Cal Baseball Opens 2007 Season Hosting UC Irvine at Evans Diamond
Jan. 30, 2007
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., Feb. 2 UC Irvine Evans Diamond, 1:30 p.m.Sat., Feb. 3 UC Irvine Evans Diamond, 1:00 p.m.Sun., Feb. 4 UC Irvine Evans Diamond, 1:00 p.m.
BEAR NOTES: The young, but talented, California baseball team starts the 2007 campaign with a three-game series versus UC Irvine this Friday-Sunday at Evans Diamond - the first of three straight weekends of home competition for the Golden Bears. Cal features 6-5 sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross, who is on the watch list for the Wallace Award as the nation's top collegiate baseball player. As a true freshman, Ross was honorable mention All-Pac-10, finishing 6-4 with a 3.19 ERA, and had 85 strikeouts in 84.7 innings. Another super sophomore will be David Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton who was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team. Cooper, a 6-0 left-hander, led all players at the World Series with a .533 average (8-for-15) with five RBI, and finished the season batting .305 with nine doubles, two home runs and 37 RBI, earning All-Big West Conference honorable mention. Key returning infielders will be junior Josh Satin, senior Brett Munster and junior Mike Van Winden. Satin was a Cape Cod League All-Star this summer, and was a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American in 2005 when he hit .348 with 15 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 40 RBI. Munster started 43 games last season, batting .268 with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and 18 RBI, while the left-handed hitting Van Winden owns a .271 career average with 21 doubles, three triples, a home run and 53 RBI. On the mound, sophomore right-hander Matt Gorgan and sophomore left-hander Chris Petrini also return. Gorgen made 29 appearances in 2006, going 3-5 with a 2.50 ERA and two saves. Petrini made 16 appearances with two starts last season, going 3-2 with a 4.54 ERA and a save.
SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 10-14 overall series record against the UC Irvine Anteaters. In the last series, the Bears won one-of-three at Anteater Ballpark, Feb. 3-5, 2006 (W 6-2, L 10-4, L 7-6). In the last series at Evans Diamond, Cal won one-of-three, Feb. 4-6, 2005 (L 10-1, W 5-4 in 11 innings, L 7-3).
HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 41, is in his eighth season at Cal with a career record of 201-189 (.515). In 2001, he was Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a 34-25 mark and a berth to the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La. (1-2). Thirty nine Cal players have signed professional contracts since Esquer became coach, including first round picks Brandon Morrow (RHP, Seattle, fifth overall) in 2006 and Conor Jackson (INF., Arizona, 19th overall) in 2003. On June 10, 1999, Esquer became the 10th coach in Cal baseball history, which began in 1892. He came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99, and the No. 2 assistant at Stanford 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 went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore, California and Milwaukee organizations.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo. Pos. Player 2006 stats4 CF Brett Jackson, Fr. --- or2 CF Taylor Grigsby, Jr. .238, 10 RBI, 0 HR23 LF Jeff Kobernus, Fr. ---18 1B David Cooper, So. (CS Fullerton).305, 37 RBI, 2 HR3 2B Josh Satin, Jr. .222, 20 RBI, 2 HR16 C Charlie Cutler, So. .246, 6 RBI, 0 HR29 RF Ryan Hanlon, So. .245, 5 RBI, 0 HR or37 RF Blake Smith, Fr. ---42 DH Mike Van Winden, Jr. .239, 22 RBI, 0 HR26 3B Michael Brady, So. .167, 0 RBI, 0 HR5 SS Brett Munster, Sr. .268, 18 RBI, 3 HR44 RHP Tyson Ross, So. (Fri.) 6-4, 3.19 ERA36 LHP Chris Petrini, So. (Sat.) 3-2, 4.54 ERA46 RHP Alex Rollin, Jr. (Sun.) 0-1, 7.84 ERA
NOTING UC IRVINE: The UC Irvine Anteaters, coached by Dave Serrano (third year at UCI, 67-49, .578), begin their 2007 season at Cal. Top returning hitters for the Anteaters are senior outfielder Cody Cipriano (.354, 4 HR, 36 RBI), senior outfielder Matt Morris (.304, 2 HR, 19 RBI) and junior utility Taylor Holiday (.286, 2 HR, 31 RBI). UC Irvine's tentative pitching rotation (with 2006 stats) is sophomore right-hander Scott Gorgen (7-5, 2.54 ERA, twin brother of Cal sophomore right-hander Matt Gorgen), freshman left-hander Daniel Bibona and senior right-hander Dylan Axelrod (3-3, 4.59 ERA). In 2006, UC Irvine finished 36-24 overall, 11-10 (third) in the Big West, and 0-2 in the NCAA Regional at Pepperdine (lost 3-2 versus UCLA, 5-4 in 14 innings versus Missouri).
