No. 12 Cal Baseball Opens Pac-10 Play at Washington State

March 19, 2008

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Thu., Mar. 20 at Washington State, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman, Wash. 5:30 p.m.Fri., Mar. 21 at Washington State, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman, Wash.5:30 p.m.Sat., Mar. 22 at Washington State, Bailey-Brayton Field, Pullman, Wash.1:00 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 12-ranked California (13-3-1) begins its Pac-10 league schedule this week with a three-game series versus Washington State (13-5) in Pullman. Cal won three-of-four games against Loyola Marymount last week at home, and dropped a 12-6 decision to Sacramento State Tuesday Evans Diamond, while WSU last captured two-of-three at Oklahoma. Offensively, the Golden Bears feature hot-hitting senior second baseman Josh Satin, who was the Mar. 4 Pac-10 Player of the Week and is on a 21-game hitting streak, hitting safely in every game this season and the last five games of 2007. Satin is batting a team-leading .441 with three doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI. On the mound, junior right-hander Tyson Ross, this year's first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week recipient on Feb. 26 after one-hitting Kansas State with seven strikeouts in the season-opener Feb. 22, is slated to start Thursday. Besides Ross, Cal has two other preseason All-Americans, junior right-hander Matt Gorgen (2.08 ERA, two saves), who is on the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List; and junior first-baseman David Cooper, who is batting .391 with a team-leading eight home runs (including a grand slam) and 24 RBI this season. The Bears also showcase junior left-hander Craig Bennigson, and sophomores Jeff Kobernus (third base) and Blake Smith (right field, right-handed pitcher) - all honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections in 2007. Bennigson is 3-0 with a 4.50 ERA with victories over Utah Valley, San Diego State and Minnesota. Kobernus, also a 2007 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, is batting .264, but has a team-high five doubles with two home runs (including a grand slam) and 12 RBI. Smith is hitting .351 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 12 RBI. He also has five strikeouts in 3.0 innings on the mound.

SERIES RECORD: The Bears have a 36-25 all-time record against the Washington State Cougars. The Bears last won two of three games in the series (W 8-4, W 6-2, L 9-6), Mar. 30-Apr. 1, 2007 at Evans Diamond. In the last series in Pullman, Cal won two-of-three (W 9-2, L 5-4, W 6-4) Apr. 13-15, 2006.

HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 42, is in his ninth season at Cal with a career record of 243-218-1 (.527). 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.

TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo.	Pos.	Player	2008 stats31	DH	Rich Gorman, So. .279, 10 RBI, 2 HR23	3B	Jeff Kobernus, So. .264, 12 RBI, 2 HR18	1B	David Cooper, Jr. .391, 24 RBI, 8 HR3	2B	Josh Satin, Sr. .441, 20 RBI, 8 HR4	CF	Brett Jackson, So. .283, 12 RBI, 1 HR33	C	Dylan Tonneson, So. .377, 11 RBI, 1 HR37	RF	Blake Smith, So. .351, 12 RBI, 2 HR5	LF	Mark Canha, Fr. .333, 4 RBI, 0 HR26	SS	Michael Brady, Jr. .327, 11 RBI, 2 HR44	RHP	Tyson Ross, Jr. (Thu.) 2-0, 3.60 ERA27	LHP	Craig Bennigson, Jr. (Fri.) 3-0, 4.50 ERA36	LHP	Chris Petrini, So. (Sat.) 2-1, 5.12 ERA or46	RHP	Alex Rollin, Sr. (Sat.) 2-0, 3.50 ERA

PAC-10 RACE (AS OF Mar. 18)	Conference	                Overall	W	L	PCT	GB	W	L 	T	.PCTASU	0	0	.000	---	18	0	0	1.000Ariz	0	0	.000	---	12	3	0	.800CAL	0	0	.000	---	13	3	1	.794WSU	0	0	.000	---	13	5	0	.722UCLA	0	0	.000	---	10	5	0	.667Stan	0	0	.000	---	8	4	0	.667Wash	0	0	.000	---	9	6	0	.600OSU	0	0	.000	---	7	6	0	.538USC	0	0	.000	---	9	8	0	.529

NOTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Washington State Cougars, coached by Donnie Marbut (fourth year at WSU, 98-91, .518), are 13-5, last winning two of three (W 4-3, W 8-5, L 14-2) at Oklahoma Mar. 15-16. Top hitters for the Cougars include freshman designated hitter John Desmarais (.413, 1 HR, 16 RBI) and senior first baseman Jim Murphy (.343, 7 HR, 22 RBI). Washington State's tentative pitching rotation is junior right-hander Jared Prince (2-0, 5.00 ERA), senior left-hander Jayson Miller (3-0, 3.91 ERA) and TBA. In 2007, the Cougars finished 28-26 overall, 10-16 (sixth) in the Pac-10.

IMPRESSIVE ROSS: Junior team captain and 6-6 right-hander Tyson Ross - a 2008 preseason All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and Rivals.com; and a Golden Spikes and Wallace Award candidate - started the 2008 season on a high note by one-hitting Kansas State (5.0 innings, one hit, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts) to earn this season's first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award. He is coming off an outstanding 2007 summer season with the USA National Team, finishing 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA, striking out 39 batters with only seven walks in 43.2 innings. Ross picked up two victories against The Netherlands, a victory over the Dominican Republic at the PanAm Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and a victory over Japan. A first-team All-Pac-10 selection last spring, he finished 6-6 and was second in the league with a 2.49 ERA and third in the conference with 120 strikeouts in 115.2 innings. His 120 strikeouts were second on the Cal all-time single-season strikeout list and he threw at least 6.0 innings in 15 of his 17 starts, and 7.0 innings or more 11 times, including a complete game at Stanford. Ross was also named a semifinalist for the Golden Spike Award, and on Mar. 25, 2007, he was picked as the National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after striking out 16 batters (three away from the school record of 19 set by Larry Colton in 1963) with only one walk in 7.0 innings against Oral Roberts. Ross was noted for fielding as well, winning the Rawlings Gold Glove award as the nation's best fielding pitcher. For his career, Ross now has 215 strikeouts (eighth on Cal's career list) in 210.1 innings with a 2.82 career ERA.

CLUTCH HITTING COOPER: Junior left-handed first baseman David Cooper is a Baseball America preseason All-American; and a 2008 Golden Spikes and Wallace Award candidate. Cooper has started the 2008 season on fire, going 25-for-64 (.391) with three doubles, eight home runs (including a grand slam) and 24 RBI in the first 17 games. Cal's top newcomer in 2007, he was a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, where he was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team. An All-Pac-10 selection and team MVP in 2007 for the Bears, Cooper batted a team-leading .382 with a team-best 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 55 RBI. He also paced Cal with a .627 slugging percentage, 30 walks and had a .450 on-base percentage. Cooper was third in the Pac-10 in batting average, fifth in the league in slugging and on-base percentage, and seventh in the conference in home runs. In 2006, he flirted with a College World Series record with seven consecutive hits, tying Terry Francona (1980) and one short of Dave Magadan (1983) and Barry Bonds (1984). Cooper led all players at the 2006 World Series with a .533 average (8-for-15) with five RBI.

SATIN'S STORY: Senior second baseman Josh Satin is primed for a stellar final season after back-to-back summers as a Cape Cod League All-Star. Satin is currently on a 21-game hitting streak carrying over from last year, batting a team-best .441 with three doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI. He owns a .305 career average with 34 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs and 121 RBI. He 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 hit .348 with 15 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 40 RBI. He also had 77 hits, 26 multiple-hit games, a 15-game hitting streak and a team-best .434 average with runners in scoring position. Satin was the first Cal freshman to earn Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 honors since Xavier Nady was National Freshman of the Year in 1998.

