Cal Baseball Entertains UNLV at Evans Diamond

Feb. 14, 2007

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Fri., Feb. 16 UNLV Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:30 p.m.Sat., Feb. 17 UNLV Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:00 p.m.Sun., Feb. 18 UNLV Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:00 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: The 2007 California baseball team (4-2) wraps up its season-opening three week home stand this Friday through Sunday when the Golden Bears host UNLV at Evans Diamond. Last week, Cal won two games over Portland (9-5, 4-3) on Sunday, before falling to San Francisco (15-6) on Tuesday. The Bears started out the year winning two-of-three games versus UC Irvine, a 2006 NCAA postseason participant, at home. Two players who have stood out for Cal so far this season are sophomore first baseman David Cooper and sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross. Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton who was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team, is batting an impressive .571 (12-for-21) with two doubles, a home run and six RBI. He hit his first home run as a Bear Tuesday versus USF. Ross, on the Wallace Watch List as a candidate for national player of the year, picked up his first win of the season Sunday when he limit Portland to one hit in six innings. On the year, he has 10 strikeouts in 13.0 innings with a 1.38 ERA. Other notables for Cal include junior right-hander Alex Rollin, who is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA after victories over UC Irvine and Portland, and junior second baseman Josh Satin, who leads the Bears with three doubles and eight RBI. Senior shortstop Brett Munster (.353), sophomore outfielder Ryan Hanlon (.348), freshman right fielder Blake Smith (.389) and freshman designated hitter Jeff Kobernus (.375) are also sporting healthy batting averages in the early season. As a team, Cal has a .310 batting average and is hitting .443 (27-for-61) with runners in scoring position.

SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 7-11 all-time series record against the UNLV Rebels. In the last series, the Bears won one-of-three at Earl E. Wilson Stadium, Mar. 10-12, 2006 (W 5-1, L 9-6, L 5-4). In the last series at Evans Diamond, Cal won one-of-three, Mar. 11-13, 2005 (W 13-2, L 5-2, L 7-4).

HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 41, is in his eighth season at Cal with a career record of 205-191 (.518). 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. .077, 1 RBI, 0 HR3	2B	Josh Satin, Jr. .292, 8 RBI, 1 HR18	1B	David Cooper, So. .571, 6 RBI, 1 HR29	LF	Ryan Hanlon, So. .348, 4 RBI, 1 HR16	C	Charlie Cutler, So. .095, 2 RBI, 1 HR23	DH	Jeff Kobernus, Fr. .375, 4 RBI, 0 HR37	RF	Blake Smith, Fr. .389, 1 RBI, 0 HR5	SS	Brett Munster, Sr. .353, 4 RBI, 0 HR26	3B	Michael Brady, So. .267, 1 RBI, 0 HR27	LHP	Craig Bennigson, So. (Fri.) 0-1, 0.00 ERA44	RHP	Tyson Ross, So. (Sat.) 1-0, 1.38 ERA46	RHP	Alex Rollin, Jr. (Sun.) 2-0, 1.74 ERA

PAC-10 RACE (AS OF Feb. 13)	Conference	                Overall	W	L	PCT	GB	W	L 	.PCTAriz	0	0	.000	---	8	0	1.000OSU	0	0	.000	---	7	0	1.000ASU	0	0	.000	---	5	1	.833CAL	0	0	.000	---	4	2	.667USC	0	0	.000	---	5	4	.556UCLA	0	0	.000	---	3	4	.429Stan	0	0	.000	---	2	3	.400Wash	0	0	.000	---	0	0	.000WSU	0	0	.000	---	0	0	.000

NOTING UNLV: The UNLV Rebels, coached by Buddy Gouldsmith (fourth year, 101-83, .549), are 4-5, winning one-of-three games versus CS Fullerton (L 5-4, L 13-4, W 12-11) last weekend in Las Vegas. Top hitters for the Rebels are senior left fielder Blake Gailen (.484, 2 HR, 9 RBI), junior first baseman Efren Navarro, Jr. (.389, 0 HR, 6 RBI) and senior right fielder Calvin Beamon (.385, 0 HR, 2 RBI). UNLV's tentative pitching rotation is junior right-hander Craig Heyer (1-1, 4.91 ERA), TBA and senior left-hander Chris Saddoris (0-1, 5.23 ERA). In 2006, UNLV finished 29-30 overall and 12-10 (fourth) in the Mountain West 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. He had a duel with UC Irvine sophomore right-hander Scott Gorgen, twin brother of top Cal reliever Matt Gorgen, in the season-opener Feb. 2 at Evans Diamond, getting a no decision, but throwing 7.0 innings with nine hits, two earned runs, only one walk and six strikeouts. Versus Portland Feb. 11, Ross limited the Pilots to one hit in 6.0 innings to pick up his first win of the season and improve his career record to 7-4 with 95 strikeouts in 97.7 innings.

