March 22, 2006
Date: Friday-Sunday, March 24-26 Place: Berkeley, Calif.; Greenville, N.C. Scheduled opponents: Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Kent State, Buffalo and Penn State
ON DECK FOR THE GOLDEN BEARS
The No. 6/7 California softball team (24-2) travels to Greenville, N.C. for the Pirate Invitational (March 24-26), hosted by East Carolina. Cal is scheduled to face Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Kent State, Buffalo and Penn State. The Bears are the only ranked team in the field.
A LOOK AT THE PIRATE INVITATIONAL FIELD
Cal opens tournament play Friday against Coastal Carolina (15-13, 2-0 Big South) at 2 p.m. The Bears defeated the Chanticleers last season, 8-1, at the North Carolina Tournament.
Cal will follow with a contest against host East Carolina (19-11) at 6 p.m. It will be the first meeting between Cal and East Carolina. The Bears will play East Carolina a second time, Sunday, at 1 p.m.
Saturday, Cal opens against Kent State (8-9) at 1 p.m. The Golden Flashes come off of a 1-2 showing at the Buckeye Invitational, with a win over Youngstown and losses against Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Kent State went 25-27 last season, finishing fourth in the MAC east. The Bears last met Kent State in 2002, with Cal winning 10-2. The Bears hold a 2-0 all-time record against the Golden Flashes.
The Bears follow with a night game against Buffalo at 6 p.m. The Bulls (8-17) went 2-4 at the USF Speedline Invitational last week, with wins against Fordham and George Mason. Buffalo lost to Ohio, Dartmouth, Illinois-Chicago and Elon. It will be the first meeting between Cal and Buffalo.
The Bears open Sunday with a game against Penn State (14-2) at 9 a.m. The Nittany Lions, who compete in the Big 10 conference, went 2-2 in the NCAA Regionals last season and finished with a 36-23 overall record. The Bears are 1-0 all-time against Penn State after defeating the Nittany Lions in 2005, 8-0, at the North Carolina Tournament.
IN THE POLLS
The Bears held steady in both polls, continuing to be ranked No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, and No. 7 in the USA Today/NFCA poll for the third week in a row.