Cal Baseball Travels to the Express College Classic
Feb. 12, 2003
BERKELEY, CA -
Feb. 14 vs. Texas-Pan American The Dell Diamond, Round Rock, TX 4 p.m. CDTFeb. 15 vs. Southwest Texas State The Dell Diamond, Round Rock, TX 12 p.m. CDTFeb. 16 vs. Nebraska The Dell Diamond, Round Rock, TX 11 a.m. CDT
BEAR QUICK NOTES: The California baseball team (6-2) has won five games in a row as they enter the Express College Classic this weekend in Round Rock, Tex. Cal has produced some clutch hitting to go along with solid pitching in its current win streak. In the three-game sweep of Loyola Marymount, junior catcher Chris Grossman hit the game-winning homer in the ninth inning in the 5-4 win Feb. 7. Freshman shortstop Allen Craig, the Feb. 4-10 Pac-10 Player of the Week, hit the game-winning grand slam in a seven-run eighth inning in the 11-6 Feb. 8 victory and senior left fielder Ben Conley had a two-run single in the eighth inning in the 4-2 win Feb. 9. On Tuesday, Grossman and junior right fielder Brian Horwitz hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning in the Bears' 4-3 victory over San Jose State. Meanwhile, sophomore closer Jesse Ingram has led the Cal pitching staff, picking up two wins and two saves in the last five games. The Bears return 13 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. Cal will be attempting to qualify for NCAA postseason for the second time in David Esquer's four-year head coaching tenure with the Bears.
SERIES RECORD: Cal will be meeting the Texas-Pan American Broncs and the Southwest Texas State Bobcats for the first time in school history. The Bears have a 3-2 overall series record against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. In the last meeting between the two schools, the Bears won a two-game series, May 20-21, 1941 in Lincoln, Neb., 20-2 and 4-0.
HEAD COACH DAVID ESQUER: The 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Esquer, 37, is in his fourth season at Cal and has a career record of 94-82 (.534). He became only the 10th coach in the history of Cal baseball, which began in 1892, when he was hired June 10, 1999. Esquer replaced longtime Bear mentor Bob Milano, who retired May 17, 1999 after 22 years as the Bears head coach and 29 years involved in the Cal baseball program. Esquer came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99. Rrior to working at Pepperdine, he was the No. 2 assistant coach at Stanford under Mark Marquess from 1991-96. A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, Esquer was a starter on Stanford's 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors after hitting .350 with six RBI in Omaha. He also earned All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors as a senior and went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UP
No. Pos. Player 2003 stats5 2B David Nicholson, So. .438, 1 RBI, 0 HR2 LF Ben Conley, Sr. .412, 6 RBI, 0 HR4 SS Allen Craig, Fr. .414, 8 RBI, 2 HR24 RF Brian Horwitz, Jr. .375, 11 RBI, 3 HR35 C Chris Grossman, Jr. .345, 6 RBI, 2 HR44 1B James Holder, So. .250, 1 RBI, 0 HR6 DH Justin Nelson, So. .176, 4 RBI, 0 HR33 CF Jeremy Burchett, Fr. .263, 3 RBI, 1 HR9 3B Jeff Dragicevich, Jr. .111, 2 RBI, 0 HR30 RHP Matt Brown, Jr. (Fri.) 0-0, 6.55 ERA20 RHP Brian Montalbo, Jr. (Sat.) 1-0, 10.80 ERA31 RHP Brent Hale, So. (Sun.) 0-1, 5.79 ERA
EXPRESS COLLEGE CLASSIC OPPONENTS: The Texas-Pan American Broncs, coached by Willie Gawlik (1st year at TPA), are currently 4-2, falling to Lamar, 9-2, Feb. 11 in Edinburg, Tex. Top hitter for the Broncs is senior right fielder Jerome McCoy (.667, 0 HR, 4 RBI). Texas-Pan American finished the 2002 season 15-38. The Southwest Texas State Bobcats, coached by Ty Harrington (4th year at SWT, 108-79, .576) are currently 2-4, losing to Texas, 13-7, Feb. 11 in Austin. A top hitter for the Bobcats is senior catcher Ben Carter (.385, 0 HR, 1 RBI). SWT will start junior right-hander Bobby Sawicki (0-1, 8.59 ERA) against the Bears. The Bobcats were 36-24 in 2002. The No. 19 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, coached by Mike Anderson (1st year at Nebraska), open the 2003 season at the Express College Classic after finishing the 2002 season 47-21. A top returning hitter for the Cornhuskers is junior catcher John Grose (.384, 4 HR, 38 RBI in 0-2). Nebraska plans to start senior left-hander Jamie Rodrigue (7-3, 4.15 ERA in 2002) versus the Bears. The Express College Classic, held at The Dell Diamond, is in its third year and is organized by the Round Rock Express minor league team, a Double A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