STRIKEOUT CLOSER GORGEN: The Bears' other Louisville Slugger and Rivals.com preseason All-American, and third Wallace Award candidate, is hard-throwing junior closer Matt Gorgen. An honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection last season, Gorgen is one of 40 players on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List, having struck out 75 batters in 61.0 innings with a 2.51 ERA (third in the Pac-10). He also led the Pac-10 with 31 appearances, was sixth in the league with nine saves (second on the Cal all-time single season list), and 38 of his 75 strikeouts were called looking (second in the Pac-10). In 68 career appearances, Gorgen now has 117 strikeouts in 109.1 innings, and is tied for seventh (with Cal assistant coach Jon Zuber) on Cal's career save list (13 saves). His twin brother, Scott, is a standout starting pitcher at UC Irvine.

EMERGING BENNIGSON: Junior left-hander Craig Bennigson, a 2007 honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, is currently second in the Pac-10 with three victories (3-0), fifth with 26.0 innings pitched and sixth with 28 strikeouts. Bennigson struck out a career-high 10 batters Mar. 8 versus Minnesota at the Metrodome. He had some of his best performances of his career at the end of last season, finishing 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA. Bennigson had a top outing May 6, shutting out UCLA, 16-0, and throwing a career-high 8.0 innings with five hits, two walks and six strikeouts. Bennigson also pitched well in a win versus Pac-10 champion Arizona State Apr. 29, throwing 6.0 innings with five hits, one earned run, one walk and four strikeouts.

JACKSON'S ACTIONS: Sophomore center fielder Brett Jackson has started the 2008 campaign off well, batting .283 (17-for-60) with two doubles, two triples, a home run and 12 RBI. Jackson is also second in the Pac-10 with seven stolen bases. In game one of the doubleheader versus Utah Valley on Feb. 23, Jackson had a career day, hitting his first collegiate home run in the second inning, and hitting triples in both the fourth and seventh innings. On Mar. 4 against Stanford, he had a key two-run single in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie.

YOUNG PITCHERS IMPRESSIVE: The Bears have been receiving great performances from some of the newest members of their pitching staff. On Feb. 22 versus Kansas State, sophomore Daniel Wolford, a right-handed transfer from Long Beach State, helped Cal one-hit the Wildcats by throwing the final 4.0 innings with no hits, no runs, three walks and five strikeouts, earning his first save as a Bear. In six appearances this season, Wolford has yet to give up a run and has 16 strikeouts in 16.1 innings. On Mar. 11, freshman Kevin Miller picked up his first collegiate win versus San Francisco, throwing a season-high 6.0 innings with three hits, no earned runs, no walks and two strikeouts. Miller also threw well in a no decision start versus Stanford Mar. 4 (5.0 innings, five hits, no runs, one walk, four strikeouts). In seven appearances in 2008, he has not given up an earned run and has 14 strikeouts and only three walks in 19.0 innings. At the University of San Diego Tournament this season, three Cal pitchers - senior right-hander Alex Rollin, Wolford and Gorgen - combined to shut out then-No. 17-ranked San Diego, 5-0.

TONNESON'S TIME: Sophomore catcher Dylan Tonneson has done a spectacular job replacing injured junior captain Charlie Cutler (broken little finger of right hand sliding into first base in the second game of the year versus Utah Valley). Tonneson is 20-for-53 (.377) on the year with a double, a home run (first collegiate HR Tuesday versus Sacramento State) and 11 RBI, including a career-best 3-for-3 with two RBI in the Bears' 14-4 victory over then-No. 24 Fresno State in San Diego. He had three hits in Cal's 5-3 victory over No. 22 San Diego State, and three hits in last Sunday's 6-1 win over LMU, as well.

STANDOUT SMITH: Sophomore right fielder/pitcher Blake Smith is now batting .351 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 12 RBI. On Mar. 4 versus Stanford, Smith was 3-for-3 at the plate and pitched an inning in relief with no hits and two strikeouts. He then had a three-run homer versus Northern Iowa Mar. 7, and a 4-for-5 game with a double versus Minnesota Mar. 8, in the Metrodome. Last week, Smith was 6-for-16 versus LMU with two doubles, a home run and five RBI.

