Cal Baseball Travels to UCLA for Three-Game Pac-10 Series
May 7, 2009
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., May 8 at UCLA Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif. 6:00 p.m.Sat., May 9 at UCLA Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif. 2:00 p.m.Sun., May 10 at UCLA Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif. 1:00 p.m.
RADIO: KALX Radio (90.7 FM) will broadcast the May 8-10 Cal-UCLA games. Gametracker available on www.CalBears.com.
BEAR NOTES: Cal (20-26, 6-15) travels to UCLA (23-22, 13-8) this weekend for a three-game conference series at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Golden Bears, looking to capture their first Pac-10 road series of the season, will be facing a Bruins squad that sits in second place in the conference standings with a 13-8 league mark. Cal has been led offensively lately by junior second baseman Jeff Kobernus, who was named the April 20 Pac-10 Player of the Week, after going 11-for-19 (.579), with two doubles, three home runs (including a grand slam) and 12 RBI versus Stanford, UC Davis and Oregon. Kobernus is currently batting .347 with 12 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 37 RBI, and leads the Bears with 14 stolen bases. Cal's other Pac-10 Player of the Week recipient this season is sophomore outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha, who leads the Bears with a .380 average with a team-high 12 home runs and 42 RBI. Canha, the March 3 Pac-10 POW after Cal's sweep at Long Beach State, is also first in the Pac-10 with 68 hits and 120 total bases. He had a career-high 19-game hitting streak from March 9-April 10 and has hit safely in 42 of 46 games this season. The Bears lead the conference with 61 home runs and 807 total bases, and are second behind Arizona (.317) with a .302 team batting average. On the mound Cal's Friday starter is freshman right-hander Erik Johnson, who is 3-5 with a 5.19 ERA and has 47 strikeouts (second on the team) in 50.1 innings. Johnson, who started the season as a closer and is eighth in the Pac-10 with four saves, threw 7.1 innings with a career-high seven strikeouts April 24 versus Arizona State after an 8.0 innings effort with six strikeouts in a victory over Oregon April 17. Nine of the Bears' opponents this season, including UCLA, were 2008 NCAA Regional participants. Cal's 2009 schedule is considered the nation's third toughest by Boyd's World, behind UCLA and Stanford.
SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 168-161 all-time record against UCLA, last winning one of three games (L 8-0, L 7-0, W 7-6 in 10 innings), May 23-25, 2008 at Evans Diamond. The last time the teams played at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Bears won one of three games (L 13-6, L 7-2, W 16-0) May 4-6, 2007.
HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 43, (10th season, 283-262-2, .519) was the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after the Bears went 34-25 and played in the Baton Rouge Regional (1-2). Last year, Cal was 33-21-2 and competed in the Long Beach Regional (0-2). Forty five Bears have signed pro contracts under Esquer, including first round picks David Cooper (1B, Toronto, 17th overall) in 2008, Brandon Morrow (RHP, Seattle, fifth overall) in 2006 and Conor Jackson (INF., Arizona, 19th overall) in 2003. Esquer came to Cal after serving as top assistant at Pepperdine (1996-99), and No. 2 assistant at Stanford (1991-96). A shortstop at Stanford (1984-87), he started on the 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors. Esquer played professionally for four seasons with Baltimore, California and Milwaukee.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo. Pos. Player 2009 stats4 CF Brett Jackson, Jr. .326, 29 RBI, 7 HR2 SS Brian Guinn, So. .324, 32 RBI, 2 HR5 1B Mark Canha, So. .380, 42 RBI, 12 HR23 2B Jeff Kobernus, Jr. .347, 37 RBI, 7 HR37 DH Blake Smith, Jr. .321, 35 RBI, 10 HR26 3B Michael Brady, Sr. .265, 23 RBI, 4 HR19 RF Danny Oh, Fr. .292, 31 RBI, 6 HR33 C Dylan Tonneson, Jr. .267, 17 RBI, 7 HR11 LF Dwight Tanaka, So. .262, 7 RBI, 0 HR35 RHP Erik Johnson, Fr. (Fri.) 3-5, 5.19 ERA TBA (Sat. and Sun.)
