Cal Baseball Opens 2002 Season With Three-Game Series at UNLV

Jan. 28, 2002

BERKELEY, CA -

Date	Opponent TimeFeb. 1	at UNLV	 6:30 p.m.Feb. 2	at UNLV	 2:00 p.m.Feb. 3	at UNLV	 1:00 p.m.

SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 3-3 overall series record against the UNLV Rebels...the Bears defeated the Rebels in the last meeting between the two schools, 6-2 and 12-0, May 25, 1980 at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Tulsa, OK...

HEAD COACH DAVID ESQUER: The 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Esquer, 36, is in his third season at Cal and has a career record of 59-53 (.527)...he became only the 10th coach in the history of Cal baseball, which began in 1892, when he was hired June 10, 1999...Esquer replaced longtime Bear mentor Bob Milano, who retired May 17, 1999 after 22 years as the Bears head coach and 29 years involved in the Cal baseball program...Esquer came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99...prior to working at Pepperdine, he was the No. 2 assistant coach at Stanford under Mark Marquess from 1991-96...a shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, Esquer was a starter on Stanford's 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors after hitting .350 with six RBI in Omaha...he also earned All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors as a senior and went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers organizations...

BEAR NOTES: The California baseball team will begin the 2002 season with a three-game series at UNLV...the Bears return 18 letterwinners, including seven starting position players, from a team that finished 34-25 overall and 14-10 (tied for third) in the Pac-10 last season...Cal also advanced to an NCAA Regional for the first time since the 1995 season in 2001...top returners for the Bears include senior right-hander Trevor Hutchinson, a third team Preseason All-American who is projected to be one of the Pac-10's top draft pick in 2002 by Baseball America, senior second baseman Carson White, a 2001 All-Pac-10 selection, and returning Pac-10 honorable mention selections, junior catcher John Baker, junior outfielder Ben Conley and sophomore right-hander Matt Brown...Hutchinson, the younger brother of former Stanford two-sport standout Chad Hutchinson, was 6-7 with a 3.85 ERA last season and had 91 strikeouts in a team-high 114.7 innings pitched...White, who transferred from Fresno City College, batted .338 with 19 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 49 RBI for the Bears last season...Baker batted .331 with 13 doubles, three home runs and 29 RBI last year, was a Cape Cod League All-Star this past summer and was selected the Pac-10's top defensive catcher in Baseball America...Conley emerged as Cal's lead-off hitter center fielder last year and went on to bat .324 with six doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI...Brown was the Bears closer as a true freshman in 2001 and led the Pac-10 in saves with eight...he is a member of Baseball America's Preseason All-Conference Team as the league's top relief pitcher and is projected to be a top draft pick in the 2003 draft...besides Brown, Cal has some other impressive sophomores - Brian Montalbo, a 6-5, 215-pound right-hander who was a fourth-round draft pick out of high school and went 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA in 2001, Conor Jackson, a 6-3, 205-pound third baseman who batted .288 with a team-leading 37 walks and 50 runs last year, Jeff Dragicevich, a 6-2, 190-pound shortstop who hit .302 with six doubles, three home runs and 21 RBI as a true freshman and Brian Horwitz, a 6-2, 190-pound outfielder who established a new school record with a 23-game hitting streak in 2001 and went on to bat .310 with 17 doubles, 30 RBI and a team-high 11 stolen bases...Brown, Montalbo, Jackson, Horwitz and Dragicevich were all named Honorable Mention Freshman All-Americans in Collegiate Baseball ...as a team, Cal is predicted by the Pac-10 Coaches to finish fourth in the conference and Baseball America predicts the Bears to be one of the five Pac-10 teams (Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington, Cal) to make NCAA postseason...Collegiate Baseball selected Cal 38th in its preseason poll...

TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo.	Pos.   	Player	                      2001 Cal stats2	LF	Ben Conley, Jr.	              .324, 21 RBI, 2 HR34	3B	Conor Jackson, So.	      .288, 31 RBI, 4 HR24	RF	Brian Horwitz, So.	      .310, 30 RBI, 1 HR33	C	John Baker, Jr.	              .331, 29 RBI, 3 HR1	2B	Carson White, Sr.	      .338, 49 RBI, 8 HR44	1B	James Holder, So.	      .077, 1 RBI, 0 HR25	DH	Derek Ayres, Sr.	      .185, 2 RBI, 0 HR3	CF	Brad Smith, Jr.               .241, 17 RBI, 3 HR OR5       CF      David Nicholson, Fr.          N/A9	SS	Jeff Dragicevich, So.	      .302, 21 RBI, 3 HR32	RHP	Trevor Hutchinson, Sr. (Fri.) 6-7, 3.58 ERA20	RHP	Brian Montalbo, So. (Sat.)    4-1, 4.38 ERA	        TBA (Sun.)

UNLV: The UNLV Rebels, coached by Jim Schlossnagle (first year at UNLV, eight years as an assistant at Tulane), open their 2002 season against Cal after finishing 23-33 in 2001...top returning hitters (2001 stats) for the Rebels are junior infielder David Trujillo (.374, 7 HR, 41 RBI), junior infielder Garett Shitanishi (.351, 0 HR, 14 RBI) and sophomore infielder/outfielder Brent Johnson (.340, 1 HR, 33 RBI)...UNLV's tentative pitching rotation (2001 stats) is sophomore left-hander Robbie Van (1-5, 7.80 ERA), junior right-hander Jared Bonnell (4-7, 7.21 ERA) and sophomore right-hander David Seccombe (3-4, 4.63 ERA for San Francisco)...last season, the Rebels finished 22-33 overall and 14-12 (fifth) in the Mountain West Conference.

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