod with 35 points. Oregon State was picked fourth with 32 points, followed by Stanford (fifth) with 21 points. Oregon rounded out the poll with eight points.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN `07: The 2007 season poses a new challenge as lone senior Alex Sutton and key juniors Julie Meyer and Katie Vickers will be called upon to guide one of Ninemire's youngest squads with seven freshmen. "I'm really excited about the 2007 season," said an optimistic Ninemire, who returns to the dugout for her 20th season. "We have a wealth of experience returning and a corps of exciting young players. It should be a high-octane offense which possesses a balance of power and speed. Even though inexperienced, our pitching staff is very talented and will hopefully give us a good season."

Overall Cal returns seven position starters, including Sutton who was announced as one of 50 players on the Amateur Softball Association's Top-50 Preseason Watch List for its sixth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, released in January.

A No. 10 preseason Top-25 ranking (USA Today/NFCA) also highlighted the Cal softball program heading into the 2007 season.

This year's freshmen class features Brittany LaRosa, Shannon Houston, Christina Schallig, Marissa Drewrey, Vernae Sevilla, Bernice Masaniai and Taylor Kelly. Rounding out the rest of the team are juniors Erika Racklin and Jessica Moore, and sophomores Morgan Siegel, Carly Winger, and Gina Leomiti.

2006 IN REVIEW: California made its 21st consecutive appearance in an NCAA Regional and earned a No. 1 seed in the Iowa City Regional ... Cal's 21st straight appearance in the NCAA Regional is the longest active streak by a Pac-10 team ... 2006 also marked head coach Diane Ninemire's 19th consecutive NCAA Regional Appearance ... With its 1-0 victory over Illinois State, the Bears have won seven of their last eight opening round games ... California advanced to the Super Regional in Corvallis, Ore., but fell to Oregon State, 2-1, in the best-of-three series.

The 2006 Bears featured two All-Americans, three All-Pacific Region selections, six All-Pac-10 picks, and three Academic All-Pac-10 players. Both Haley Woods (first team) and Kristina Thorson (second team) were selected for All-American honors. Sutton, Thorson, and Woods landed spots on the All-Pacific Region first team, while six players earned All-Pac-10 honors, including: Thorson (first team), Woods (first team), James (second team), Sutton (second team), Emily Friedman (honorable mention), and Morgan Siegel (honorable mention). Jeana Gevas and Erika Racklin earned Academic All-Pac-10 honorable mentions, while Friedman earned both Academic All-Pac-10 and Academic All-American first team honors.

ON THE HORIZON: California returns to Berkeley for its 2007 home opener versus San Jose State on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 2 pm, before traveling to Las Vegas for a three-day tournament (Feb. 16-18) hosted by UNLV. The Bears face Mississippi State in the tournament opener and conclude with Utah State. Cal is 43-5 all-time vs. San Jose State, including a 3-0 victory over the Spartans last season.

SUTTON ON PLAYER of the YEAR WATCH LIST: Senior Alex Sutton of the California softball team was announced as one of 50 players on the Amateur Softball Association's Top-50 Preseason Watch List for its sixth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award released in January.

The 2007 Preseason Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I Conferences. A complete list of the players with photos and links to their collegiate bios can be found in the "College Corner" on the USA Softball website -- www.usasoftball.com.

Sutton hit a personal-best .352 last season, led Cal in on-base percentage (.464) and finished second on the team in slugging percentage (.497), RBI (36) and doubles (12).

The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 4. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a Top-25 finalist, but once the Top-25 is named the remaining finalist must be selected from that list.

Just days before the start of postseason play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 9. The final three finalists will be announced May 23 while the winner of the 2006 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2007 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

THE 2007 SCHEDULE: The 2007 California softball schedule has the Golden Bears traveling throughout the country, facing 18 opponents that made postseason appearances in the 2006 season. Of those 18 opponents, 14 finished the season ranked in top-25 national polls (ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA). The 2007 schedule also includes 15 home games at Levine-Fricke Field, including 11 Pac 10 Conference match-ups.

THE NINEMIRE FILE: No coach in the history of California athletics has won more games than Diane Ninemire (855). Since her first year in the dugout in 1988, Ninemire has continually taken the Bears to new heights as one of the winningest and most successful softball programs in the nation, especially over the past eight seasons. Under the guidance of Ninemire, California has earned a place among the nation's elite. With a national championship, nine Women's College World Series trips, and 19 straight NCAA Regional appearances to her credit, it is no wonder that Cal enters every season as a national contender.

Since the 1999 season, California is an impressive 412-146 (.739), including a 153-42 mark (.785) over the last three seasons. Since 1999, Ninemire's teams have won at least 48 games each year, including five 50-win seasons.

Since Ninemire's tenure at Cal, 34 All-America, 80 all-region, and 129 all-conference certificates have been issued to Golden Bear athletes. Two of Ninemire's former players - Michele Granger and Gillian Boxx - were four-time All-Americans and helped the United States to win a Gold Medal as members of the 1996 Olympic Team in Atlanta.

