The first game of the Feb. 15 Texas-Cal doubleheader will be broadcast on KALX 90.7 FM. Live stats available at Cal Base Schedule. Cal Baseball Facebook Cal Baseball Facebook, Cal BaseballTwitter @Cal_Baseball
Cal Hosts No. 18 Texas to Open 2014 Campaign
Cal opens the 2014 campaign hosting No. 18 Texas in a four-game series (Feb. 14-16) at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears return 23 players from last year’s squad and has an impressive freshman class. Cal features five veteran members from its 2011 College World Series team – seniors Kyle Porter, Vince Bruno and Devon Rodriguez; and juniors Derek Campbell and Michael Theofanopoulos. Campbell was the starting second baseman for the Bears as a freshman at the CWS, Theofanopoulos is a talented left-handed pitcher/utility player, Porter was a freshman All-American left-hander in 2011 and picked up Cal’s CWS victory over Texas A&M in Omaha, Bruno was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 2011 and Rodriguez was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 Houston Regional after knocking in the game-winning hit in the Bears’ dramatic come-from-behind victory over Baylor to advance Cal to the 2011 Super Regionals in Santa Clara. Another key veteran is senior shortstop Mike Reuvekamp, who last season produced three game-winning RBI for Cal – versus Michigan, Fresno State and Washington State. Two more top returners are sophomore right-hander Ryan Mason and sophomore outfielder Devin Pearson, who both had stellar freshman campaigns. Mason became the Bears’ No. 1 starter and went 5-3 with a 3.76 ERA, while Pearson hit .302 with a team-high seven stolen bases. Two more Cal players to watch are junior infielder Chris Paul, who had eight home runs and 36 RBI last year; and senior right-hander Trevor Hildenberger, who picked up five wins and a save last season. Cal is also welcoming in eight top freshmen – Andrew Buckley, a 6-1, 220-pound right-hander from De La Salle High School; Lucas Erceg, a 6-1, 188-pound right-handed pitcher/left-handed hitting shortstop from Westmont High School; Trevin Haseltine, a 6-3, 215-pound right-hander from Will C. Wood High School (named the third-best player in the Far West League this summer by Baseball America); Daulton Jefferies, a 5-11, 175-pound right-handed pitcher/infielder from Buhach Colony High School (drafted 39th round by Miami); and Aaron Knapp, a 6-0, 165-pound left-handed hitting outfielder from Granite Bay High School (brother of 2013 Cal All-American Andrew Knapp). Additional top freshmen are Alex Martinez, a 5-11, 190-pound right-hander from Logan High School; Alex Schick, a 6-6, 195-pound right-handed pitcher from Cathedral Catholic High School (drafted 17th round by Houston) and Robbie Tenerowicz, a 6-1, 188-pound middle infielder from Campolindo High School (drafted 39th round by Washington).
Esquer, 48, is in his 15th season with a career record of 406-369-2 (.524). 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 2011 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 seven 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 (406-369-2, .524) 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 2013 23-31
No. 18 Texas (Baseball America), coached by Augie Garrido (18th year at Texas, 723-347-2, .675), finished last season 27-24 overall and 7-17 in the Big 12 (9th). Top returning hitters for the Longhorns are senior outfielder Mark Payton (.393, 0 HR, 29 RBI), sophomore shortstop CJ Hinojosa (.309, 2 HR, 29 RBI) and senior catcher Jacob Felts (.272, 1 HR, 15 RBI). A tentative Texas rotation is junior right-hander Parker French (4-5, 5.91 ERA), junior left-hander Dillon Peters (6-3, 1.97 ERA), junior right-hander Lukas Schiraldi (, senior right-hander Nathan Thornhill (3-6, 2.21 ERA). In 2011, both Texas and Cal were members of the College World Series field.
Cal has a 6-6 all-time record versus Texas, last winning two of three over the Longhorns (L 13-3, W 12-2, W 6-5), March 30-April 1, 2012 in Round Rock, Texas. In NCAA tournament play, the Bears defeated Texas, 8-7, June 21, 1947 in the Western Playoffs in Denver. In 1988, Cal won, 8-7, May 29 and, 6-5, May 30, in Austin, Texas to win the Central Regional and advance to the CWS.
