Feb. 10, 2004
Berkeley, Calif. -
THIS WEEK: Friday, Feb. 13 Notre Dame 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb.13 UNLV 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 LSU 11:00 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 DePaul 4:00 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 Cal Poly 12:30 p.m.
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 2 ranked Golden Bears enter the tournament portion of their season this Friday when they head to the UNLV-hosted tournament in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day tourney will see Cal squares off against, among others, 12th-ranked DePaul and 14th-ranked LSU.
THE FIELD: In addition to California, the UNLV Tournament features six other teams in the Top 25: No. 1 UCLA, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 12 DePaul, No. 14 LSU and No. 23 Oregon State. Rounding out the rest of the 15-team field are Hawaii, Notre Dame, UNLV, Cal Poly, Utah, Portland State, Wisconsin and UC Riverside.
CAL'S OPPONENTS: Looking to continue its unbeaten string, Cal holds a 2-0 series edge over Notre Dame (0-0). The last time the teams met, the Bears blanked the Fighting Irish, 6-0, at the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic. Against host UNLV (2-3), Cal holds an 8-5 series advantage. The teams last met at the 2003 Sacramento Capital Classic, where the Bears escaped with a 1-0 victory. Pitcher Jacquel Kerrigan, 2-2 with a 1.64 ERA, has started all but one game for the Running Rebels. Cal has never lost to LSU (3-2), going 3-0 against the Tigers. The two teams last met Feb. 16, 2002, with Cal a 2-0 winner. Leslie Klein leads the Tigers thus far with a .368 batting average, seven runs scored, and two home runs. DePaul (0-0) faces Cal for the first time since the two teams met in NCAA Regional play last season. Cal swept through its Ann Arbor, MI regional undefeated, beating DePaul 1-0 along the way. The Bears hold a 3-1 series edge over the Blue Demons. Cal is a lifetime 16-5 over Cal Poly (3-4). The Bears and Mustangs last played Feb. 23, 2002 where Cal won 4-1.
LAST YEAR AT UNLV TOURNEY: Cal defeated three of its five opponents in Las Vegas last season. The Bears racked up wins against Purdue (1-0), Texas Tech (7-0) and Portland State (5-0) and lost to Nebraska (6-1) and Hawaii (1-0). The loss to Hawaii resulted when a run scored on a California error in the third. Golden Bear senior Jen Deering and sophomore Kelly Anderson combined on a no-hitter despite the loss.
LAST WEEK AGAINST SAN JOSE STATE: Cal recorded two more impressive victories in a doubleheader win over San Jose State. In the first game Anderson logged seven shutout innings for a 3-0 Cal victory. Kaleo Eldredge had a two-run double to supply most of the offense. In Game 2, Kristina Thorson was on the hill in what proved to be an outstanding pitcher's duel. Thorson had a no-hitter through nine innings and the Bears finally broke through with a sac fly generated run in the tenth off the bat of Alex Sutton. Thorson did allow a hit in the final frame, but she quickly closed the door on the Spartans with her tenth strikeout of the game, for a 1-0 win.
PITCHING DOMINANT TO START THE SEASON: Anderson and Thorson have thus far formed one of the most dominant pitching duos in college softball this year. Both sport identical records of 3-0 and 0.33 ERA's after three starts apiece. Thorson holds the strikeout edge, averaging 1.10 K/IP, while Anderson's 0.71 K/IP is nothing to scoff at either. Hitters are hitting a microscopic .118 off Thorson and .162 off Anderson. It is clear that coach Diane Ninemire has found a formidable combination to carry the Bears deep into May.
CAL CHOSEN FOR NCAASPORTS.COM TEAM SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK: The Golden Bears have been chosen to be featured in NCAAsports.com Team Spotlight of the Week after their doubleheader win over San Jose State. The article will be published on NCAAsports.com by the end of this week.