The 2006 campaign was no different in terms of success. With a roster that had lost four, four-year starters, Ninemire assembled a group that produced 48 wins, an appearance in the NCAA Super Regional, and a final No. 9 national ranking. The veteran coach logged her 850th career victory on May 13 with a 10-inning victory over Washington.

'07 CALIFORNIA PLAYER NOTES

#00 Brittany LaRosa (Fr., Diamond Bar, CA): The No. 2-ranked pitcher in the nation by Rivals.com in 2006 ... earned first-team all-league honors four times and was a four-time Sierra League MVP... also chosen first-team all-state, first-team All-Inland Valley and first team all-area four straight years

#2 Morgan Siegel (So., Anitoch, CA): Saw plenty of action at the top of Cal's lineup last season as a freshman ... made a big impact in Pac-10 play with at least one hit in 13 of the 17 Pac-10 contests played ... was sixth in the conference in batting average (.372) and 10th in on-base percentage (.435)

#3 Alex Sutton (Sr., Morgan Hill, CA): Sutton hit a personal-best .352 last season, led Cal in on-base percentage (.464, fifth Pac-10) and finished second on the team in slugging percentage (.497), RBI (36) and doubles (12)

#4 Shannon Houston (Fr., New Egypt, NJ): Selected the 2006 South Jersey Player of the Year ... led New Egypt HS to the 2006 state championship ... chosen to the all-state team ... set a team record with 30 stolen bases as a senior

#6 Julie Meyer (Jr., Yardville, NJ): Cal's everyday first baseman came on strong against Pac-10 opponents in 2006, ranking ninth in the league in slugging percentage (.466) during conference games ... started 60 games for the Bears

#7 Christina Schallig (Fr., Carson, CA.): Earned first team all-state honors as a junior and senior ... a four-time all-region choice by the Los Angeles Times ... also named first-team all-area, first-team all-city, first-team All-Dream Team and first-team all-league on four occasions

#8 Lauren Frankiewicz (So., Vienna, VA): A valuable member of Cal's pitching staff as a freshman, posting a 12-3 record during the regular season...first victory game against Cal Poly (2/11) as she struck out four, allowed four hits and one earned run...pitched 4.1 innings against Arizona, allowing three hits and one earned run for first Pac-10 victory (4/23)...threw a no-hitter against Mississippi Valley State (3/2)

#11 Marissa Drewrey (Fr., Oakdale, CA): Helped lead Oakdale HS to Division III Section titles in 2005 and `06 ... selected the Modesto Player of the Year as a junior and a senior ... voted league MVP three times ... selected team MVP from 2004-06 ... finished her high school career with 0.14 ERA and 1,004 strikeouts.

#12 Vernae Sevilla (Fr., Rancho Cucamonga, CA): Selected first-team all-league in both 2005 and 2006...a All-CIF first team as a junior and a senior...also a first-team all-state choice in 2006...earned first-team All-Inland Valley twice...named to the 2006 Louisville Slugger NFCA High School All-Region Team...Led her team to league titles in both 2003 and 2005

#13 Erika Racklin (Jr., Pittsburg, CA): Led Cal in stolen bases last season with 10, scored 18 runs and posted a .958 fielding percentage...saw action in 56 games (including 15 starts in center field)...appeared as a pinch-runner 35 times

#16 Katie Vickers (Jr., San Diego, CA): Took over third base duties after transferring from Georgia ... started 59 games and made 60 overall appearances ... first hit as a Bear came against Oklahoma State (2/10) when she went 2-for-4 with an RBI ... had three four-game hitting streaks, including one during Pac-10 play (4/29-5/6) ... had seven multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games

#17 Carly Winger (So., Orlando, FL): Made 60 starts as a freshman, mainly at shortstop ... jumped out to a quick start, scoring 11 runs with six RBI, three doubles and two homers in the year's first 12 games

#19 Jessica Moore (Jr., Santa Clara, CA): Transfer from Miami (Ohio) prior to the 2006 season ... played in 36 games, primarily as a pinch runner and pinch hitter ... scored 10 runs

#21 Bernice Masaniai (Fr., Stanton, CA): Selected as the 2006 MVP of the Garden Grove League...helped guide Rancho Alamitos High School to a co-league championship in 2006 as well...earned second team all-county honors as a senior

#23 Taylor Kelly (Fr., Santee, CA): Selected league Player of the Year as a senior ... led Santana HS to a 2005 league title ... Santana HS also captured a 2004 CIF championship ... earned all-county and all-league honors all four years

#45 Gina Leomiti (So., San Diego, CA): Made 53 starts and 56 overall appearances for the Bears in 2006, primarily as a designated player....had a pair of four-game hitting streaks (3/2426 and 4/14-19)...had four multi-hit games and two multi-RBI games


Cal Bears Softball


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