Feb. 25, 2010
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., Feb. 26 Central Michigan Hardt Field, Bakersfield, Calif. 11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 27 Saint Mary's Hardt Field, Bakersfield, Calif. 11 a.m. Sun., Feb. 28 Cal State Bakersfield Hardt Field, Bakersfield, Calif. 2 p.m.
California (3-1), led by returning All-Pac-10 performer Mark Canha and a talented class of newcomers, enters the Cal State Bakersfield Tournament, Feb. 26-28, at Hardt Field in Bakersfield. The Golden Bears have been involved in four shutouts in four games this season, winning three home games versus Southern Utah (14-0, 22-0, 10-0) last weekend, before falling Wednesday to UC Davis (8-0) at Evans Diamond. Cal opens the CSB Tourney Friday at 11 a.m. versus Central Michigan (0-0), then battles Saint Mary's (1-2) Saturday at 11 a.m. before taking on host CS Bakersfield Sunday at 2 p.m. Cal was dominating, both offensively and defensively, against Southern Utah, outscoring the Thunderbirds, 46-0, with a .449 team batting average (57-for-127), including 19 doubles, two triples and three home runs. On the mound, Bear pitchers had 30 strikeouts and only three walks while limiting Southern Utah to 22 hits in 27 innings. On Feb. 19, freshman designated hitter Devin Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and an RBI double in his college debut. Rodriguez, from Newhall, Calif., got a single in his first collegiate at-bat, then helped propel the Bears' eight-run third inning with a grand slam, before hitting a double in his third at-bat. Cal also got solid pitching from sophomore right-hander Erik Johnson, who threw 7.0 innings, scattering six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Bears had two great performances on the mound in a doubleheader Feb. 20, first by freshman left-hander Justin Jones (7.0 innings, seven hits, no runs, one walk, nine strikeouts) in his college debut, and then by sophomore right-hander Dixon Anderson in game two (7.0 innings, four hits, no walks, eight strikeouts). Offensively, sophomore outfielder Chad Bunting hit a three-run homer and finished with five RBI in game one; while junior second baseman Brian Guinn, freshman third baseman Tony Renda, sophomore catcher Chadd Krist and Rodriguez all had three hits apiece in game two.
Cal has a 1-0 all-time record versus Central Michigan, a 119-58 all-time record versus Saint Mary's and will be playing Cal State Bakersfield for the first time in school history (CSUB second year as Division I program).
HEAD COACH David Esquer:
Esquer, 44, is in his 11th season at Cal with a career record of 290-266-2 (.521). He was the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after the Bears went 34-25 and played in the Baton Rouge Regional (1-2). In 2008, Cal was 33-21-2 and competed in the Long Beach Regional (0-2). Fifty two Bears have signed pro contracts under Esquer, including first round picks Brett Jackson (CF, Chicago Cubs, 31st overall), David Cooper (1B, Toronto, 17th overall) in 2008, Brandon Morrow (RHP, Seattle, fifth overall) in 2006 and Conor Jackson (INF., Arizona, 19th overall) in 2003. Esquer came to Cal after serving as top assistant at Pepperdine (1996-99), and No. 2 assistant at Stanford (1991-96). A shortstop at Stanford (1984-87), he started on the 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors. Esquer played professionally for four seasons with Baltimore, California and Milwaukee.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UP No. Pos. Player 2010 stats 6 2B Brian Guinn, Jr. .368, 4 RBI, 0 HR 19 LF Danny Oh, So. .375, 6 RBI, 0 HR 14 3B Tony Renda, Fr. .429, 1 RBI, 0 HR 5 1B Mark Canha, Jr. .250, 2 RBI, 0 HR 27 C Chadd Krist, So. .533, 6 RBI, 1 HR 33 DH Devin Rodriguez, Fr. .429, 6 RBI, 1 HR 25 RF Jimmy Bosco, Fr. .300, 1 RBI, 0 HR 15 SS Marcus Semien, So. .438, 2 RBI, 0 HR 2 CF Darrel Matthews, Fr. .384, 4 RBI, 0 HR 35 RHP Erik Johnson, So. (Fri.) 1-0, 0.00 ERA 23 LHP Justin Jones, Fr. (Sat.) 1-0, 0.00 ERA 48 RHP Dixon Anderson, So. (Sun.) 1-0, 0.00 ERA
NOTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN, SAINT MARY'S AND CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD:
