Cal Baseball Visits Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara

Feb. 23, 2007

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Fri., Feb. 23 at Long Beach State Blair Field 6:30 p.m.Sat., Feb. 24 at Long Beach State Blair Field 2:00 p.m.Sun., Feb. 25 at UC Santa Barbara Uyesaka Stadium 1:00 p.m.Mon., Feb. 26 at UC Santa Barbara Uyesaka Stadium 2:00 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: The 2007 California baseball team (5-5) has a unique road trip this weekend after playing nine of its first 10 games at home. The Golden Bears travel to No. 20-ranked (Collegiate Baseball) Long Beach State (6-4) for games Friday and Saturday, before moving up north for games Sunday and Monday at UC Santa Barbara (3-3). Cal had success versus both the 49ers and the Gauchos last season, winning two of three versus LBSU, and sweeping UCSB at Evans Diamond. Despite losing their last three games, each by one run (3-2 to UNLV, 11-10 to UNLV, 9-8 at San Jose State), a bright spot for the Bears has been the play of freshman designated hitter Jeff Kobernus and freshman right fielder Blake Smith. Kobernus was 8-for-13 (.615) versus UNLV with two RBI, while Smith was 6-for-10 with a two-run double and threw a runner out at the plate against the Rebels. Kobernus and Smith are currently leading Cal with .455 and .419 averages, respectively. On the mound, sophomore left-hander Craig Bennigson picked up the Bears' 8-4 win over UNLV Feb. 16 in only his third collegiate start, throwing a career-high 6.0 innings with three hits, one run, three walks and a career-high six strikeouts. Other players of note for Cal are sophomore first baseman David Cooper and sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross. Cooper, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton and a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team, is batting .405 with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI. Ross, on the Wallace Watch List as a candidate for national player of the year, suffered the 3-2 loss to UNLV Feb. 17, but still has 13 strikeouts in a team-high 20.3 innings with a 1.77 ERA. As a team, Cal is hitting .307 overall and .406 (43-for-106) with runners in scoring position.

SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 27-24 all-time series record against the Long Beach State 49ers. In the last series, the Bears won two-of-three at Evans Diamond, Feb. 10-12, 2006 (L 7-6, W 3-2, W 4-1). Cal has a 42-15 all-time series record against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. In the last series, the Bears swept the Gauchos (3-0, 4-2, 2-0) at Evans Diamond, Feb. 24-26, 2006.

HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 41, is in his eighth season at Cal with a career record of 206-194 (.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	2007 stats10	3B	Stephen Carlson, Sr. .375, 1 RBI, 0 HR3	2B	Josh Satin, Jr. .279, 12 RBI, 1 HR18	1B	David Cooper, So. .405, 11 RBI, 2 HR29	LF	Ryan Hanlon, So. .333, 5 RBI, 1 HR37	RF	Blake Smith, Fr. .419, 3 RBI, 0 HR23	DH	Jeff Kobernus, Fr. .455, 7 RBI, 0 HR24	CF	Michael Capbarat, So. .250, 5 RBI, 0 HR16	C	Charlie Cutler, So. .143, 4 RBI, 1 HR5	SS	Brett Munster, Sr. .333, 6 RBI, 0 HR44	RHP	Tyson Ross, So. (Fri.) 1-1, 1.77 ERA		TBA (Sat., Sun., Mon.)

PAC-10 RACE (AS OF Feb. 21)	Conference	                Overall	W	L	PCT	GB	W	L 	.PCTOSU	0	0	.000	---	9	1	.900Ariz	0	0	.000	---	9	2	.818ASU	0	0	.000	---	7	3	.700WSU	0	0	.000	---	2	1	.666UCLA	0	0	.000	---	6	5	.545USC	0	0	.000	---	7	6	.538CAL	0	0	.000	---	5	5	.500Stan	0	0	.000	---	4	5	.444Wash	0	0	.000	---	0	3	.000

NOTING LONG BEACH STATE AND UC SANTA BARBARA: The No. 20-ranked (Collegiate Baseball) Long Beach State 49ers, coached by Mike Weathers (sixth year, 192-115, .625), are 6-4, winning one-of-three games at Rice (W 4-3, L 11-2, L 2-1) last weekend and defeating UCLA, 14-1, Tuesday. Top hitters for the 49ers are senior center fielder Robert Perry (.343, 0 HR, 5 RBI), senior second baseman Matt Cline (.321, 0 HR, 3 RBI) and sophomore shortstop Danny Espinosa (.300, 1 HR, 7 RBI). Long Beach State's tentative pitching rotation is sophomore right-hander Vance Worley (0-0, 3.86 ERA) and senior left-hander Omar Arif (1-2, 2.20 ERA). In 2006, Long Beach State finished 29-27 overall and 12-9 (second) in the Big West Conference. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, coached by Bob Brontsema (14th year, 351-351, .500), are 3-3, winning one-of-three games hosting Hawaii (W 3-1, L 5-1, L 9-2) last weekend and defeating Westmont, 11-2, Tuesday. Top hitters for the Gauchos are junior center fielder Chris Fox (.467, 0 HR, 2 RBI), senior first baseman Robbie Blauer (.391, 0 HR, 3 RBI) and freshman second baseman Matt Valaika (.350, 1 HR, 4 RBI). UC Santa Barbara's tentative pitching rotation is senior right-hander Steve Morlock (1-1, 0.64 ERA) and senior left-hander Jeff Braun (0-1, 2.70 ERA). In 2006, UC Santa Barbara was 26-28 overall and 9-12 (fifth tie) in the Big 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. His career record is now 7-5 with 98 strikeouts in 105.0 innings and a 2.91 ERA. Ross is currently fifth in the Pac-10 in innings pitched (20.3), eighth in strikeouts (13) and ninth in ERA (1.77).

