No. 25 Cal Baseball Opens 2006 Season at UC Irvine
Jan. 31, 2006
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., Feb. 3 at UC Irvine Anteater Ballpark 6:00 p.m.Sat., Feb. 4 at UC Irvine Anteater Ballpark 6:00 p.m.Sun., Feb. 5 at UC Irvine Anteater Ballpark 1:00 p.m.
BEAR NOTES: The No. 25-ranked California baseball team starts the 2006 campaign with a three-game series at UC Irvine's Anteater Ballpark, looking to capture a series from the Anteaters for the second time since UC Irvine brought back its baseball program in 2002 (no baseball at UCI from 1993-01). Cal features three players - junior outfielders Brennan Boesch and Chris Errecart, and junior right-hander Brandon Morrow - who were selected as Baseball America preseason All-Americans. The Golden Bears also highlight sophomore third baseman Josh Satin, a 2005 first-team All-Pac-10 selection and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, and senior shortstop Allen Craig, a 2005 Baseball America Summer All-American. Boesch, who was selected a first-team preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America (NCBWA), is a second-team preseason All-American in Baseball America and a third-team preseason All-American in Collegiate Baseball. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2005 and is on the watch list for the 2006 Brooks Wallace Award as the nation's top collegiate player. Also a second-team preseason All-American, Errecart was a Cape Cod League All-Star this past summer, batting .303 with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and 22 RBI for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Morrow, a hard-throwing right-hander regularly clocked in the 90s, was named a third-team preseason All-American by Baseball America. He was a Cape Cod League All-Star this summer for Yarmouth-Dennis, striking out 24 batters in 14.7 innings with a 1.84 ERA and three saves.
SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 9-12 overall series record against the UC Irvine Anteaters. In the last series, the Bears won one-of-three at Evans Diamond, Feb. 4-6, 2005 (L 10-1, W 5-4 in 11 innings, L 7-3). In the last series at UC Irvine, Cal won one-of-three, Feb. 13-15, 2004 (L 9-7, L 4-3 in 12 innings, W 10-4).
HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 40, is in his seventh season at Cal with a career record of 175-161 (.521). In 2001, he was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a 34-25 mark, a third place finish in the Pac-10 (14-10) and a berth to the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La. (1-2). Twenty nine Cal players have signed professional contracts since Esquer became coach, including Conor Jackson, who was a first round draft choice of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003. On June 10, 1999, Esquer became only the 10th coach in the history of Cal baseball, which began in 1892. He came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99. Esquer was the No. 2 assistant coach at Stanford under Mark Marquess from 1991-96. A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, he was a starter on the 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors. Esquer also earned All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors and went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore, California and Milwaukee organizations.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo. Pos. Player 2005 stats4 SS Allen Craig, Sr. .304, 35 RBI, 8 HR3 3B Josh Satin, So. .348, 40 RBI, 5 HR22 LF Chris Errecart, Jr. .298, 35 RBI, 8 HR32 CF Brennan Boesch, Jr. .355, 33 RBI, 7 HR11 RF Jason Corder, So. .200, 6 RBI, 1 HR34 C Garrett Bussiere, Jr. .262, 21 RBI, 5 HR42 1B Mike Van Winden, So. .296, 31 RBI, 1 HR16 DH Charlie Cutler, Fr. .000, 0 RBI, 0 HR or5 DH Brett Munster, Jr. .179, 3 RBI, 0 HR6 2B Kyle Spraker, So. .218, 15 RBI, 3 HR21 RHP Brandon Morrow, Jr. (Fri.) 0-1, 9.36 ERA39 RHP Michael Cooper, Jr. (Sat.) 3-2, 3.47 ERA44 RHP Tyson Ross, Fr. (Sun.) 0-0, 0.00 ERA
NOTING UC IRVINE: The UC Irvine Anteaters, coached by Dave Serrano (second year, 35-21, .625), begin their 2006 season hosting Cal at Anteater Stadium. Top returning hitters for the Anteaters are senior first baseman Jaime Martinez (.339, 5 HR, 46 RBI), sophomore outfielder Ollie Linton (.306, 1 HR, 19 RBI) and senior outfielder Danny McCarthy (.274, 0 HR, 11 RBI). UC Irvine's tentative pitching rotation is junior right-hander Justin Cassel (9-4, 3.54 ERA), freshman right-hander Scott Gorgen (twin brother of Cal freshman right-hander Matt Gorgen) and senior left-hander Glenn Swanson (1-0, 3.00 ERA). In 2005, UC Irvine finished 31-25 overall and 10-11 (tied for fifth) in the Big West Conference.
