Cal Baseball Preseason Notes
Jan. 21, 2003
BERKELEY, CA -
2003 QUICK OUTLOOK
Cal, picked 25th in Collegiate Baseball's Preseason Poll, will be led by two preseason All-Americans, junior third baseman Conor Jackson and junior right-hander Matt Brown. The Bears also return 11 other players who were members of Cal's 2001 NCAA Regional Squad. The Bears are predicted to be a NCAA Regional team by Baseball America and are selected to finish fourth behind USC, Arizona State and Stanford in the Pac-10 Coaches Preseason Poll.
HEAD COACH DAVID ESQUER
David Esquer, Fourth year at Cal. 88-80 (.524).Esquer, the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is the youngest coach in the Pac-10 and has seen 15 of his Cal players go on to the professional ranks. In his playing and coaching career, Esquer has been involved in nine NCAA Regionals, two College World Series and one National Championship.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Conor Jackson, third base, JR - preseason All-American in Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers; 2002 first team All-Pac-10 selection; member of the 2002 USA National Team...Matt Brown, right-handed pitcher, JR - preseason All-American in Baseball America; two-time Pac-10 Honorable Mention; 2002 Cape Cod League All-Star...David Nicholson, outfielder/infielder, SO - 2002 Freshman Mid-Season All-American in Baseball American; 2002 Pac-10 Honorable Mention.
Scott Cheo, first base, outfield, JR - Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, CA)2002 Junior College All-American; 2002 SoCal Offensive Player of the Year; batted .398 with school-record 23 home runs and 76 RBI.
Allen Craig, infield, FR - Chaparral HS (Temecula, CA)Batted .485 with 11 runs, three doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI for USA Junior National Team; helped Team USA to bronze medal at World Junior Championship in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; All-CIF Southern Section.
BEARS NOTED BY BASEBALL AMERICA
Baseball America selected Jackson and Brown as projected all-conference picks, and both are listed as top prospects for the 2003 Major League Amateur Draft. Jackson was also selected as the Pac-10's second-best pure hitter, Brown as having the league's best fastball and Nicholson was picked as being the conference's fastest runner.
IMPORTANT HOME DATES
Apr. 17-19 vs. USCCal faces the No. 6 Preseason ranked and defending Pac-10 champion Trojans.
May 9-11 vs. StanfordThe Golden Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford in the last regular season conference series.
Cal did not qualify for a NCAA Regional but had two players, junior catcher John Baker and sophomore infielder Conor Jackson, earn first team All-Pac-10 honors and finish first (.383) and second (.382) in the Pac-10 batting race. The Bears also had four other players (Matt Brown, Trevor Hutchinson, David Nicholson, Carson White) selected honorable mention All-Pac-10, including right-hander Trevor Hutchinson, who finished his Cal career as the school's all-time career strikeout leader (284).
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 go on to be league MVPs in professional baseball - Jackie Jensen was the American League MVP in 1958 and Jeff Kent was the National League MVP in 2001.