PAC-10 RACE (AS OF MAY 7) Conference Overall W L PCT GB W L T .PCTASU 16 5 .762 --- 35 11 0 .761UCLA 13 8 .619 3.0 23 22 0 .511OSU 11 7 .611 3.5 28 12 0 .700WSU 11 7 .611 3.5 22 20 0 .524Wash 10 8 .556 4.5 21 23 0 .477Stan 10 11 .476 6.0 23 20 0 .535USC 10 11 .476 6.0 23 23 0 .500Ariz 8 13 .278 8.0 22 23 0 .489CAL 6 15 .286 10.0 20 26 0 .435Ore 4 14 .222 10.5 14 31 0 .311
NOTING UCLA: The UCLA Bruins, coached by John Savage (fifth year at UCLA, 137-143, .489), are 23-22 (13-8) after winning two of three (L 3-2, W 6-2, W 8-1) last weekend at Oregon and winning, 15-2, versus CS Bakersfield Tuesday in Los Angeles. Top hitters for the Bruins are junior designated hitter Casey Haerther (.331, 8 HR, 35 RBI), senior first baseman Cody Decker (.314, 15 HR, 38 RBI) and junior center fielder Blair Dunlap (.283, 6 HR, 31 RBI). UCLA's tentative pitching rotation is freshman right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-4, 3.64 ERA), freshman right-hander Trevor Bauer (7-3, 2.53 ERA) and junior right-hander Charles Brewer (3-4, 3.60 ERA). Last season, the Bruins finished 33-27 overall, 13-11 (third) in the Pac-10 and 2-2 at the NCAA Fullerton, Calif. Regional.
JACKSON'S HONORS: Junior center fielder Brett Jackson has been named a 2009 first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America, is on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List and is a preseason All-Pac-10 selection by Baseball America and Rivals.com. Jackson is Cal's first, first-team preseason All-America selection since outfielder Brennan Boesch in 2006. Earlier he was named the nation's 13th best player by The College Baseball Blog. Jackson was honorable mention All-Pac-10 last season, and was also selected the eighth-best prospect out of the Cape Cod League by Baseball America, hitting .238 with six doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI and eight stolen bases this past summer for the Cotuit Kettleers. Last spring, he batted .307 (62-for-202, .302 versus the Pac-10) with seven doubles, four triples (fourth in the Pac-10), four home runs and 40 RBI for the Bears. Jackson led the team with 12 stolen bases (eighth in the Pac-10) and hit his first career grand slam May 2 versus Arizona. He finished the year batting .333 (23-for-69) with runners in scoring position. Jackson was a 2008 honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic selection as well, majoring in sociology (now an art major). This season, he is batting .326 (62-for-190) with 17 doubles (2nd in Pac-10), four triples (4th in Pac-10), seven home runs and 29 RBI. Jackson is fifth in the Pac-10 in hits (62), fourth in total bases (108) and 10th in runs (39).
MULTI-TALENTED SMITH: Junior left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder/pitcher/first baseman Blake Smith is a second-team preseason All-American utility player in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, and is on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Earlier Smith was named the nation's 16th best player, according to The College Baseball Blog. Additionally, he was named the seventh best prospect from Team USA by Baseball America in early September. Smith was instrumental in the USA Baseball National (Collegiate) Team capturing the gold medal at the IV FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic this past summer as the USA squad topped Japan, 1-0 in 12 innings for the title on July 27. He not only helped pace Team USA to an undefeated 24-0 record, he was the team's leading hitter during the national team's summer tour with a .327 average. Smith finished the summer 18-for-55 (.327) overall with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBI in 20 games. He was also one of the national team's top relievers, sporting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and two saves, striking out 11 batters with only three hits and three walks in 9.0 innings. Another highlight for Smith was hitting a home run versus the Cuban squad that competed in the Beijing Olympics. Last spring, Smith batted .296 with 11 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 43 RBI for Cal. On the mound, he was 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA and had 36 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. Smith also threw two runners out at the plate from right field during the year and hit a two-run homer against Long Beach State at the NCAA Regional in Long Beach. This season, he is 59-for-184 (.321) at the plate (team-leading .354 versus Pac-10) with 14 doubles (7th in Pac-10), 10 home runs (9th in Pac-10) and 35 RBI. On the mound, Smith (0-1) has 26 strikeouts in 20.0 innings with a 5.85 ERA and two saves. He has also thrown two runners out at the plate from right field (March 4 versus San Francisco, March 14 versus Cal Poly).