BEARS ARE HUNGURY: Cal is ranked 25th in Baseball America after returning seven regular position players from a squad that finished 34-23 overall and 13-11 (fifth) in the Pac-10 in 2005. Last season, Cal notched 13 wins against teams that advanced to an NCAA Regional; captured Pac-10 series versus highly-ranked Stanford, Arizona State and Arizona; and swept Long Beach State; yet were denied an NCAA berth. The Bears became the first Pac-10 team not to advance to postseason with an over .500 record in the conference play. Baseball America predicts Cal to be one of six Pac-10 teams to make a 2006 NCAA Regional, and felt the Bears were the most deserving team left off the 2005 NCAA tournament field.
ACCOLADES GALORE FOR BOESCH: Junior center fielder Brennan Boesch enters the 2006 season with the most preseason accolades since Xavier Nady was Baseball America's National Preseason Player of the Year in 2000. Boesch is a preseason All-American with the Collegiate Baseball Writers (first-team), Baseball America (second-team) and Collegiate Baseball (third-team). He is also predicted to be the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, and is on the Brooks Wallace List as a candidate for national player of the year honors. Last season, Boesch batted .355 (fifth in the Pac-10) with 21 doubles (fifth in the Pac-10), two triples, seven home runs and 33 RBI. His 21 doubles were third on the Cal all-time single-season doubles list, and he hit .367 (22-for-60) with runners in scoring position, earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors.
SATIN'S STELLAR FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN: Sophomore third baseman Josh Satin had one of the finest freshman seasons in school history in 2005, earning All-Pac-10 and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors. As a redshirt freshman second baseman, Satin was second on the team with a .348 average and 40 RBI. He also had 77 hits, 15 doubles, a triple, five home runs, a team-leading 26 multiple-hit games, a team-high 15-game hitting streak and a team-best .434 average with runners in scoring position. Satin was the first Cal freshman to earn both Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 honors since Xavier Nady was the National Freshman of the Year in 1998.
CRAIG PRIMED FOR SENIOR SEASON: Senior Allen Craig is coming off a phenomenal summer playing shortstop for Alexandria (Minn.) of the Northwoods League, batting .362 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI, earning first-team Summer All-America accolades in Baseball America. Craig was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick in 2005, batting .307 overall and .358 against conference foes, including leading off a game with a home run three times during the season. For his career, he has a .292 average with 33 doubles, a triple, 16 home runs and 72 RBI in 141 games.
ERRECART AND MORROW SHINE IN THE CAPE: Competing for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox this summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, juniors Chris Errecart and Brandon Morrow wooed the professional scouts. Errecart hit .303 with six home runs and 22 RBI and was selected the fifth-best professional prospect by Baseball America. Last spring, he hit .298 with 15 doubles, eight home runs (ninth in the Pac-10) and 35 RBI for the Bears. After striking out 24 batters in 14.7 innings with a 1.84 ERA and three saves over the summer, Morrow was selected the fifth-best professional prospect out of the Cape Cod League by Baseball America. He is also on the Roger Clemens Award Watch List as a candidate for the nation's top collegiate pitcher.
ADDITIONAL CAL NOTES: Last season as a freshman, Mike Van Winden batted .296 with three game-winning RBI and is projected to be an All-Pac-10 first baseman by Baseball America. Freshman Tyson Ross, a 6-5 right-hander, was a member of the USA Junior National Team this fall and only yielded two hits in 5.0 innings against Cuba. Senior right-hander Alex Trafton was an Alaska League All-Star this past summer, leading the league with a 5-1 record and a 1.72 ERA for the Matsu Miners. Sophomore catcher Travis Howell was the recipient of the Rawlings Silver Glove Award for his defensive prowess for the Mankato (Minn.) Moondogs of the Northwoods League. Fans will notice changes at Evans Diamond in 2006, as construction has been completed on the Carl J. Van Heuit Training Facility down the right field line, plus a new picnic and patio area graces the left field line. The Carl Van Heuit Training Facility, named after the former Cal football Hall of Famer who was a staunch supporter of the Bears' baseball program, provides the team with indoor batting cages, indoor and outdoor bullpens, as well as weight training equipment.
DID YOU KNOW?
*Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947, defeating former President George Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.*The Golden Bears have had two players 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 12 schools that have won more than one national championship (1947, 1957). The Bears have competed in five College World Series (1947, 1957, 1980, 1988, 1992).
*Three Cal players, senior shortstop Allen Craig, junior outfielder Brennan Boesch and junior catcher Garrett Bussiere hit home runs in their first collegiate at-bats - Jan. 31, 2003 versus UNLV for Craig, Jan. 29, 2004 versus BYU for Boesch and Feb. 8, 2004 versus Long Beach State for Bussiere.
*Last season, third baseman Matt Einspahr led the nation in sacrifice bunts (20, 0.36 per game), while also leading the Bears in RBI (41).
*This season Cal plays two games in professional ballparks. On Saturday, March 18, the Bears will play Pacific at 1 p.m. at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton (home of the Oakland A's Single A affiliate). Cal will also compete against the University of San Francisco in the inaugural Dante Benedetti Classic, Tuesday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at SBC Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.