Jan. 15, 2004
Berkeley, Calif. - The 2003 NCAA runner-up California Golden Bears will start 2004 exactly the way they ended 2003. Cal was picked second in ESPN.com/USA softball's pre-season poll behind national champion UCLA. The Bruins received 18 first-place votes, while the Bears were the only other school to receive any, with one.
Cal won the national championship in 2002 when the Bears beat Arizona. Cal reached the championship game again last year, but lost, 1-0, to UCLA, en route to a 49-20 record.
The Pac-10 was well represented in the poll. Four out of the top five hail from the conference, including No. 3 Arizona and No. 5 Washington. Also in the top 25 are No. 12 Stanford, No. 13 Oregon, No. 19 Arizona State and No. 23 Oregon State.
The Bears kick off their season Saturday, Jan. 31, when they host the Sacramento State Hornets for a double header. Cal enters Pac-10 play on Friday, April 2, when Oregon comes to Berkeley.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll is voted on by NCAA Division I coaches representing 15 different regions and 12 different collegiate conferences. The poll is also voted on by selected softball media members.