IMPRESSIVE ROSS: Cal's No. 1 starter is 6-5 sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross, who as a true freshman was honorable mention All-Pac-10, finishing 6-4 with a 3.19 ERA (seventh in the Pac-10). He also had 85 strikeouts (10th in the Pac-10) in 84.7 innings and paced Cal with 15 starts, including a career-high nine strikeouts in 6.0 innings versus Long Beach State. Ross is on the watch list for the Wallace Award as the nation's top collegiate baseball player, and is also projected to be the 2007 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America. Ross will be dueling UCI sophomore right-hander Scott Gorgen, twin brother of top Cal reliever Matt Gorgen, in the season-opener Friday at Evans Diamond.
WORLD SERIES COOPER: The Bears' top newcomer this season is sophomore David Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton who was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team. Cooper, a 6-0 left-hander, flirted with a College World Series record when he had seven consecutive hits in Omaha, tying Terry Francona (1980) and one short of Dave Magadan (1983) and Barry Bonds (1984). Cooper led all players at the World Series with a .533 average (8-for-15) with five RBI. He went 5-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in a 7-6 Titan win over top-seeded Clemson. For the 2006 campaign, Cooper hit .305 with nine doubles, two home runs and 37 RBI, earning All-Big West Conference honorable mention.
BEARS' SUMMER SHINE: Cal had several players excel in 2006 summer league play. Junior second baseman Josh Satin was a Cape Cod League All-Star for the Orleans Cardinals, and was named Eastern Division MVP during the all-star game when he was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly. Satin had one of the finest freshman seasons in school history in 2005, earning All-Pac-10 and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors. He hit .348 with 15 doubles, a triple, five home runs, 40 RBI, a team-leading 26 multiple-hit games. 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. Senior shortstop Brett Munster starred for the Moses Lake Pirates in the West Coast Collegiate League, earning all-league honors and a Gold Glove award at shortstop. Sophomore left-hander Craig Bennigson had six saves with a 2.39 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 26.3 innings for the Matsu Miners of the Alaska League. Junior right-hander Alex Rollin threw two complete games with a team-high 76.4 innings for the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League. Sophomore right-hander Matt Gorgen went 3-1 with a 0.92 ERA and nine saves in 20 appearances for the Anchorage Bucks of the Alaska League. Sophomore catcher Charlie Cutler was an all-star catcher for the St. Cloud (Minn.) Riverbats of the Northwoods League, batting .299 with 11 doubles, a home run and 29 RBI. Junior left-handed hitting designated hitter Jordan Karnofsky batted .302 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 24 RBI for the Front Royal (Va.) Cardinals of the Valley League. He was listed as the Valley Leagues' ninth-best professional prospect by Baseball America.
CAL'S YOUTH PARADE: The 2007 Bears have several true freshmen in line to be immediate contributors. Newcomers Brett Jackson, Jeff Kobernus, Blake Smith and Austin Booker provide an added dimension for Cal as they will immediately push for starting duty, either in the infield or outfield. Jackson is a 6-2, 195-pound left-handed hitter from Miramonte High School, who was an All-CIF high school shortstop, but is pushing for starting duties in center field as well playing time in the infield. Kobernus is a 6-2, 185-pound All-East Bay shortstop from Bishop O'Dowd High School who can also play the outfield, while Smith is a 6-2, 200-pound left-handed hitting All-District third baseman/outfielder from Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, who swung the bat well in the fall. Booker, a 5-10, 160-pound left-handed hitter from Robinson High School in Fairfax, Va., is the son of former Cal All-American and major leaguer Rod Booker. Freshman catcher Dylan Tonneson, a 6-3, 215-pounder, is also in the mix for playing time after hitting .395 with nine home runs and 36 RBI as a senior at California High School, earning Contra Costa Times Athlete of the Year honors. The Bears only have two seniors (infielders Brett Munster and Stephen Carlson) and on the 2007 squad.
ADDITIONAL BEAR NOTES: Cal is 5-2 in season-openers under head coach David Esquer...last season's team ERA of 3.92 was the Bears' lowest since 1989, and Cal's 3.65 ERA against Pac-10 competition was second only to 2006 national champion Oregon State...when the Bears compete in the Cardinal Classic, Mar. 9-11 in Louisville, Ky., it will be the first time in school history Cal has faced Kent State, Louisville and Indiana State...despite a losing record last season (26-28, 9-15), the Bears was 3-3 versus Bay Area rival Stanford, swept UC Santa Barbara, and won Pac-10 series versus Washington, Arizona and UCLA at Evans Diamond, and Washington State on the road...besides having Austin Booker on the 2007 squad, Cal has signed B.J. Guinn, a 6-1, 165-pound shortstop from Berkeley High School for next season. Guinn is the son of former Cal standout (1981-83) and professional baseball player Brian Guinn.
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).
* The all-time record for Cal baseball is 2,249-1,666-13 for a .574 winning percentage in 115 seasons.
*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.
*Last season the Bears had a school-record five players selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Amateur Draft, including junior right-hander Brandon Morrow, the fifth pick overall by the Seattle Mariners.