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 Feb. 13 versus San Francisco and currently is batting .405 and leads the Bears with 15 hits, two home runs and a .649 slugging percentage. Baseball America selected Cooper as the nation's ninth-best transfer in its 2007 College Preview.

KOBERNUS COMING THROUGH: Freshman designated hitter Jeff Kobernus is beginning his college career in impressive fashion as he is batting a team-leading .455 (15-for-33) with two doubles and seven RBI. Kobernus also paces the Bears with five multiple hit games, 15 hits, four stolen bases and a .486 on-base percentage. In last weekend's series against UNLV, he was 8-for-13 (.615), including a career-high 4-for-6 with two RBI Feb. 18. Kobernus, a 6-2, 185-pounder, was an All-East Bay shortstop at Bishop O'Dowd High School, where he was teammates with sophomore right-hander Tyson Ross.

STANDOUT SMITH: Freshman right fielder Blake Smith, who has excelled both offensively and defensively, is another one of Cal's top freshman. Smith is second on the Bears with a .419 average (13-for-31) with a double, triple and three RBI. He has started nine of the team's 10 games in right field, where he has already made a diving catch in the Feb. 2 season-opener versus UC Irvine, and threw a runner out at the plate Feb. 18 versus UNLV. Smith is tied for the team-lead with Kobernus with a .486 on-base percentage. A 6-2, 200-pound left-handed hitter, Smith was an All-District third baseman at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto.

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 hit safely in nine of the Bears' first 10 games.

SATIN'S STORY: Junior second baseman Josh Satin is providing the Bears with some solid offensive numbers this season, batting .279 and leading the team with four doubles and 12 RBI from the No. 2 spot in the batting order. 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, Satin had a .348 average with 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.

STEADY MUNSTER: Senior shortstop Brett Munster is having the best season of his college career, batting .333 with two doubles and six RBI. Munster is one of only two seniors on Cal's 2007 roster, along with third baseman Stephen Carlson (.375, 3B, RBI). He started the season on a career-high six-game hitting streak (6-for-17, .353, 2B, four RBI) and is currently hitting .545 (6-for-11) with runners in scoring position. Munster has knocked in an RBI for the Bears in six of 10 games this season.

EMERGING BENNIGSON: Sophomore left-hander Craig Bennigson had a big game on the mound versus UNLV Feb. 17, picking up his first collegiate victory in only his third collegiate start. Bennigson threw a career-high 6.0 innings with a career-high six strikeouts against the Rebels. He is currently 1-1 and is second in the Pac-10 with a 0.61 ERA in 14.7 innings. Bennigson also leads the Bears with 14 strikeouts (sixth in the Pac-10), and was able to strikeout the side with the bases loaded in the eighth inning Tuesday night at San Jose State.

BEARS' 2006 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: Cal is currently fourth in the Pac-10 with a team batting average of .307 and eighth with a team ERA of 4.56...the Bears' team fielding percentage is third in the conference at .973...of Cal's five losses this season, four have been by one run...the Bears lost 12, one-run games in 2006...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., LHP: 1-1 with a 0.61 ERA (2nd in Pac-10) and a team-high 14 strikeouts (6th in Pac-10) in 14.7 innings...opponents are batting .163 against him (7th in Pac-10)...struck out the side with the bases loaded Tuesday in relief at San Jose State...picked up first collegiate win Feb. 17 vs. UNLV, throwing a career-high 6.0 innings with three hits, one run, three walks and a career-high six strikeouts...had three strikeouts in 3.0 innings Feb. 11 vs. Portland...

Michael Capbarat, SO., OF: Batting .250 (3-for-12) with a triple and five RBI...had a two-run triple Tuesday at San Jose State...was 1-for-3 with an RBI vs. UNLV Feb. 18...went 1-for-3 with an RBI vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is batting .750 (3-for-4) with runners in scoring position...

Stephen Carlson, SR., 3B: Batting .375 (6-for-16) with a triple and an RBI...has four starts at third base and one as designated hitter...went 2-for-5 Tuesday at San Jose State...was 2-for-3 with an RBI vs. Portland Feb. 11...is batting .500 (1-for-2) with runners in scoring position...

