Jan. 7, 1998
Bears Earn Preseason Honors
California's junior shortstop Brian Oliver and junior catcher Jason Hill were both selected 1998 Third Team Preseason All-American in Baseball America.
Oliver, a 1996 Freshman All-American in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, was also selected 1998 Third Team Preseason All-American in Collegiate Baseball.
A co-captain for the Bears this season, Oliver earned first team All-Pac-10 honors last year, leading Cal in batting average (.364, .325 in league), runs (42), hits (88), doubles (15), triples (three), total bases (121), slugging percentage (.500) and stolen bases (24-for-26). He was also the winner of both the Robert A. Roos Batting Cup as Cal's leading hitter and the Clint Evans Award as team MVP.
Oliver and Hill were both members of the 1997 USA Baseball National Team, led by California head coach Bob Milano, that finished fourth at the International Baseball Association's XIII Intercontinental Cup this past summer. Oliver had a .333 batting average (32-for-96) with six doubles, a home run and 10 RBI, starting 25 of the USA Baseball's 34 contests at second base. During the 26th annual USA-Japan Collegiate Championship series, June 21-28, he was named Hitter of the Tournament, batting .500 (10-for-20).
Hill has had some big games for the Americans this summer as well. On July 24, he delivered a run-scoring groundout in the top of the 10th inning to lead the United States to the 6-5 extra-inning win over Australia. It was the second day in a row Hill had heroics, as he had a phenomenal game in a July 23 victory over Australia, hitting two home runs in an eight-run fifth inning and leading the Americans to the 11-6 come-from-behind win.
Hill started 17 games for Team USA behind the plate and batted .281 (16-for-57) with three doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI.