May 12, 1997
Cal to Meet Fresno State in First Round of NCAA Softball Tournament
Cal earned its 12th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament and will play at Fresno State in its regional opener Friday night, May 16, at 7:30 p.m.. The Golden Bears (34-24) are seeded fourth in the double-elimination regional field, while Fresno State (49-12) is the top seed. In addition, second-seeded Cal State Northridge (34-20-2) will meet third-seeded Long Beach State (43-18-1) in the other first-round game.
Although Friday's game marks Cal's first matchup with Fresno State this year, the Bears are very familiar with the Bulldogs in postseason play as the two teams are in the same regional for the eighth time in the last 11 years. Cal is also making its seventh visit to Fresno for an NCAA regional. Last year in Fresno, Cal upset the top-seeded Bulldogs to advance to the College World Series.
The Bears have not played any of their regional opponents in 1997, but they have long histories with all three schools. Cal and Fresno State have met 89 times previously, with the Bulldogs owning a 55-34 series lead. Cal has a 10-9 all-time record against Long Beach State, and the Bears are 7-8 vs. Cal State Northridge.
The winner of the regional, which concludes with the championship game May 18, advances to the College World Series to be played May 22-26 in Oklahoma City.
In addition to Cal, four other Pac-10 teams were invited to the 32-team tournament. Arizona and Arizona State will both play in a regional in Tucson, Ariz., while Washington will travel to Norman, Okla., and UCLA will play in Lafayette, La.