The Central Michigan Chippewas, coached by Steve Jaksa (eighth year, 227-171-1, .570), open their 2010 season in Bakersfield. Top returning hitter for the Chippewas is junior outfielder Matt Fairman (.333, 4 HR, 38 RBI) and starter versus Cal is sophomore left-hander Trent Howard (5-2, 4.71 ERA in `09). In 2009, the Chippewas finished 28-30 overall and 12-15 in the MAC. The Saint Mary's Gaels, coached by Jedd Soto (sixth year at SMC, 108-153-2, .414), are 1-2, winning one-of-three versus San Jose State (L 7-6, W 12-4, L 3-1). Top hitter for the Gaels is senior infielder Michael Cipolla (.600, 0 HR, 3 RBI) and starter versus Cal is sophomore right-hander Kyle Barraclough (1-0, 4.05 ERA, five strikeouts in 6.2 innings). In 2009, the Gaels were 28-27 overall and 9-12 in the WCC. The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners, coached by Bill Kernen (second year at CSUB, 17-37, .315), are 4-0, winning defeating Air Force (8-4, 9-4, 13-3, 12-4) last weekend at home. Top hitter for the Roadrunners is senior infielder Brandon Boren (.600, 0 HR, 7 RBI) and tentative starter is junior right-hander Mike McCarthy (1-0, 3.00 ERA, eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings). In 2009, the Roadrunners were 13-37.
CAL AMONG PAC-10 STAT LEADERS:
As a result of the Bears' impressive performance against Southern Utah, Cal leads the Pac-10 in team ERA (1.75), hits (62) and doubles (21), and is third in team batting average (.400). Individually, sophomore catcher Chadd Krist is first in hits (8), second in doubles (3), fourth in total bases (16) and seventh with a 1.067 slugging percentage. Junior second baseman Brian Guinn is second in doubles (3) and third in stolen bases (2). On the mound, freshman left-hander Justin Jones is third in strikeouts (9) and strikeouts looking (3), while sophomore right-hander Dixon Anderson is fifth in strikeouts (5) and ninth with a .167 opponent batting average.
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE CANHA:
Junior Canha had a breakout year last season, leading the Bears with a .366 average (fifth in the Pac-10) and finishing with 17 doubles, 75 hits, 130 total bases and a .634 slugging percentage. He also hit 12 home runs with 43 RBI and a .444 on-base percentage. Canha was the March 3 Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 9-for-20 (.450) with seven runs, two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in Cal's wins over Vanderbilt (4-3), at Santa Clara (12-2) and three-game sweep at Long Beach State (11-8, 9-6, 6-3). He added a team-best 24 multiple hit and 11 multiple RBI games during the 2009 campaign. In Baseball America's 2010 College Preview, Canha is predicted to be the Pac-10 Player of the Year and first-team All-Pac-10. He is also considered the Pac-10's best pure hitter and the top defensive first baseman.
CAL POWER PITCHING DUO ANDERSON AND JOHNSON:
Sophomore right-handers Dixon Anderson and Erik Johnson both had successful summers pitching in the Northwoods League and were named the league's second and sixth top prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Anderson played for Green Bay (Wisc.) and was 3-2 with a 1.61 ERA and seven saves, recording 56 strikeouts in 56.0 innings over 23 appearances (five starts). He was selected to the South All-Star Team that competed in the Northwoods All-Star Game at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Last spring as a redshirt freshman, Anderson was 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA and three saves in 20 appearances (one start), recording 37 strikeouts in 43.0 innings. He was the May 11 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after notching a win and two saves (8.2 innings, eight hits, one run, eight strikeouts, 1.04 ERA) in a week. Anderson earned saves versus UC Davis May 5 and at UCLA May 8, forcing the Bruins into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth. He then picked up the win in relief May 10 at UCLA, throwing 6.2 innings with seven hits, one run, two walks and seven strikeouts. Anderson was a 2009 first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection as well. Johnson, the sixth-top prospect in the Northwoods League, was 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA, and 49 strikeouts in 59.0 innings as a starter for Alexandria (Minn.). Last season he was 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA and four saves (ninth in the Pac-10) in 19 appearances and nine starts as a true freshman. Johnson had 55 strikeouts in 67.1 innings and threw a complete game in his final outing May 22 versus USC. Other top appearances included a career-high seven strikeouts versus College World Series participant Arizona State, a April 17 win over Oregon (8.0 innings, six hits, one run, one walk, six strikeouts) and a March 29 victory over Washington State (6.0 innings, six hits, one earned run, no walks, four strikeouts). Starting the 2009 campaign as Cal's closer, he earned two saves at Long Beach State and a save in the season-opener versus UC Riverside.
