Feb. 28, 2013
BERKELEY - Fri., March 1 vs. Baylor Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 12 p.m. CT
Sat., March 2 vs. North Carolina Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 12 p.m. CT
Sun., March 3 vs. Houston, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 11 a.m. CT
Mon., March 4 at Rice, Reckling Park, Houston, Texas 3 p.m. CT
Cal Enters Astros Foundation College Classic, Face Rice
Facing some of the nation's top teams, Cal (4-4) travels to Houston to compete in the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. The Golden Bears take on Baylor (3-5) Friday (March 1, 12 p.m. CT); No. 1-ranked North Carolina (7-0) Saturday (March 2, 12 p.m. CT) and Houston (6-2) Sunday (March 3, 11 a.m. CT). Cal then battles No. 13 Rice (6-2) Monday (March 4, 3 p.m. CT) at Reckling Park,the site of Cal's remarkable 2011 NCAA Houston Regional. At that regional, the Bears lost their opening game, 6-4, to Baylor, before winning four straight, including defeating Rice (6-3) and Baylor twice (8-0, 9-8) to advance to the NCAA Super Regional, won by Cal over Dallas Baptist, at Santa Clara. The current Bears are coming off a 1-3 weekend at No. 21 UC Irvine (L 5-3, W 8-6, L 4-3 in 10 innings, L 9-1). A highlight was junior right fielder Jacob Wark, also a tight end on the Bears' football team, tying a school record with two triples in the Feb. 22 contest. Wark is batting .321 with a .500 slugging and on-base percentage. Other top players are junior catcher Andrew Knapp, a first-team Preseason All-American in Baseball America, who won the Feb. 15 game versus Michigan with an RBI single; junior second baseman Mike Reuvekamp, won the Feb. 16 contest against the Wolverines with a game-winning hit; and freshman left fielder Brian Celsi, who knocked in the game-winning RBI Feb. 17 versus Michigan. Cal relievers were outstanding against Michigan, combining to throw 18.1 innings with one earned run, while striking out 12. Knapp is one of nine members of the 2013 squad who were part of the Bears' 2011 College World Series team. The Bears, under the direction of David Esquer (2011 NCBWA National Coach of the Year), also return All-American left-handers - Justin Jones, a freshman All-American in 2010, and Kyle Porter, a freshman All-American in 2011 - from a squad looking to return to postseason play after Regional appearances in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Knapp was outstanding this summer for Chatham in the Cape Cod League, batting .293 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 29 RBI. Standout junior first baseman Devon Rodriguez returns after sitting out the majority of 2012 with a right knee injury. Rodriguez was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 Houston Regional after hitting the game-winning RBI in Cal's come-from-behind victory over Baylor to advance the Bears to the 2011 Super Regionals. Another top returner is senior right-hander Logan Scott, who is on the watch list for the Collegiate Baseball Writers' Stopper of the Year Award after recording seven saves last season. An additional feature of the Cal baseball program this year is the announcement that the first-ever night game at Evans Diamond is slated for the Bears' Pac-12 opener, Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. versus USC.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UP
No. Pos. Player 2013 Stats 2 CF Derek Campbell, Jr. .241, 3 RBI, 1 HR 15 C Andrew Knapp, Jr. .303, 6 RBI, 1 HR 33 DH Devon Rodriguez, Jr. .400, 6 RBI, 0 HR 6 SS Chris Paul, So. .167, 4 RBI, 0 HR 14 3B Max Dutto, Fr. .167, 0 RBI, 0 HR 30 1B Mitchell Kranson, Fr. .154, 0 RBI, 0 HR 51 RF Jacob Wark, Jr. .321, 5 RBI, 0 HR 37 2B Mike Reuvekamp, Jr. .179, 1 RBI, 0 HR 25 LF Brian Celsi, Fr. .276, 1 RBI, 0 HR 23 LHP Justin Jones, Sr. (Fri.) 0-0, 7.36 ERA 16 LHP Kyle Porter, Jr. (Sat.) 0-0, 10.12 ERA 10 LHP Michael Thefanopoulos, Jr. (Sun.) 0-1, 8.44 ERA
HEAD COACH David Esquer:
Esquer, 47, is in his 14th season with a career record of 387-342-2 (.531). After his team was scheduled to be discontinued following the 2011 season, Esquer led the Bears to the program's first appearance at the College World Series since 1992, and on the eve of Cal's 7-3 CWS victory over Texas A&M June 21, 2011, was named the National Coach of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association. Esquer's award, which was voted on by the NCBWA Board of Directors, was selected from a list that included all Division I Conference Coaches of the Year and the coaches of the 16 NCAA Super Regional teams. The Bears' program was reinstated through fund-raising efforts and made its sixth all-time appearance in the CWS. Esquer led Cal out of the loser's bracket in the Houston Regional and defeated Dallas Baptist in the Super Regional to advance to Omaha. Cal entered the 2011 NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid out of the Pac-10. After a 6-4 loss to Baylor in the opening game, Esquer's team got past Alcorn State, 10-6, and No. 13 Rice, 6-3, to face Baylor for the regional championship. Cal forced the if-necessary game with an 8-0 shutout behind the strong pitching performance of freshman left-hander Kyle Porter (three hits, no runs, no walks and a career-high nine strikeouts). First baseman Devon Rodriguez earned Most Outstanding Player of the Houston Regional honors with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to lead Cal's dramatic come-from-behind 9-8 victory over Baylor to advance to the Super Regional against Dallas Baptist. The Bears, led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Tony Renda, swept Dallas Baptist, 7-0 and 6-2, in Santa Clara to advance to the CWS. It was the fourth appearance by Cal in the NCAA Tournament in Esquer's tenure, including three NCAA regionals in the last four years (the first time in school history). 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, and in 2010 the Bears were 29-25 and played in the Norman, Okla. Regional (0-2). Sixty four Bears have signed pro contracts under Esquer, including first round picks Brett Jackson (CF, Chicago Cubs, 31st overall) in 2009, 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.
ESQUER'S CAREER RECORD AT CAL 2000 25-28 2001 34-25 (NCAA Regional, Pac-10 Coach of the Year) 2002 29-27 2003 28-27 2004 25-31 2005 34-23 2006 26-28 2007 29-26 2008 33-21-2 (NCAA Regional) 2009 24-29 2010 29-25 (NCAA Regional) 2011 38-23 (College World Series, National Coach of the Year) 2012 29-25 Total (4-4 in 2013) 387-342-2 (.531)
NOTING ASTRO CLASSIC:
Baylor, coached by Steve Smith (19th year), are 3-5. Top hitter for the Bears is senior left fielder Nathan Orf (.516, 1 HR, 5 RBI). Baylor's starter for the Cal game is junior right-hander Dillon Newman (1-0, 2.79 ERA). No. 1-ranked North Carolina (6-0) is coached by Mike Fox (15th year). A top hitter for the Tar Heels is freshman outfielder Skye Bolt (.538, 0 HR, 8 RBI). Tentative starter versus Cal is sophomore right-hander Benton Moss (2-0, 0.73 ERA). The Houston Cougars, coached by Todd Whitting (3rd year at Houston), are 6-3, and led by freshman infielder Kyle Kirk (.318, 0 HR, 2 RBI), while Rice, coached by Wayne Graham (22nd year), is 6-2, and led by junior third baseman Shane Hoelscher (.353, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
Cal has a 3-1 all-time record versus Baylor, a 3-4 record versus North Carolina (last losing, 12-3, June 4, 2010 at NCAA Norman, Okla. Regional), a 1-3 all-time record versus Houston (last lost, 12-9 in 11 innings, March 17, 2010) and a 4-2 all-time record versus Rice.
KNAPP SELECTED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN:
Andrew Knapp, Cal's talented switch-hitting junior catcher, has been selected a 2013 first-team Preseason All-American by Baseball America. Knapp was outstanding this past summer in the Cape Cod League for Chatham, batting .293 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 29 RBI in 40 games. He joins Tony Renda (2012) and Brett Jackson of the Chicago Cubs (2009) as the Bears' recent first-team Preseason All-Americans. Knapp's performance in the Cape Cod League was his second straight outstanding summer. He had led the Northwoods League in hitting in 2011, batting .500 with five home runs and 33 RBI. Knapp has Golden Bear baseball heritage, his father, Mike Knapp, was a standout catcher for the Bears in 1985 and 1986. In addition, Andrew Knapp's younger brother, Aaron, is a left-handed hitting outfielder from Granite Bay High School who will be joining David Esquer's program in the fall of 2013 as a member of Cal baseball's 2012 signing class. Last season, Andrew Knapp was a valuable utility player for Esquer, seeing action at first base, catcher and in the outfield. He batted .265 in 54 games with 16 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI. As a freshman in 2011, he had the game-winning pinch hit in a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Utah in the second game of a doubleheader during his first collegiate day at Evans Diamond.
