Feature: Bears Closer To Playoffs After Two Over Trojans

May 21, 2007

By Ryan Gorcey
Daily Californian

May 21, 2007

Berkeley, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- As the Cal baseball team celebrated to the strains of Jackie Wilson's 'Higher and Higher' echoing off the walls of Haas Pavilion, it celebrated not only a 6-1 win over USC, but what has in fact been the highest point of the season thus far. After taking two games from the Trojans and winning 10 of their last 16 games, the Bears are in prime position to make a serious run at the postseason, and some of the older Cal players are feeling the love.

'This was an awesome win and we just put ourselves into an unbelievable position,' Satin said. 'I'm excited, because we always talk about it, but now we're actually in a really good spot.'

The victory on Sunday was the Bears' fourth in a row and clinched a series win from the Trojans, with the concluding game to be played today at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond. Cal, which took a 10-day break because of finals, moved to 27-24 overall and 10-10 in the Pac-10, with four more conference games remaining to make an impression on the NCAA selection committee.

'When you've had a break as long as we've had, you're going to come out hitting the ground running or you're going to act like you haven't played in three weeks,' Cal coach David Esquer said. 'We were a little tense yesterday, but Michael Brady's big hit took us over the top.'

Brady's weekend heroics made quite an impression on USC (26-25, 8-12), as the sophomore infielder hit a game-winning home run to lead off the ninth inning on Saturday to carry the Bears to a 4-3 victory, and cracked another roundtripper in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday.

'I'm feeling really good, been swinging the bat well,' Brady said. 'These are the games we need to win to have a shot at regionals. It's getting exciting because we're picking it up and playing better than we have in the past.'

Brady's blast was one of 14 Cal hits on Sunday afternoon. Three Bears hitters went 3-for-4 on Senior Day, including senior Brett Munster, who tallied two doubles, a run and an RBI.

'It hasn't even hit me yet,' Munster said of the fact that Sunday was the second-to-last time he will play at Evans Diamond. 'It was just 'go out there and get (starting pitcher Alex) Rollin some support,' because if we can win this game and win a couple more, we've got a good shot at going to regionals.'

Satin did just that, going 3-for-4 as well, including a clutch double to touch off a two-out rally in the bottom of the first, staking Rollin to a 2-0 lead.

Rollin left the game in the seventh after USC center fielder Nick Buss lined a ball off of his pitching hand. Satin snagged the ball and threw Buss out at first, but the damage was done, as after one warm-up pitch to the backstop, Esquer decided to pull Rollin in favor of freshman Blake Smith, who tossed the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing no hits, striking out three and allowing the Bears' only walk.

'It wasn't worth taking the chance,' Esquer said. 'He's going to pitch bigger games than today, and he got us as far as we needed him to get us.'

(C) 2007 Daily Californian via CSTV U-WIRE

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