Cal Baseball Hosts University of Portland at Evans Diamond

Feb. 6, 2007

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Fri.Feb. 9 Portland Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:30 p.m.Sat.Feb. 10 Portland Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:00 p.m.Sun.Feb. 11 Portland Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:00 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: The 2007 California baseball team looks to continue its strong early season showing as the Golden Bears host the University of Portland in a three-game series this Friday-Sunday at Evans Diamond. Last weekend Cal won two of three games from 2006 NCAA postseason participant UC Irvine at Evans Diamond, falling 4-3 in game one before winning 10-4 and 6-0 in games two and three. Several players shined for the Bears in the season-opening series. Sophomore first baseman David Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, went 7-for-12 (.583) with an RBI, getting a hit in his first at-bat as a Bear and going 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Junior second baseman Josh Satin was 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles, a home run (two-run homer Feb. 2) and a team-high six RBI, including a key three-run double Sunday. Satin was 2-for-2 with runners in scoring position. Sophomore outfielder Ryan Hanlon finished the UC Irvine series 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, a home run and four RBI. In Saturday's 10-4 win, Hanlon was 3-for-5 with a double and a three-run homer - the first home run of his college career. He also made a leaping catch over the right field wall for the game-ending out. In Sunday's 6-0 Cal shut out of the Anteaters, Cal junior right-hander Alex Rollin threw a career-high 5.3 innings with two hits, no runs, two walks and three strikeouts. Three Bear pitchers limited UC Irvine to six hits. Sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross, on the Wallace Watch List as a potential national player of the year, was solid in Friday's start despite getting a no decision, throwing 7.0 innings with nine hits, two earned runs, one walk and six strikeouts.

SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 2-0 overall series record against the Portland Pilots. In the last meeting, the Bears defeated the Pilots, 10-9 in 13 innings, Mar. 4, 1989 in Fullerton, Calif. Cal assistant coach, Jon Zuber, was the winning pitcher in relief in that contest.

HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 41, is in his eighth season at Cal with a career record of 203-190 (.516). 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	2007 stats4	CF	Brett Jackson, Fr. .000, 0 RBI, 0 HR3	2B	Josh Satin, Jr. .385, 6 RBI, 1 HR18	1B	David Cooper, So. .583, 1 RBI, 0 HR29	LF	Ryan Hanlon, So. .417, 4 RBI, 1 HR16	C	Charlie Cutler, So. .083, 2 RBI, 1 HR23	DH	Jeff Kobernus, Fr. .286, 1 RBI, 0 HR37	RF	Blake Smith, Fr. .375, 1 RBI, 0 HR5	SS	Brett Munster, Sr. .375, 2 RBI, 0 HR26	3B	Michael Brady, So. .222, 0 RBI, 0 HR44	RHP	Tyson Ross, So. (Fri.) 0-0, 2.57 ERA		TBA, (Sat.)46	RHP	Alex Rollin, Jr. (Sun.) 1-0, 0.00 ERA

NOTING PORTLAND: The Portland Pilots, coached by Chris Sperry (10th year, 154-320-1, .325), begin their 2007 season at Cal. Top returning hitters for the Pilots are junior infielder Danny Meier (.305, 9 HR, 29 RBI), senior outfielder Justin Ehlers (.287, 1 HR, 10 RBI) and senior infielder Jesse Rodgers (.255, 2 HR, 17 RBI). Portland's tentative pitching rotation (with 2006 stats) is junior right-hander Danny Meier (0-0, 10.66 ERA), junior right-hander Given Kutz (6-8, 5.56 ERA in 2005) and junior left-hander Ari Ronick (3-6, 5.44 ERA). In 2006, Portland finished 15-37 overall and 3-18 (eighth) in the West Coast Conference.

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 had a duel with UC Irvine sophomore right-hander Scott Gorgen, twin brother of top Cal reliever Matt Gorgen, in the season-opener last Friday at Evans Diamond, getting a no decision, but throwing 7.0 innings with nine hits, two earned runs, only one walk and six strikeouts.

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. He got a hit in his first at-bat as a Bear last Friday versus UC Irvine and went on to lead Cal in the series with a .583 average (7-for-12) and an RBI.

HANLON'S HOT START: Cal sophomore outfielder Ryan Hanlon had a break-out series against UC Irvine to start the 2007 season, going 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, a home run and four RBI. Feb. 3 was a big day for Hanlon as he was a career-high 3-for-5 with a double and a three-run homer - the first home run of his college career. He also robbed a UCI player of a home run in right field for the final out of the Bears' 10-4 victory.