PAC-10 RACE (as of Feb. 12)
Conference Overall W L PCT GB W L T .PCTASU 0 0 .000 0.0 14 1 .933CAL 0 0 .000 0.0 6 2 .750Wash 0 0 .000 0.0 2 1 .667Arizona 0 0 .000 0.0 3 3 .500USC 0 0 .000 0.0 2 2 .500UCLA 0 0 .000 0.0 3 4 .429Stan 0 0 .000 0.0 3 5 .375OSU 0 0 .000 0.0 1 2 .333WSU 0 0 .000 0.0 0 3 .000
CAL INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
MATT BROWN, JR., RHP: Is 0-0 with a 6.55 ERA...got no decision Feb. 7 vs. Loyola Marymount (6.0 innings, seven hits, four runs, three walks, four strikeouts)...started season opener and got no decision Jan. 31 vs. UNLV (5.0 innings, eight hits, four runs, one walk, one strikeout)...is a third team Preseason All-American in Baseball America and a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection...is tied for fourth (Joe Buckley, 1986-89) on the Cal all-time saves list with 14...was a Cape Cod League All-Star last summer...is on the Smith Award watch list...was the Pac-10 leader in saves (eight) as a true freshman...is slated to start Friday for the Bears...
JEREMY BURCHETT, FR., OF/RHP: Is batting .263 (5-for-19) with two doubles, a home run and three RBI...went 3-for-12 with two doubles last week vs. Loyola Marymount, including a diving catch in the in the Bears' 5-4 victory Feb. 7...got a hit in his first collegiate at-bat, Jan. 31 vs. UNLV...went on to go 2-for-7 with a home run and three RBI in two games Jan. 31-Feb. 1 vs. UNLV ...also pitched in relief Feb. 2 vs. UNLV, throwing one inning (ninth) with no hits, no runs, no walks and one strikeout...
BEN CONLEY, SR., OF: Is batting .412 (7-for-17) with two doubles and six RBI...replaced an injured Justin Nelson and went 5-for-12 with a double and six RBI last week vs. Loyola Marymount...had game-tying RBIs Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, and the game-winning RBIs Feb. 9 vs. the Lions...was 2-for-4 with a double Tuesday vs. San Jose State...is batting .667 (4-for-6) with runners in scoring position...
ALLEN CRAIG, FR., INF.: Is batting .414 (12-for-29) with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI...has hit safely in every game this season...leads the Bears with a .528 on-base percentage and has a .724 slugging percentage...was the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 4-10 after going 7-for-17 (.412) with two doubles, a grand slam and five RBI last week at San Francisco and vs. Loyola Marymount...went 1-for-3 with a double and RBI Tuesday vs. San Jose State...hit a home run in his first collegiate at-bat, Jan. 31 vs. UNLV...went on to go 4-for-9 with a home run and two RBI Jan. 31-Feb. 2 vs. the Rebels...is batting .455 (5-for-11) with runners in scoring position...batted .485 this past summer for the USA Junior National Team...
JEFF DRAGICEVICH, JR., INF.: Is batting .111 (3-for-27) with a double and two RBI...went 1-for-11 with a RBI last week vs. Loyola Marymount...was 0-for-3 Tuesday vs. San Jose State...has started the past two seasons at shortstop, but moved to third base when Conor Jackson sprained his ankle Jan. 31...
CHRIS GROSSMAN, JR., C: Is batting .345 (10-for-29) with a double, two home runs and six RBI...has started seven of the Bears' eight games behind the plate...was 5-for-13 with a double, home run and two RBI last week vs. Loyola Marymount, including hitting the game-winning home run in the ninth inning Feb. 7 vs. the Lions...went 1-for-4 with a home run in the eighth inning Tuesday vs. San Jose State...was 4-for-11 Jan. 31-Feb. 2 vs. UNLV, including going 2-for-4 with three RBI in the Jan. 31 season-opener...is batting .333 (3-for-9) with runners in scoring position...
BRENT HALE, SO., RHP: Is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA...has eight strikeouts in 9.3 innings...got no decision in last outing, Feb. 9 vs. Loyola Marymount, pitching 5.0 innings with four hits, no earned runs, two walks and a career-high seven strikeouts...suffered the loss in Feb. 2 start vs. UNLV, pitching 4.3 innings with eight hits, six runs, two walks and a strikeout...last season went 2-3 with a 5.74 ERA, and had 27 strikeouts in 42.3 innings...is slated to start Sunday for the Bears...
