Cal Softball to Face Hofstra in NCAA First Round
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  06/21/1999
The California softball team has received its 14th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament and will play Hofstra in a first round regional game Thursday in Amherst, Mass.

The Bears, 44-19 overall and ranked 17th in the country, are making their first trip outside the state of California for regionals since going to Arizona State in 1986. Hofstra is 40-17 and earned a spot in the NCAA field by winning the America East Conference.

Southwestern Louisiana (51-9) is the top seed in the region and the Ragin' Cajuns will face Manhattan (23-23) in the first round. The other opening round contest features host Massachusetts (41-8) against Long Island (27-21).

The NCAA Tournament features 48 teams seeded into eight regionals of six teams each. The regionals are double-elimination, and will be played on campus sites May 20-23. The winner of each regional advances to the College World Series May 27-31 in Oklahoma City.

The Cal-Hofstra game will be at 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, while USL and Manhattan will play at 12 noon and UMass and Long Island will play at 2:30 p.m.

"We're excited to play some teams we haven't played this year," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "Still, I think this is going to be a hard regional. If we play the way we've played the last two weeks, I think we can play with anybody in the country. We're looking forward to matching up with these teams."

Cal enters the NCAA regional having won eight consecutive games and 10 of its last 11 to post its highest victory total since 1992. In the last 10 days, the Bears have swept Sacramento State, Oregon State, Oregon and Stanford in doubleheader action.

"I think we're peaking at the right time," Ninemire said. "Everything seems to be coming together for us. I'm hoping we can carry that momentum through this week and into the regional."

The Cal-Hofstra matchup will be the first ever between the schools. The Bears are 7-0 all-time against UMass, but haven't played the Minutewomen since 1992. The only other team in the regional Cal has met previously is USL. The Bears are 3-0 against the Ragin' Cajuns, last defeating them, 2-0, in the first round of the 1996 College World Series.

Cal is 22-29 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 18-23 in regional competition. The Bears have advanced to the NCAA College World Series three times, in 1986, '92 and '96.