May 31, 2010
BERKELEY - The Cal baseball team (29-23, 13-14) has received an at-large berth into the 2010 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament and will compete in the Norman, Okla. Regional, hosted June 4-7 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Golden Bears enter the Norman Regional as the No. 2-seeded team and will face No. 3-seeded North Carolina (36-20), Friday, June 4 at 7 p.m. Central Time. It is Cal's third NCAA regional berth since 2001 (2001, 2008, 2010) under head coach David Esquer, and it is the program's 11th NCAA regional berth all-time.
The other two teams in the Norman Regional include No. 1-seeded Oklahoma (44-15) and No. 4-seeded Oral Roberts (35-25), who will play at 1 p.m. June 4.
Eight teams total were selected from the Pac-10 (Arizona State, UCLA, Washington State, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona), with Arizona State and UCLA being No. 1 seeds and hosting NCAA regionals. The Bears join Washington State and Stanford as No. 2 seeds, while Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona are No. 3 seeds.
"Making a regional was something I felt our team deserved," said Esquer, who is in his 11th season directing the Bears. "And having eight teams selected from the Pac-10 shows the respect I think our conference deserves. This years' team is one of the youngest teams I have ever fielded, but it is the hardest working team I have ever fielded. It just feels great to have them be rewarded for their efforts. This past weekend at Oregon we had to prove that we could win again (after going through a losing streak), and we did (winning two of three over the Ducks in Eugene)."
The eight Pac-10 teams are the most ever in the conference's history. In addition, it marks the best percentage of 80 percent (eight of 10 conference teams) in NCAA Division I Baseball history. The 26 championships the Pac-10 has accumulated over the years are the most of any Conference, distancing the Big 12 by 16 championships. Oregon State was the last Pac-10 team to bring home the NCAA title, accomplishing the feat in 2007 as well as in 2006. Cal captured the first-ever NCAA College World Series title in 1947, and won the national crown again in 1957. The Bears also placed third at the 1980 College World Series and also competed in the CWS in 1988 and 1992 under former head coach Bob Milano.
After taking two-of-three last weekend from then-No. 21 Oregon, Cal was selected the No. 2 seed in the Oklahoma regional where it will play against the Tar Heels from North Carolina. The Bears' junior first baseman/outfielder Mark Canha is batting .323 with 11 doubles and nine home runs (including three grand slams), and leads the Pac-10 with 67 RBI. As a team, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in slugging percentage (.473) and third in batting average (.319) and triples (20).
Other top hitters for the Bears include freshman designated hitter/third baseman Tony Renda (.365, 19-2B, 4-3B, 3-HR, 35 RBI), sophomore catcher Chadd Krist (.344, 15-2B, 3-3B, 10-HR, 43 RBI), sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien (.333, 17-28, 2-3B, 4-HR, 34 RBI) and junior second baseman Brian Guinn (.324, 12-2B, 4-3B, HR, 29 RBI).
Cal pitchers have notched seven shutouts this year and feature Erik Johnson (6-3, 3.62 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 72.0 innings), Justin Jones and Dixon Anderson (5-3, 5.09 ERA). Freshman left-hander Jones is second in the Pac-10 with 10 wins (10-5, 3.77 ERA), fourth with 98.0 innings and fifth with 30 strikeouts looking. Jones has been a part of two shutouts and has thrown two complete games this season.