2010 Cal Baseball in Review; Golden Bears in NCAAs For Second Time in Last Three Years
June 23, 2010
The 2010 California baseball team - which featured a talented offensive attack, stellar starting pitching and impressive group of newcomers - brought David Esquer's program its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last three years. Despite bowing out in two games at the Norman (Okla.) Regional, the young Golden Bears gave Cal fans plenty to cheer about and optimism for the future.
The Bears received an at-large berth into the 2010 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament and entered the Norman Regional as the No. 2-seeded team. Cal dropped a 12-3 decision to North Carolina and a 9-8 heartbreaker (on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning) to Oral Roberts to end the 2010 campaign. However, the Bears had two impressive comebacks in their final contest, coming back from deficits of 6-1 and 8-6 with the help of home runs from junior second baseman Brian Guinn and sophomore center fielder Chad Bunting in the sixth inning, and a 3-for-5 day from freshman right fielder
. Bunting also knocked in the game-tying RBI in the top of the ninth inning to knot the score at 8-8.
'Making a regional was something I felt our team deserved,' said Esquer, who led Cal to its third regional in his 11th season directing the Bears. 'And having eight teams selected from the Pac-10 shows the respect I think our conference de-served. This years' team was one of the youngest teams I have ever fielded, but it was the hardest working team I have ever fielded. It felt great to have them be rewarded for their efforts.'
During the season Cal recorded three sweeps against Pac-10 opponents (Arizona, USC, Oregon State) and had victories over Top-25 opponents Rice, Arkansas and Stanford; reaching a top ranking of 15th in the nation by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
The Bears had four players - junior first baseman Mark Canha, sophomore catcher Chadd Krist, freshman left-hander Justin Jones and Renda - named first-team All-Pac-10. Guinn was selected the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, while sophomores Marcus Semien (shortstop), Erik Johnson (right-hander) and
(outfielder) were honorable mention all-league. Jones and Renda were also picked as Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-Americans, the first time in school history Cal had two players in the same season earn freshman All-America honors.
Renda was extremely productive the last two weeks of the season, going an impressive 13-for-21 (.619) with five doubles, four RBI and 18 total bases. He finished his first collegiate year as the Bears' leading hitter with a .373 average, third-best in the Pac-10. Renda was ranked in the Top-10 in the conference in doubles (fourth, 21), triples (fifth, 4), runs (fifth, 55), hits (sixth, 81), stolen bases (eighth, 13) and total bases (eighth, 119).
Renda's 21 doubles tied him for third on the school's all-time list and he recorded 37 RBI with a .548 slugging percentage and a .427 on-base percentage as well, earning 2010 Norman (Okla.) Regional All-Tournament honors.
Jones was third in the Pac-10 with 10 wins (10-6, 4.22 ERA), sixth with 30 strikeouts looking and eighth with 98.0 innings pitched. He was a part of two shutouts and threw two complete games, including a 6-4 victory March 12 at No. 9-ranked Rice. Jones' 10 victories as a freshman tied him for sixth on the Cal all-time single-season list.
A two-time All-Pac-10 honoree, Canha was selected in the seventh round by the Florida Marlins in 2010 Major League Amateur Draft. He completed the 2010 season batting .319 with 11 doubles and 10 home runs (including three grand slams), and led the Pac-10 with 69 RBI. His 69 RBI is fourth on the Bears' all-time single-season list. For his career, Canha has a .333 average with 30 doubles, a triple, 22 home runs and 118 RBI. He was 2010 second-team Pac-10 All-Academic as well, majoring in economics.
Krist was a huge part of Cal's success this past season, hitting .344 with 15 doubles, three triples and was fifth in the Pac-10 with 10 home runs. He also had 44 RBI and started 53 games behind the plate for the Bears. Guinn became the first Cal player to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors, starting 52 games at second base, registering a .978 field percentage, while committing just six errors and helping turn 47 double plays. In addition, he batted .327 with 12 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 15 stolen bases and 30 RBI. He was drafted in the 11th round and signed with the San Diego Padres.
The Bear hitters finished with a .319 team batting average, third-best in the Pac-10 and the school's highest team batting average since a .321 team average in 1991. Semien (.328, 17-2B, 2-3B, 4-HR, 34 RBI), Bunting (.325, 6-2B, 3B, 4-HR, 29 RBI) and Oh (.294, 11-2B, 2-3B, 2-HR, 30 RB) provided several of the big hits during the year.
Cal pitchers notched seven shutouts, the most shutouts since 1978, and featured starters Johnson (6-3, 4.09 ERA, 73 strikeouts in 77.0 innings), Jones and redshirt sophomore right-hander
(5-4, 5.17 ERA). Anderson was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Orioles and was CoSida District 8 All-Academic and first-team Pac-10 All-Academic.
Other notables for the 2010 Bears was junior right-hander Brian Diemer getting drafted in the sixth round and signing with the Los Angeles Angeles, senior right-hander Daniel Wolford getting drafted in the 14th round and signing with the Cincinnati Reds, and senior left-hander
signing a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Seeing action in 17 games in relief and going 1-2 with a 2.12 ERA and two saves, Diemer struck out the side against North Carolina in the Norman Regional, and had 24 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Diemer is an outstanding student, majoring in business administration and earning second-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors.
Wolford, who transferred to Cal from Long Beach State in 2008, finished the 2010 season 1-1 with a 6.26 ERA and a save, and had 15 strikeouts in 23.0 innings. He concluded his college career on a high note when he struck out a pair of North Carolina batters, and finished three seasons with the Bears recording 84 strikeouts in 85.1 innings. Petrini has been involved in some of the top pitching performances in school history, competing in 57 games with 22 starts, 11 wins and recording 129 strikeouts in 173.2 innings. Last season he ended the 2009 campaign by throwing a complete-game, two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout of USC, and this year he pitched a seven inning shutout of Stanford.
In 11 seasons directing the Bears, Esquer has seen 57 of his players selected in the draft, including four, first-round draft picks - Conor Jackson in 2003, Brandon Morrow in 2006, David Cooper in 2008 and Brett Jackson in 2009. Cal baseball currently has eight former players on Major League rosters, tying LSU for the most players in the Big Leagues of any school in the nation.