CAL'S YOUTH PARADE: The 2007 Bears have several true freshmen in line to be immediate contributors. Newcomers Brett Jackson, Jeff Kobernus and Blake Smith provide an added dimension for Cal as they have immediately pushed 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 has started the first three games in center field for the Bears. 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. Kobernus has started two of three games as Cal's designated hitter, going 2-for-4 in the season-opener Feb. 2. Smith has two starts in right field, including making a diving catch in the season-opener and going 2-for-4 with an RBI triple Feb. 4. 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.

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.

ADDITIONAL BEAR NOTES: So far this year, Cal has hit well with runners in scoring position, going 13-for-21 for a .619 average...as a team, the Bears are batting .306 compared to .240 for their opponent...Cal has a team ERA of 2.00 compared to 5.76 for its opponent...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 were 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, the son of former Cal All-American and major leaguer Rod Booker on the 2007 squad, the Bears have 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.

CAL INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES

Craig Bennigson, SO., RHP: 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances...has given up no earned runs in 3.7 innings...is a potential starter Saturday vs. Portland after making two starts last season as a freshman...

Michael Brady, SO., 3B: Batting .222 (2-for-9)...went 2-for-4 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...has started all three games at third base...is hitting .500 (1-for-2) with runners in scoring position...

David Cooper, SO., 1B: Batting a team-leading .583 (7-for-12) with an RBI...got a hit in his first at-bat as a Golden Bear after transferring from College World Series participant Cal State Fullerton...went 4-for-5 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3, and 2-for-4 with an RBI vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4...is hitting .667 (2-for-3) with runners in scoring position...

Charlie Cutler, SO., C: Batting .083 (1-for-12) with a home run and two RBI...hit his first collegiate home run in his first at-bat of the 2007 season vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...has started all three games behind the plate...

Dane Ferguson, SO., RHP: 1-0 with a 0.0 ERA...won his first collegiate game in relief, throwing 2.3 innings with two hits, no runs, one walk and one strikeout vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...

Matt Gorgen, SO., RHP: 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA after throwing the ninth inning (two hits, no runs, one strikeout) vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4...

Taylor Grigsby, JR., OF: Batting .500 (1-for-2) with an RBI...came off the bench for a key pinch-hit RBI single vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...

Ryan Hanlon, SO., OF: Batting .417 (5-for-12) with a double, a home run and four RBI...was a career-high 3-for-5 with an RBI single, a double and a three-run homer (first of his college career) vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...also made a home run saving catch for the final out against the Anteaters Feb. 3...is hitting .667 (2-for-3) with runners in scoring position...

Brett Jackson, FR., OF: Batting .000 (0-for-9) with a run...has started the first three games in center field...

Jeff Kobernus, FR., OF/INF: Batting .286 (2-for-7) with an RBI...has started two games as designated hitter...was 2-for-4 in first collegiate game vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...went 0-3 with an RBI vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...

Brett Munster, SR., SS: Batting .375 (3-for-8) with a double and two RBI...has a hit in each of the first three games...went 1-for-3 with an RBI double vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is batting .667 (2-for-3) with runners in scoring position...

Nick Nunez, JR., RHP: 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances...got Cal out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...

Alex Rollin, JR., RHP: 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA with three strikeouts in 5.3 innings...picked up first collegiate win in a start vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4, throwing a career-high 5.3 innings with two hits, no runs, two walks and three strikeouts...slated to start Sunday vs. Portland...

Tyson Ross, SO., RHP: 0-0 with 2.57 ERA, and six strikeouts in 7.0 innings...no decision vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2, throwing 7.0 innings with nine hits, two earned runs, one walk and six strikeouts...slated to start Friday vs. Portland...

Josh Satin, JR., INF: Batting .385 (5-for-13) with two doubles, a home run and a team-high six RBI...was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3, and 1-for-4 with a three-run double vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4...is batting 1.000 (2-for-2) with runners in scoring position...

Blake Smith, FR., OF/INF: Batting .375 (3-for-8) with a triple and RBI...has started two games in right field for the Bears...was 1-for-4 with a diving catch in right field vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is batting 1.000 (2-for-2) with runners in scoring position...

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.

*The 2007 Cal coaching staff of David Esquer, Dan Hubbs and Jon Zuber has been a part of 17 NCAA Regionals, four College World Series and a National Championship as either players or coaches.

*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).

*Entering 2007, 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.

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