CAL NOTED BY BASEBALL AMERICA:
Besides Andrew Knapp being selected a first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America, the Bears were mentioned several times in the magazine's 2013 Pac-12 Conference Preview. Baseball America predicts Cal to make the postseason for the fourth time in the past six years. They list Knapp as the league's eighth-best pro prospect for the 2013 draft and mentions senior left-hander Justin Jones as a wily veteran who has been part of the Bears' rotation ever since his freshman year. The magazine also mentions junior left-hander Michael Theofanopolous' sharp breaking ball and the athleticism of sophomore shortstop Chris Paul and junior centerfielder Derek Campbell. As a freshman, Campbell filled in for an injured Tony Renda (pulled right quad) in the field for the 2011 Super Regional and CWS, hitting .389 (7-for-18, 2B, 3 RBI) and playing solid defensively.
LIGHTS AND NEW SCOREBOARD AT EVANS DIAMOND:
Evans Diamond, which has served as the home of Cal baseball since 1933, will receive a major upgrade with the installation of a new lighting system and scoreboard scheduled for later this spring. Eight 90-foot light poles will be erected around the field that will support nighttime television broadcasts, team practice and training. A modern electronic scoreboard, measuring 38 feet wide by 31 feet high, will also be installed in left-center field. The new scoreboard will offer scoring, game information, as well as fixed advertising and a full color video board measuring 24 feet wide by 14 feet high. Entering the 2013 season, Cal stands as the only Pac-12 school without permanent lighting at its baseball facility. With the recent launch of the Pac-12 Networks, the ability to play night games will give Cal maximum opportunity to be televised by the Networks. In addition, the upgrades will allow the Bears to be eligible to host NCAA Regional contests at Evans. The project has a budget of $2.25 million will be funded by a combination of donations and increased ticket and sponsorship revenue as a result of the upgrade. The project team is targeting completion of the lighting portion of the upgrade for the first-ever night-time competition at Evans Diamond on Thursday, March 28 for the Bears' 2013 Pac-12 opener against USC. The project is being designed by Brereton Architects of San Francisco and will be constructed under the direction of Overaa Construction of Richmond.
In what would have to be considered one of the best freshman pitching performances in Cal baseball history, left-hander Kyle Porter was 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA and two saves (four starts and 25 appearances) in 2011. Porter also had 57 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 57.0 innings and was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers. He had one of the biggest wins in school history when on June 21, 2011 he pitched 6.0 innings (seven hits, three runs, one walk, four strikeouts) versus Texas A&M to help give the Bears their first victory (7-3) in the College World Series since 1980. Porter was a member of the 2011 Houston Regional All-Tournament Team as well after throwing a career-high 6.2 innings with three hits, no runs, two walks and a career-high nine strikeouts June 5 versus Baylor in the Houston Regional.
RODRIGUEZ'S FAMOUS HIT:
Junior Devon Rodriguez will forever be known in Cal baseball lore for his clutch game-winning hit versus Baylor as he helped bring back the Bears from a 7-1 deficit by going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, including the game-winning RBI single with two outs and two strikes in Cal's 9-8 victory to clinch the 2011 Houston Regional. Rodriguez was named the Houston Regional Most Outstanding Player after going 8-18 (.444) with a six RBI during the Bears' five regional contests. His fame also coincides with KALX announcer Danny Friesinger's enthusiastic call of the winning hit that sent Cal to the Santa Clara Super Regional (Rodriguez's Postgame Highlight Video).
