Jan. 27, 1997
Cal Opens 1997 Against Santa Clara, San Jose State
THIS WEEK: Santa Clara Broncos (0-0) at California Golden Bears (0-0), Saturday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m., Strawberry Field
San Jose State Spartans (0-0) at California Golden Bears (0-0), Sunday, Feb. 2, 1 p.m., Strawberry Field
Cal, which is coming off a tie for fifth in the 1996 College World Series, opens the 1997 with three doubleheaders at home, beginning with games against Santa Clara and San Jose State this weekend. The Bears also host St. Mary's Feb. 8 at Strawberry Field. Last year, Cal swept three games from Santa Clara, improving its all-time mark to 50-0 against the Broncos. San Jose State defeated Cal, 2-1, in their only meeting in 1996, but the Bears own a 26-4 series lead.
HEAD COACH DIANE NINEMIRE: Diane Ninemire, the winningest softball coach in Golden Bear history, is in her 10th year as head coach at Cal with a school and career record of 372-199. The 1991 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, she has led Cal to nine NCAA Tournament berths and a pair of College World Series appearances (1992, '96). Ninemire is assisted by John Reeves, who is in his fourth season, and Tonja Hadley, who is in her first.
BEARS TIE FOR FIFTH AT '96 WORLD SERIES: Making its first appearance in the College World Series since 1992, the Cal softball team tied for fifth in the eight-team field in Columbus, Ga. The Bears entered the tournament seeded fifth, but defeated fourth-seeded Southwestern Louisiana, 2-0, in the first round. A five-run rally in the seventh inning fell short during the Bears next game against No. 1 Washington, as Cal fell, 9-7. The Bears then played Iowa in an elimination game, and the Hawkeyes tallied a lone run in the first inning and held on for a 1-0 victory. Cal tied for fifth for the second time (also '92); the Bears tied for third in their other CWS appearance in '86.
CAL WINS REGIONAL AT FRESNO STATE: On May 17-19, 1996, Cal made its sixth trip in the last 10 years to Fresno State for an NCAA regional. And for the first time in their history, the Bears emerged a regional champions on the Bulldogs home field, beating then-No. 19 Long Beach State, 4-1, and sweeping host and then-third-ranked Fresno State, 1-0 and 2-1 in 9 innings. P Whitney Floyd tossed complete-game victories in each contest, while LF Karen Bonini slapped the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth of the championship game, scoring SS Katie May from second base.
BEARS PICKED FOURTH IN PAC-10: Despite a preseason national No. 4 ranking, the Pac-10 coaches predicted Cal to finish fourth in the conference this season. Defending NCAA champion Arizona is the favorite, followed by UCLA, Washington, Cal, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State.
BEAR NOTES: Cal returns 14 of 15 letterwinners from last year's team ... three freshmen have joined the team for 1997: IF Lisa Iancin, IF Paige Bowie, OF Meredith Mollner ... Bowie, also a member of the Cal women's basketball team, will start playing softball in March ... the Bears were ranked sixth in the final 1996 poll ... 1B Melanie McCart needs one home run to tie Pam Reinoehl (1980-83) for the Cal career record with 19 ... P Whitney Floyd has earned All-America honors each of the last two seasons ... Floyd was also voted first team All-Pac-10 in 1996, while 3B Jessica Parker and 1B Melanie McCart were on the second team ... Cal was the only team in the country last year to beat all three schools (Arizona, UCLA, Washington) that held the No. 1 ranking during the season ... two former Cal players -- Michele Granger and Gillian Boxx -- were members of the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the Olympics last summer, while former Cal pitcher Lisa Martinez played for the Puerto Rican Olympic team.