JAMES HOLDER, SO., 1B: Is batting .250 (6-for-24) with two doubles, a RBI and a team-high seven walks...was 3-for-6 with two doubles and a RBI last week vs. Loyola Marymount...went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the season-opener Jan. 31 vs. UNLV... hit a home run in his first at-bat last season at UNLV (Feb. 1, 2002), but later in the game dislocated his right shoulder and sat out the 2002 season...
BRIAN HORWITZ, JR., OF: Is batting .375 (12-for-32) with a team-leading nine runs, three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBI...also leads the Bears with a .812 slugging percentage...was 6-for-17 with a double, triple, home run and five RBI last week at San Francisco and vs. Loyola Marymount...went 2-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBI Feb. 4 at USF and was 4-for-12 with a triple and two RBI vs. LMU...on Tuesday vs. San Jose State went 2-for-3 with two RBI, including a home run in the eighth inning...went 4-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI Jan. 31-Feb. 2 vs. UNLV...already has three home runs this season after entering the year with only one career home run...holds the Cal school record with a 23-game hitting streak, set as a freshman in 2001...
JESSE INGRAM, SO., RHP: Is 2-0 with two saves and a 1.23 ERA...has 10 strikeouts and only one earned run in 7.3 innings...last week picked up two wins and a save, and earned another save Tuesday vs. San Jose State (1.0 inning, one hit, one run, no walks, one strikeout)...earned wins Feb. 7 (0.7 inning, one hit, no runs, one walk) and Feb. 9 (1.7 innings, two hits, no runs, one walk, four strikeouts) vs. Loyola Marymount...earned save Feb. 4 at San Francisco (2.0 innings, no hits, no runs, one walk, four strikeouts)...pitched 2.0 innings Feb. 1 vs. UNLV (four hits, no earned runs, one walk, one strikeout)...led the team and was second in the Pac-10 in appearances last season (29)...
BRIAN MONTALBO, JR., RHP: Is 1-0 with a 10.80 ERA...has three strikeouts in 3.3 innings...picked up the win in relief Feb. 8 vs. Loyola Marymount, pitching 3.0 innings with two hits, no runs, three walks and two strikeouts...is slated to start Saturday for the Bears...
DAVID NICHOLSON, SO., INF./OF: Is batting a team-leading .438 (14-for-32) with three doubles, seven runs scored, a RBI and is 7-for-8 in stolen bases...has a .500 on-base percentage...is on a career-high seven-game hitting streak from Feb. 1 (14-for-28, .500, 3-2B, RBI)...was 5-for-12 with a double and RBI last week vs. Loyola Marymount...went 3-for-5 Feb. 4 at San Francisco...was 5-for-11 with two doubles Jan. 31-Feb. 2 vs. UNLV, including going a career-best 4-for-4 Feb. 1 vs. the Rebels...
JOE TODOROFF, SO., RHP: Is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA...got no decision Feb. 8 vs. Loyola Marymount, pitching a career-high 5.7 innings with nine hits, one earned run, one walks and three strikeouts...earned his first collegiate victory Feb. 1 vs. UNLV, pitching 5.0 innings with three hits, three runs, three walks and two strikeouts...
CAL 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; led the Pac-10 in total bases (152) and slugging percentage (.691), and was second with a .382 batting average in 2002; is a candidate for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top collegiate baseball player...Matt Brown, right-handed pitcher, JR - preseason All-American in Baseball America; two-time Pac-10 Honorable Mention; 2002 Cape Cod League All-Star; is tied for fourth on the Cal all-time save list (14)...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.
IMPORTANT HOME DATES
Apr. 17-19 vs. USC
Cal faces the No. 6 Preseason ranked and defending Pac-10 champion Trojans.
May 9-11 vs. Stanford
The Golden Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford in the last regular season conference series.
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.
*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).
*Junior third baseman Conor Jackson played for the USA National Team last summer and is one of six Golden Bears to have competed for Team USA. Former Bear head coach Bob Milano (1978-99) was an assistant coach for the 1988 United States Olympic team and was the USA National Team coach in 1997. Paul Mohler was a trainer for the USA National Team in 1988.
*Since 1947, Cal has had 31 All-American selections, 72 All-Pac-10 selections and 40 major leaguers. Since 1978, the Bears have had 97 athletes play professional baseball.
*Conor Jackson's dad, John Jackson, plays Admiral A.J. Chegwidden on the television series JAG. Junior first baseman/outfielder Noah Jackson's godfather is Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker. Junior left-hander Matt Irwin was a member of the Cal band from 1999-2000 before again taking up baseball.