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NCAA Softball Championship: Cal heading to Auburn Regional

Golden Bears will open against Notre Dame on Friday (11 AM on ESPN2). Host Auburn, defending national runner-up, is the 7th overall seed.

It’s off to Auburn, Alabama for the Golden Bears.
Cal Softball Twitter

The fate of the California Golden Bears Softball (30-22) was revealed on Sunday night after the 2017 NCAA Women’s Softball Championship bracket was unveiled. Bears will be heading to Auburn, Alabama this weekend for the Auburn Regional that will consist of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, East Tennessee State Bucs, and (of course) host Auburn Tigers in addition to Cal. The Regional will again be in the double elimination format. Last year, the Bears also had to travel to the state of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) for the NCAA Regional.

With a very solid RPI due to a tough schedule, Golden Bears probably cemented their postseason status with a long overdue victory over a ranked team (postseason bound Arizona State) last week, followed by a home series win over Oregon State (who also made the postseason) this weekend. This will be the Bears’ 3rd consecutive trip to the postseason and the 29th trip in 30 years (all in the head coach Diane Ninemire era). Bears last made the College World Series trip to Oklahoma City back in 2012. In the 12 total trips to the College World Series, Bears won it all back in 2002 - the first female team national championship in Cal history.

This Cal team will have a tough challenge in the Auburn Regional. Notre Dame (33-21) out of the ACC had a very solid year to finish with a RPI of 36. East Tennessee State (29-24) won the Southern Conference for the first time in program history; they have a RPI of 188 due to weak competition in their conference. Host Auburn is the 7th overall seed, but has a RPI of 3. The Auburn Tigers are also coming off a national runner up finish when they lost 2 out of 3 to Oklahoma Sooners in the championship final. Oh, the winner of this Regional will likely be playing the defending champs Oklahoma in the Super Regional.

Golden Bears actually have the 2nd best RPI in the Regional (24th overall). Cal rely on speed and defense to win most games, as they neither hit that many homers nor strike that many opponents out. Regardless, the Bears are experienced in both playing ranked teams (basically every week in the Pac-12) and playing at a Regional (2016 season ended in the Tuscaloosa Regional). Check back to CGB this weekend for a more comprehensive preview and gamethreads. All games will be on the ESPN Network of channels.