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. In 2007, he got a hit in his first at-bat as a Bear Feb. 2 versus UC Irvine and went on to lead Cal in the series with a .583 average (7-for-12) and an RBI. Cooper hit his first home run at Cal Tuesday versus San Francisco and now has had multiple hit games in four of the Bears' six contests. He has not struck out in 24 plate appearances. Baseball America selected Cooper as the nation's ninth-best transfer in its 2007 College Preview.

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. Hanlon has batted in the clean-up spot and has gotten a hit in each of the Bears' first six home games.

CAL'S YOUTH PARADE: The 2007 Bears have three true freshmen who have been immediate contributors. Newcomers Brett Jackson, Jeff Kobernus and Blake Smith provide an added dimension for Cal as they play 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 five 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 four of six games as Cal's designated hitter, hitting .375 with four RBI, and is 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Smith has five starts in right field, including making a diving catch in the season-opener. He is batting .389 with an RBI triple and has hit safely in all six games this season. Jackson has five starts in center field and got his first collegiate hit Tuesday versus San Francisco. 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. He was 1-for-2 Tuesday with an RBI versus San Francisco.

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: 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 three relief appearances...has given up no earned runs in 6.7 innings...had three strikeouts in 3.0 innings Feb. 11 vs. Portland...is slated to start Friday vs. UNLV...

Michael Brady, SO., 3B: Batting .267 (4-for-15) with an RBI...was 2-for-4 with an RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...went 2-for-4 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...has started four of six games at third base...is hitting .750 (3-for-4) with runners in scoring position...

David Cooper, SO., 1B: Batting a team-leading .571 (12-for-21) with two doubles, a home run and six RBI...went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a two-run homer Tuesday vs. San Francisco...was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...went 4-for-5 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3, and finished the series 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...is hitting .883 (5-for-6) with runners in scoring position...

Stephen Carlson, SR., 3B: Batting .429 (3-for-7) with an RBI...has two starts at third base and one as designated hitter...was 2-for-3 with an RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...

Charlie Cutler, SO., C: Batting .095 (2-for-21) 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 six games behind the plate...

Dane Ferguson, SO., RHP: 1-0 with a 7.20 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 4.50 ERA and a save...earned save (1.0 inning, one hit, one run) vs. Portland Feb. 11...

Taylor Grigsby, JR., OF: Batting .400 (4-for-10) with two RBI...on a four-game hitting streak...had an RBI bunt single vs. Portland Feb. 11...came off the bench for a key pinch-hit RBI single vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is hitting .667 (2-for-3) with runners in scoring position...

Ryan Hanlon, SO., OF: Batting .348 (8-for-23) with two doubles, a home run and four RBI...is on career-high six-game hitting streak...was a career-high 3-for-5 with an RBI single, a double and a three-run homer (first collegiate) vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...made a home run saving catch for the final out against the Anteaters Feb. 3...is hitting .375 (3-for-8) with runners in scoring position...

Brett Jackson, FR., OF: Batting .077 (1-for-13) with an RBI...has started five of six games in center field...got first collegiate hit Tuesday vs. San Francisco...

Jeff Kobernus, FR., OF/INF: Batting .375 (6-for-16) with a double and four RBI...has started five of six games as designated hitter and has three, two-hit games...went 4-for-7 with a double and two RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...in first collegiate game was 2-for-4 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...is hitting .500 (2-for-4) with runners in scoring position...

Brett Munster, SR., SS: Batting .353 (6-for-17) with a double and four RBI...is on a career-high six-game hitting streak...has RBI in four of six games...had an RBI double vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is hitting .800 (4-for-5) with runners in scoring position...

Nick Nunez, JR., RHP: 0-0 with an 8.31 ERA in three appearances...got Cal out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...

Alex Rollin, JR., RHP: 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA with six strikeouts in 10.3 innings...won Feb. 11 start vs. Portland (5.0 innings, eight hits, two runs, two walks, three strikeouts)...picked up first collegiate win in a start vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4 (career-high 5.3 innings, two hits, no runs, two walks, three strikeouts)...slated to start Sunday vs. UNLV...

Tyson Ross, SO., RHP: 1-0 with 1.38 ERA, and 10 strikeouts in 13.0 innings...won Feb. 11 vs. Portland (6.0 innings, one hit, no runs, three walks, four strikeouts)...got no decision vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2 (7.0 innings, nine hits, two earned runs, one walk, six strikeouts)...slated to start Saturday vs. UNLV...

Josh Satin, JR., INF: Batting .292 (7-for-24) with a team-high three doubles, a home run and a team-high eight RBI...was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...had a three-run double vs. UC Irvine Feb. 4 and went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...hit a two-run homer vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...leads Cal with three multiple RBI games...

Blake Smith, FR., OF/INF: Batting .389 (7-for-18) with a triple and RBI...has started five of six games in right field for the Bears, hitting safely in each of those five games...was 2-for-3 Tuesday vs. San Francisco...went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...was 1-for-4 with a diving catch in right field vs. UC Irvine in the season-opener Feb. 2... is hitting .429 (3-for-7) 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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