JONES' GEM OF A CAREER:
Senior left-hander Justin Jones has had a spectacular career for the Bears. As a freshman in 2010, Jones earned Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 honors, picking up 10 wins and throwing two shutouts and two complete games. In 2011, he was honorable mention All-Pac-10 after finishing 9-6 with a 2.93 ERA, and 81 strikeouts in a team-high 119.2 innings with three complete games. Last season, Jones picked up four wins, including a complete game shutout at Washington State. He earned one of the biggest wins in school history in a June 11, 2011 start versus Dallas Baptist at the Santa Clara Super Regional, throwing 6.0 innings with one hit, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts in a 7-0 shutout. Jones left prior to the seventh inning due to injuring in his left bicep, but still earned the win as the Bears won their first-ever Super Regional contest. He now stands tied for fifth on the Cal all-time career win list (23) and ninth on the Bears' career innings pitched list (298.1). Jones' 10 wins as a freshman are tied for sixth on Cal's all-time single-season list, and his 119.2 innings in 2011 are fifth on the Bears' single-season innings pitched list. For his career he has also thrown six complete games
SCOTT ON STOPPER LIST:
Senior right-hander Logan Scott has been selected as a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Preseason List for the Stopper of the Year Award. Last season, Scott was 4-2 with seven saves in 24 appearances. His seven saves were sixth in the Pac-12. A highlight for Scott in 2012 was throwing a career-high 5.1 innings and picking up the win in Cal's 5-4, 18-inning victory May 25 at Stanford - the longest game in Cal baseball history. In 2011, Scott was instrumental in the Bears winning their first-ever NCAA Super Regional game, coming in relief of an injured Justin Jones and shutting down Dallas Baptist, earning the save (3.0 innings, two hits, no runs).
Junior right fielder Jacob Wark has had an impressive beginning to the 2013 season, tying a school record with two triples in the Feb, 22 game at UC Irvine. Wark, who also is a tight end on the Cal football team, is doing double duty this spring as he is involved in spring football practice as well. After seeing limited action in his first two baseball seasons (14 games), he has started all eight games this year, batting .321 (9-for-28) with a double, two triples, five RBI and a .500 on-base and slugging percentage.
BEAR POSTSEASON NOTES:
Cal is now 43-25 (.632) in NCAA postseason games all-time, including 7-3 in 2011 (1-2 in the CWS, 2-0 in first-ever NCAA Super Regional and 4-1 in the NCAA Houston Regional). Head coach David Esquer has eight postseason wins, passing George Wolfman for second on the school's all-time list behind Bob Milano's 20 postseason wins. The last time the Bears won six postseason games in a row was 1957, and the seven postseason wins is the most for a Cal squad since the 1980 team had eight. Cal's 38 victories in 2011 were the most wins since the Bears' 1988 CWS squad won 40 games.
CAL IN THE WORLD SERIES:
With the 7-3 victory over Texas A&M on June 21, 2011, the Bears won their first College World Series game since defeating Miami, 4-3, on June 12, 1980. When Cal played Virginia in front of a crowd of 25,833 on June 23 at TD Ameritrade Park, it was the largest crowd to ever watch the Golden Bears play baseball. Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947 under head coach Clint Evans, defeating former President George Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Evans was instrumental in establishing the CWS. The Bears won the national title again in 1957 under head coach George Wolfman with a 1-0 victory over Penn State. Cal also placed third in the 1980 World Series under head coach Bob Milano, and was seventh in the CWS in 1988 and 1992 under Milano. 2011 senior left fielder Austin Booker's father, Rod, was the starting shortstop on the Bears' 1980 squad, while Major League star Jeff Kent was a member of Cal's 1988 College World Series team. Similar to the 2011 season in which they faced the tournament's No. 1 seed (Virginia), the Bears played the top seed in 1992, Miami, losing to the Hurricanes, 4-3, in 13 innings.
CAL BASEBALL ON FACEBOOK:
Cal baseball fans can enjoy videos, photos and other Golden Bear highlights on the official Cal Baseball Facebook page Cal Baseball on Facebook
Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947, defeating former President George H.W. Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Bears' program began in 1892 and is now in its 121st season. George Bush, Sr., sent a letter of congratulations to David Esquer following Cal's 2011 College World Series appearance.
The Golden Bears have had two players go on to 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 14 schools that have won more than one national championship (1947, 1957). The Bears have competed in six College World Series (1947, 1957, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2011).
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.
Cal has had three coaches selected to the ABCA Hall of Fame - Clint Evans (1930-54), who led the Bears to the first College World Series title in 1947; George Wolfman (1955-73), who led Cal to the 1957 CWS title; and Bob Milano (1978-99), who led the Bears to three CWS appearances (1980, 1988, 1992) , including a third-place finish in 1980.