A year after earning a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, the Cal softball team (36-17) was placed in a regional at Ann Arbor, Mich., its 28th consecutive trip to the NCAAs — the longest active streak in the country.
The Bears open play Friday against Central Michigan (33-18) at 4:30 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN3. Also in the Ann Arbor regional are eighth-seeded Michigan (45-10) and Valparaiso (34-25).
The winner of the Michigan regional advances to play a best-of-three series against the winner of the LSU regional, featuring LSU, Central Connecticut, Louisiana-Lafayette and Northwestern State.
Cal is aiming for its third straight College World Series bid.
Eight Pac-12 teams were included in the 64-team NCAA field, topped by conference champion and No. 3 seed Oregon and fifth-seeded Arizona State. ASU opens at home against San Jose State.
Stanford also claimed a spot in the event, and will open against Tulsa at Lincoln, Neb.