ROLLIN RACKING UP THE WINS: Senior right-hander Alex Rollin gathered up the wins last season, going 8-5 with a 4.91 ERA. Rollin's eight wins were the 10th-most in the Pac-10, with victories over UC Irvine, Portland, UC Santa Barbara, Indiana State, Rhode Island, Oral Roberts, Oregon State and USC. His victory against the defending national champion Beavers was his most impressive, limiting OSU to four hits and no runs in 6.0 innings. Combined with Bennigson and Gorgen, Rollin and the Bears shut out a Beaver team in Corvallis for the first time since Apr. 28, 2002. He picked up his first win this season Mar. 9 versus New Mexico at the Metrodome, throwing 5.2 innings with four hits, one earned run, one walk and four strikeouts. On Sunday, Rollin pitched 5.2 innings with six hits, one run, two walks and a season-high five strikeouts versus LMU.

CAL AMONG PAC-10 STAT LEADERS: Although it is early in the season, Cal already has put up some impressive numbers. After 17 games, Cal's pitching staff is second in the Pac-10 with a 2.90 team ERA and second in the league with a .328 team batting average. Offensively, Satin leads the Pac-10 with 30 hits, is second with seven home runs and 54 total bases, and third with a .441 batting average. Cooper leads the conference with eight home runs and is second with 24 runs scored.

BEARS PICKED FIFTH IN PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL: The Bears were tabbed fifth in the 2008 Pac-10 preseason poll behind Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and two-time defending national champion Oregon State; and ahead of Stanford, USC, Washington State and Washington. Arizona was the No. 1-ranked team in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll, and UCLA was the No. 1-ranked team in Baseball America's preseason poll. The Bears barely missed the NCAA tournament in 2007, finishing 29-26 overall and were alone in fourth place in the Pac-10 with a 12-12 record. Cal won six of their last eight games, including sweeping USC at Evans Diamond, and earlier won series against World Series qualifiers UC Irvine and Arizona State. The Bears also shut out two-time defending national champion Oregon State, 4-0, in Corvallis. Cal was the only team in the conference to win two-of-three games over Pac-10 champion ASU when the Bears upset the then-No. 7-ranked Sun Devils at Evans Diamond.

ADDITIONAL CAL NOTES: Cal is currently ranked 12th in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, and is 19th in Rivals.com...Arizona State is currently ranked No. 1, Arizona No. 2, UCLA No. 11 and Stanford No. 17 in Baseball America...the Bears' nine-game winning streak this season (Mar. 1-15) is their longest win streak since capturing nine-straight from Feb. 13-Mar. 1, 2005...Josh Satin's 21-game hitting streak is two off the Cal school-record of 23-games set by Brian Horwitz from Feb. 9-Mar. 25, 2001...sophomore designated hitter Rich Gorman led-off the bottom of the first inning with a home run in both the Mar. 15 and Mar. 16 games versus Loyola Marymount...the Bears had back-to-back-to back home runs by Jeff Kobernus (grand slam), David Cooper and Satin against LMU in game one Mar. 15...Cal has had good fortune at the Metrodome, also winning three games Mar. 6-8, 1998 when they captured the Hormel Foods Classic, defeating Connecticut, 22-8; Minnesota, 9-7; and Rutgers, 11-5...seven of the Bears' opponents this season were 2007 NCAA Regional participants - Fresno State, Missouri, San Diego and two-time defending national champion Oregon State, who visits Evans Diamond Apr. 4-6...former Bear catcher Bob Melvin (1980) was named the 2007 National League Manager of the Year for the Arizona Diamondbacks...former Cal standout Conor Jackson is a first baseman for Arizona...the 2008 Bears have two infielders, redshirt freshman Austin Booker and true freshman Brian Guinn, who are sons of former Cal standouts and pro players Rod Booker (1979-80) and Brian Guinn, Sr. (1981-83)...video of junior right-hander Tyson Ross playing for Team USA this summer is available on the left sidebar on the baseball page of calbears.com, as well as Cal players and coaches, Dan Hubbs and Jon Zuber, featured on KQED's Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball.

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).

*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.

*In 2006 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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