RODRIGUEZ’S FAMOUS HIT
Senior 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 former KALX announcer Danny Friesinger’s enthusiastic call of the winning hit that sent Cal to the Santa Clara Super Regional Rodriguez Regional Game-Winner. Rodriguez is back to full health after playing the entire 2013 season with a torn labrum (batting .277 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 40 RBI) and redshirting in 2012 after suffering injuries to both his shoulder and knee. He has played in 151 games in his Cal career with a .278 average (156-for-561), 25 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 96 RBI. Rodriguez, tabbed 2014 second-team preseason all-conference by College Sports Madness, has also hit two grand slams, including March 16, 2013 at Utah.
CAL’S WALK-OFF SUCCESS IN 2013
Cal had six walk-off wins last season, including the final game with Mitchell Kranson’s game-winner May 20 versus Gonzaga. Shortstop Mike Reuvekamp notched three game-winning RBI, with a game-winning hit April 21 versus Washington State, a game-winning RBI in the 10th inning Feb. 16 versus Michigan and a game-winning sacrifice fly in the seventh inning March 9 versus Fresno State. Other walk-off heroics for the Bears include catcher Andrew Knapp’s (2013 All-American, Phillies second round draft pick) game-winning RBI in the 11th inning in the season-opener Feb. 15 versus Michigan, and outfielder Brian Celsi getting the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning Feb. 17 versus Michigan. Cal’s other walk-off win was March 7 versus Fresno State when second baseman Brenden Farney had the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.
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 Facebook
BETTER THAN EVER EVANS DIAMOND
Evans Diamond, which has served as the home of Cal baseball since 1933, received a major upgrade with the installation of a new lighting system and scoreboard last spring. Eight 90-foot light poles were erected around the field that now support nighttime television broadcasts, team practice and training. A modern electronic scoreboard, measuring 38 feet wide by 31 feet high, was also installed in left-center field. The new scoreboard offers 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 was the only Pac-12 school without permanent lighting at its baseball facility. With the Pac-12 Networks showing eight Cal home games this season, the ability to play night games gives 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 was funded by a combination of donations and increased ticket and sponsorship revenue as a result of the upgrade. The first-ever night-time competition at Evans Diamond was March 28 for the Bears’ 2013 Pac-12 opener against USC in front of a record crowd of 2,133 fans. The new scoreboard was first unveiled May 10, 2013 versus Arizona State. The project was designed by Brereton Architects of San Francisco and constructed under the direction of Overaa Construction of Richmond.
PORTER’S FRESHMAN PERFORMANCES
In what would have to be considered one of the best freshman pitching performances in Cal baseball history, senior 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.
QUICK BEAR HITS
As a freshman, Derek Campbell filled in for an injured Tony Renda (pulled right quad) at second base for the 2011 Super Regional and CWS, hitting .389 (7-for-18, 2B, three RBI) and playing solid defensively...Campbell, drafted in the 36th round by the Chicago Cubs last June, is back after suffering a broken leg March 3, 2013 at Houston...senior outfielder Vince Bruno returns after redshirting last season after hip surgery. Bruno batted .323 overall and .321 versus the Pac-12 in 2012 and was honorable mention all-conference in 2011...senior right-hander Trevor Hildenberger had only 11 appearances prior to last season, but developed a sidearm delivery and won five games with a save in 2013, including a career-high 7.0 innings with five strikeouts versus Washington April 27.
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 122nd 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 to win NCAA Baseball titles and one of 14 schools with more than one national title (1947, 1957). The Bears have competed in six CWS (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 three coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame – Clint Evans (1930-54, led the Bears to the first CWS title in 1947); George Wolfman (1955-73, led Cal to the 1957 CWS title); and Bob Milano (1978-99, led the Bears to three CWS appearances (1980, 1988, 1992) , including a third-place finish in 1980.