CANHA'S CONTRIBUTIONS: Sophomore outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha is having a breakout year, leading the Bears with a .380 average (68-for-179, 3rd in Pac-10) and has hit safely in 42 of 46 games. Canha has 14 doubles (7th in Pac-10), leads the Pac-10 with 68 hits and 120 total bases, and is third with a .670 slugging percentage. He also has 12 home runs (4th in Pac-10), 42 RBI (4th in Pac-10) and a .460 on-base percentage (7th in Pac-10). He was the March 3 Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 9-for-20 (.450) with seven runs, two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in Cal's wins over Vanderbilt (4-3), at Santa Clara (12-2) and three-game sweep at Long Beach State (11-8, 9-6, 6-3). Canha leads the team with 22 multiple hit and 11 multiple RBI games.
KOBERNUS WATCH: Junior Jeff Kobernus has shown versatility. As a freshman, Kobernus played in the Bears' outfield after staring as a shortstop in high school, earning Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors after batting .331 with five doubles, a triple, a home run and 22 RBI. Last season, he moved to third base and hit .303 with 13 doubles, two triples, three home runs (including a grand slam against Loyola Marymount) with 27 RBI. This year Kobernus is Cal's second baseman, batting .347 (66-for-190) with 12 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 37 RBI. He is second in the Pac-10 with 66 hits, fifth with 14 stolen bases, seventh with 101 total bases and 10th with a .347 average. Kobernus was the April 20 Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 11-for-19 (.579), with two doubles, three home runs (including a grand slam) and 12 RBI in games at Stanford, at UC Davis and the three-game series versus Oregon. He had a career-high 14-game hitting streak (27-for-55, .491, 5-2B, 5-HR, 19 RBI) from April 9-May 1. On Feb. 23, Kobernus had the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning in the Bears' 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt.
GUINN'S GAME: Sophomore shortstop Brian Guinn, who was named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List as one of the nation's top shortstops on April 29, had a career-high 15-game hitting streak from March 9-April 3 (23-for-56, .411, 6-2B, 2-3B, 12 RBI) and is now batting .324 (56-for-173) with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs and 32 RBI. Guinn also has 56 hits (10th in Pac-10), scored 36 runs and is leading the Bears with a .377 average (23-for-61) with runners in scoring position. He had a career-game April 15 at UC Davis, going 5-for-7 with two, three-run homers. Guinn also had a big game Feb. 25 at Santa Clara, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored, a double and three RBI. He has 17 multiple-hit games, eight multiple-RBI games and nine stolen bases.
MASTERFUL MILLER: Sophomore right-hander Kevin Miller was a 2008 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American last season, as well as honorable mention All-Pac-10, finishing 6-1 with a 2.90 ERA. He had 68 strikeouts in 71.1 innings and started his college career not giving up an earned run in his first 44.0 innings on the mound. Miller was second in the Pac-10 with a 2.90 ERA and a .196 opponent batting average. Miller's top games in `08 included a career-high eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings versus Washington on Apr. 19, and defeating two-time defending national champion Oregon State in relief (6.2 innings, seven strikeouts). He had 21 appearances (five starts), picking up six straight wins from March 11 through May 11. This season, Miller (2-2) has 39 strikeouts (21 looking, 5th in Pac-10) in 46.2 innings with a 3.47 ERA. He earned his first collegiate save March 25 versus Santa Clara (3.2 innings, five hits, one earned run, one walk, two strikeouts) and picked up the win March 31 versus USF (5.2 innings, five hits, one run, two walks, six strikeouts) at AT&T Park during the Dante Benedetti Classic. On April 19 versus Oregon, Miller threw a career-high 7.0 innings with two hits, one run, two walks and four strikeouts.