BEARS' YOUTH PARADE:
Cal's baseball program's 2009 recruiting class has been selected the 24th best in the nation, and third-best in the Pac-10, by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Besides left-hander Justin Jones, slated as the Bears' Saturday starter as a true freshman, four other Cal newcomers - third baseman Tony Renda, designated hitter Devin Rodriguez, right fielder Jimmy Bosco and center fielder Darrel Matthews - are likely starters. Jones, a seventh round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, was 10-1 with 118 strikeouts and a 0.42 ERA as a senior at Oakdale (Calif.) High School, after going 12-0 with 124 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA as a junior. He was a two-time Cal Hi Sports All-State honoree and the 2009 Modesto Bee Player of the Year. Renda was a 2009 High School All-American and both San Mateo County and West Catholic Athletic Player of the Year. He ended his high school career as the Serra High School record-holder for career hits (152). Left-handed hitting Rodriguez batted .402 with 14 doubles, eight homer runs and 34 RBI last spring for William Hart High School. He set a school record with a 21-game hitting streak as a junior when he hit .384 with 13 doubles and 24 RBI. Bosco set a Jesuit High School batting record as a junior when he hit .505, earning Delta River League MVP and first-team All-Sac-Metro honors. Left-handed hitting center fielder Matthews, coached by former Arizona standout and Cal assistant Bob Ralston, was two-time first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League and a 2009 MaxPreps second-team all-state selection, batting .440 with 10 doubles, eight triples and nine stolen bases as a senior.
ADDITIONAL BEAR NOTES:
Former head coach Bob Milano, who guided Cal from 1978-1999 and led the Bears to three College World Series (third place finish in 1980), was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame Jan. 8, 2010...he joins Clint Evans and George Wolfman as Cal coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame...Evans led the Bears to the first-ever CWS title in 1947 and Wolfman guided Cal to the 1957 NCAA championship...the Bears have two junior infielders, Austin Booker and Brian Guinn, who are sons of former Cal standouts and pro players Rod Booker (1979-80) and Brian Guinn, Sr. (1981-83), while sophomore infielder Marcus Semien is the son of former Cal wide receiver Damian Semien (1990-93)...Guinn, drafted in the 10th round by the Chicago White Sox out of high school, is a .319 career hitter and is listed as the fastest runner in the Pac-10 by Baseball America...sophomore left fielder Danny Oh is another top returner for Cal...as a freshman Oh hit a home run in his first collegiate at-bat and went on to bat .303 with seven home runs and 35 RBI...he is the Pac-10's seventh top prospect for the 2011 draft by Baseball America...
*Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947, defeating former President George Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
*In 2009 the Bears had three players - CF Brett Jackson (first round Chicago Cubs), 2B Jeff Kobernus (first pick of the second round Washington Nationals), OF Blake Smith (second round Los Angeles Dodgers) - selected in the first two rounds of the Major League Amateur Draft.
*The Golden Bears have had two players become league MVPs in professional baseball - Jackie Jensen was the American League MVP in 1958 and Jeff Kent was the National League MVP in 2001.
*Cal is one of only 20 schools that have won NCAA Baseball titles and only one of 12 schools that have won more than one national championship (1947, 1957). The Bears have competed in five College World Series (1947, 1957, 1980, 1988, 1992).
*Geoff Blum, Cal's starting shortstop as a freshman on the Bears' 1992 College World Series team, had a game-winning homer for the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 Major League World Series.