Jan. 24, 2006
The 2006 California softball team is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball pre-season poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA pre-season poll. Five other Pac-10 programs are ranked in the Top 25 by ESPN.com/USA Softball, while six others are included in the Top 25 by USA Today/NFCA.
UCLA, which was runner-up at the Women's College World Series in 2005, enters the season at No. 2/No.2 followed by Arizona (No. 5/No. 5), Stanford (No. 9/No. 7), Oregon State (No. 12/No. 15), Washington (No. 14/No. 13) and Oregon (NR/No. 22).
The Golden Bears return two-time All-American pitcher Kristina Thorson as well as fellow seniors Lindsay James (left field), Haley Woods (catcher) and Emily Friedman (infield/designated player). James and Woods earned Pacific Region and Pac-10 honors last season.
Cal opened the 2005 season as the No. 1 team in the nation. Last year, the Bears finished with a 52-15 record, advancing to the WCWS for the seventh consecutive year. It was the 10th overall appearance for Cal in the WCWS. The Bears took home a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time since 1987.
Cal opens its season at the Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State from Feb. 10-12.