David Cooper, SO., 1B: Batting .405 (15-for-37) with three doubles, two home runs (5th in Pac-10) and 11 RBI...leads the Bears with a .649 slugging percentage and is ninth in the Pac-10 with 24 total bases and 15 hits...hit a two-run homer Tuesday at San Jose State...was 1-for-4 with a double and three RBI vs. UNLV Feb. 16...went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a two-run homer Feb. 13 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 batting .545 (6-for-11) with runners in scoring position...

Charlie Cutler, SO., C: Batting .143 (4-for-28) with a double, home run and four RBI...had a two-run double vs. UNLV Feb. 16...hit his first collegiate home run in his first at-bat of the 2007 season vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...has started nine of 10 games behind the plate...

Dane Ferguson, SO., RHP: 1-0 with a 5.59 ERA in five appearances (4th in Pac-10)...threw a career-high 4.3 innings vs. UNLV Feb. 18...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: 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and a save...has six strikeouts in 6.0 innings...had four strikeouts in 2.0 innings vs. UNLV Feb. 16...earned save (1.0 inning, one hit, one run) vs. Portland Feb. 11...

Taylor Grigsby, JR., OF: Batting .357 (5-for-14) with two RBI...is 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter...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 .500 (2-for-4) with runners in scoring position...

Ryan Hanlon, SO., OF: Batting .333 (13-for-39) with two doubles, a home run and five RBI...has hit safely in nine of 10 games...was 2-for-5 with an RBI Tuesday at San Jose State...went 2-for-4 with a career-high three runs vs. UNLV Feb. 18...had a career-high seven-game hitting streak to start the season (9-for-26, .346, 2-2B, HR, four RBI)...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 .308 (4-for-13) with runners in scoring position...

Jeff Kobernus, FR., OF/INF: Batting a team-leading .455 (15-for-33, 7th in Pac-10) with two doubles and seven RBI...leads the Bears with five multiple-hit games, 15 hits (9th in Pac-10), and a .486 on-base percentage...also leads Cal with four stolen bases (3rd in Pac-10)...has started nine of 10 games as designated hitter and is on a four-game hitting streak...had an RBI double Tuesday at San Jose State...was a career-high 4-for-6 with two RBI vs. UNLV Feb. 18...went 3-for-5 vs. UNLV Feb. 17...was 4-for-7 with a double and two RBI in two games vs. Portland Feb. 11...in first collegiate contest was 2-for-4 vs. UC Irvine Feb. 2...is batting .500 (4-for-8) with runners in scoring position...

Brett Munster, SR., SS: Batting .333 (10-for-30) with two doubles and six RBI...has an RBI in six of 10 games...was 2-for-4 with an RBI double Tuesday at San Jose State...went 2-for-5 with an RBI vs. UNLV Feb. 18...started the season on a career-high six-game hitting streak (6-for-17, .353, 2B, four RBI)...had an RBI double vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...is hitting .545 (6-for-11) with runners in scoring position...

Alex Rollin, JR., RHP: 2-0 with a 5.65 ERA...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)...

Tyson Ross, SO., RHP: 1-1 with 1.77 ERA (9th in Pac-10), and 13 strikeouts (8th in Pac-10) in a team-high 20.3 innings (5th in Pac-10)...lost Feb. 17 vs. UNLV (season-high 7.3 innings, three runs, two earned runs, three walks, three strikeouts)...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)...last season against Long Beach State threw 6.0 innings with a career-high nine strikeouts with six hits, one earned run and four walks Feb. 12...slated to start Friday at Long Beach State...

Josh Satin, JR., INF: Batting .279 (12-for-43) with a team-high four doubles (7th in Pac-10), a home run and a team-high 12 RBI (6th in Pac-10)...is on a five-game hitting streak from Feb. 13...had an RBI double vs. UNLV Feb. 18...went 2-for-4 with three RBI vs. UNLV Feb. 16...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...along with David Cooper leads Cal with four multiple RBI games...is batting .357 (5-for-14) with runners in scoring position...

Blake Smith, FR., OF/INF: Batting .419 (13-for-31) with a double, a triple and three RBI...has started nine of 10 games in right field for the Bears and leads the team with a .486 on-base percentage...began the season hitting safely in his first eight college games...went 6-for-10 with a double and two RBI in the UNLV series Feb. 16-18, including going a career-high 3-for-4 with an RBI double Feb. 18...was 2-for-3 Feb. 13 vs. San Francisco...went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple vs. UC Irvine Feb. 3...threw a runner out at the plate Feb. 18 vs. UNLV, and had a diving catch vs. UC Irvine in the season-opener Feb. 2...is batting .500 (5-for-10) with runners in scoring position...

Dylan Tonneson, FR., C: Batting .333 (3-for-9) with two RBI...started first game behind the plate Tuesday at San Jose State, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single...came off the bench to go 1-for-2 vs. UNLV Feb. 18, and 1-for-2 with an RBI vs. San Francisco Feb. 13... is batting .500 (2-for-4) 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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