NO. 1 CALIFORNIA Golden Bears
Overall Record: 58-6
Conference: Pac-12 (1st, 18-3)
   Head Coach: Diane Ninemire

vs.
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NO. 2 ALABAMA Crimson Tide
Overall Record: 57-7
Conference: Southeastern (1st, 23-5)
   Head Coach: Patrick Murphy

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN THE GOLDEN BEARS AND CRIMSON TIDE MEET

Venue: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN / ESPN3 
Announcers:
   Beth Mowins (play by play)
   Jessica Mendoza (color)
   Holly Rowe (field reporter)

Who to Watch for the Golden Bears: P/UT Valerie Arioto, .368, 63 R, 23 HR, 60 RBI; P Jolene Henderson, 38-3, 1.22 ERA, 324 K; 2B Jace Williams, .269, 8 HR, 50 RBI

Who to Watch for the Crimson Tide:  OF Kayla Braud, .353, 58 R, 19 RBI, 41 SB; 1B Cassie Reilly-Boccia, .359, 9 HR, 48 RBI; P/UT Jackie Traina, 38-2, 1.71 ERA, 324 K, .305, 9 HR, 32 RBI 

IN THE 2012 POSTSEASON

California
Regional
    def. Iona, 8-0 [ Box ]
    lost to Arkansas, 3-2 [ Box ]
    def. Boston U., 8-0 (6 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 10-2 (5 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Arkansas, 7-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. No. 16 Washington, 5-0 [ Box ]
    def. No. 16 Washington, 2-0 [ Box ]
Women’s College World Series
    def. LSU, 5-3 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]
    lost to No. 4 Oklahoma, 3-0 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]
    def. Oregon, 6-3 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

Feature: Two Hendersons better than one for Cal

Alabama
Regional
    def. UT Martin, 5-1 [ Box ]
    def. South Alabama, 5-2 [ Box ]
    def. South Alabama, 6-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. Michigan, 4-1 [ Box ]
    def. Michigan, 4-3 [ Box ]
Women’s College World Series
    def. No. 7 Tennessee, 5-3 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]
    def. No. 3 Arizona St., 2-1 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

Feature: Getting to the core of Bama's strength

Rosters: California | Alabama Schedules: California | Alabama
More Postseason: National Statistics Scoreboard  Interactive Bracket  Video  Photos

No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup sets spot in championship series

It's the one everyone has been waiting for, only it's coming a day early. 

Top-seeded California was knocked into the loser's bracket on Friday, suffering a 3-0 setback against hot-handed Oklahoma, but battled back in a Pac-12 series showdown to stay alive. The Bears held off No. 11 seed Oregon 6-3 night to set up a date with No. 2 seed Alabama, which has a 2-0 record to open WCWS play for the second consecutive year. 

California vs. Alabama
 
Batting Average .313 .315
Home Runs 83 94
Runs Per Game 6.6 6.9
Stolen Bases 94 139
ERA 1.29 2.12

It was only 12 months ago when the Crimson Tide had yet to win an opening game in Oklahoma City. The Tide dropped the opener in their first six trips to the WCWS before cruising into Sunday play unscathed in 2011. Then Florida got out the bats and raced by Bama and into the championship series, winning twice.

Now it's California, the top dog in sport's best league, that will try to take two games from the Tide on Sunday. While not the way they wanted to get to this point, the Golden Bears have shown they can play well with their backs to the wall.

"They've had that mentality all the way through this year," Cal coach Diane Ninemire said Saturday night. "They've just had tremendous heart, great will, and they've just been really resilient and that's their character. And that's what made them the team they are this year, and hopefully they're going to come out [Sunday] and be more resilient."

It will start with the offense, and the pop in the bats has come from all over the lineup. Late Saturday, it was Jace Williams with a three-RBI home run and Britt Vonk pushing across a pair of runs to keep the Golden Bears alive. But Cal will need its biggest bat to regain form for it to get by Alabama and pitcher Jackie Traina, who posted her school-record 39th win of the season on Friday night with the 2-1 victory against Arizona State.

That means another top hurler for Valerie Arioto to face. California's national player of the year finalist, Arioto is hitting for average (.368) and power (23 HR) on the season, but has gone just 0 for 6 with three strikeouts in Oklahoma City. She is still drawing respect from opposing pitchers, earning four walks to bring her nation-leading total to 91.

No team is hitting well in Oklahoma City, but the Tide have done the best, batting around at a .245-clip. Cal is third at .221 but also leads the field as Golden Bears have struck out 29 times. Alabama players have struck out the fewest times at 12, but now face pitcher Jolene Henderson who owns a 1.22 ERA on the year and a 38-3 record. 

                                                                                                               -- Jerry Trickie, NCAA.com

CALIFORNIA QUICK HITS
► California is fifth in team ERA (2.80) among the teams in OKC, and is last among the four remaining teams. Alabama is third at 2.00.

► Victoria Jones has been the Golden Bears' top hitter so far in the WCWS. She is hitting .333 (3 for 9) with one home run in three games. 

► Jolene Henderson has given up six extra-base hits in three WCWS games, the most of any pitcher, including four doubles. Her .232 opponents' batting average is the highest of any remaining pitcher.

► Cal improved to 31-0 on the season when scoring in the first inning. It also stayed perfect at 38-0 when scoring six or more runs and 22-0 when hitting two or more home runs. 

► The Golden Bears have been potent on offense, scording five or more runs in seven postseason games.

ALABAMA QUICK HITS
► Jennifer Fenton has a 12-game hitting streak, including every game of the postseason, and has reached base in 15 consecutive games. In six NCAA tournament games this year, Fenton is batting .609 (14 for 23) with eight runs and six RBI.

► This is Alabama’s fourth consecutive appearance in the WCWS semifinals, and second consecutive as an undefeated team.

► Jackie Trania had 11 strikeouts in Friday’s win against Arizona State, the 11th time this season she fanned 10 or more batters in a game. 

► Alabama is riding a 10-game winning streak, tied with Oklahoma for the longest active streak in the country.

► Senior Amanda Locke’s 18th home run of the season in the sixth inning against ASU was her first RBI since May 10 vs. Mississippi State, a span of nine games. She had recorded RBI in 10 of the 12 games prior to that date.