OH'S HEROICS: Freshman outfielder Danny Oh ( Mill Creek, Wash.) hit a two-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning Feb. 20 in the Bears' season-opening 8-7 win over UC Riverside. Oh is batting .292 (49-for-168), with five doubles, two triples, six home runs and 31 RBI. He was impressive Feb. 25 at Santa Clara, going 4-for-5 with four RBI; was 4-for-5 with an RBI March 17 at Pacific and hit a grand slam April 9 at Washington.
FLEMER'S DEBUT: In one of the best debut in Cal history, freshman right-hander Matt Flemer (El Cerrito, Calif.) threw 6.1 innings with four hits, two runs, no walks and 13 strikeouts Feb. 25 at Santa Clara. Flemer's 13 strikeouts were the most K's for a Bear hurler since Tyson Ross struck out 16 Oral Roberts batters March 22, 2007. Flemer yielded a lead-off HR to the first hitter he faced, but then retired 19 of the next 20 batters. He earned a save in his second outing Feb. 28 at Long Beach State (2.0 innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, three strikeouts). Flemer is 3-3 with a save and has 46 strikeouts (22 looking, 4th in Pac-10) in 47.2 innings.
DIEMER DELIEVERS: Another strong pitching performance from a young Cal player was sophomore right-hander Brian Diemer Feb. 23 versus Vanderbilt. Diemer, who only made five appearances last season, threw a career-high 7.2 innings with three hits, three runs, one walk and eight strikeouts against the Commodores. He threw 6.0 innings with five hits, two earned runs, four walks and a career-high nine strikeouts March 22 versus Stanford. Diemer earned his first collegiate save April 25 versus Arizona State (3.2 innings, three hits, one run, no walks, five strikeouts).
YOUNG ACE JOHNSON: Freshman right-hander Erik Johnson (Los Altos, Calif.) has established himself as one of the Bears' top pitchers. Johnson (3-5) is eighth in the Pac-10 with four saves in 16 appearances (seven starts), while striking out 47 batters in 50.1 innings. He picked up a save Feb. 20 versus UC Riverside (1.1 innings, one strikeout) and a win Feb. 23 versus Vanderbilt (1.1 innings, three strikeouts). Johnson earned two saves at Long Beach State (Feb. 27-28) and March 4 versus San Francisco. He won in a March 29 start versus Washington State (career-high 6.0 innings, six hits, one earned run, four strikeouts) and an April 17 start versus Oregon (career-high 8.0 innings, six hits, one run, one walk and a career-high six strikeouts).
CAL BITS: Cal head coach David Esquer has mentored seven All-Americans since 2000, including three freshman All-Americans in the last four years...last season, second baseman Josh Satin was Cal's first, first-team All-American in Baseball America since Troy Penix in 1992, and first baseman David Cooper was a member of four different All-America teams...in 2008, the Bears twice defeated eventual national champion Fresno State (14-4 in San Diego, 5-4 in Berkeley)...Cal was predicted by Baseball America to qualify for the 2009 NCAA Austin, Texas Regional as the No. 3 seed team behind Texas and Arkansas and ahead of Texas-San Antonio...Cal was looking for back-to-back regional appearances for the first time since 1991-92 under former head coach Bob Milano...Milano, who guided the Bears from 1978-1999 and led them to three College World Series (third place finish in 1980), will be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in January, 2010...he will join Clint Evans and George Wolfman as Cal coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame...Evans led the Bears to the first-ever CWS title in 1947 and Wolfman guided Cal to the 1957 national championship...the Bears have two sophomore infielders, Austin Booker and Guinn, who are sons of former Cal standouts and professional ballplayers Rod Booker (1979-80) and Brian Guinn, Sr. (1981-83), while freshman infielder Marcus Semien is the son of former Cal wide receiver Damian Semien (1990-93)...Booker (.292, 7-for-24) hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season Feb. 21 (game one) against UC Riverside and scored the winning run in the Bears' 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt...redshirt freshman Chad Bunting is 3-for-10 this season with two of his three hits being home runs and the other hit a double for a 1.000 slugging percentage...
DID YOU KNOW?
*Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947, defeating former President George H.W. Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
*The Golden Bears have had two players become league MVPs in professional baseball - Jackie Jensen (1947, 49) 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 - the highest draft pick in Cal history.