No. 26 Cal Baseball Hosts No. 9 Ranked Long Beach State
Feb. 2, 2004
BERKELEY, CA -
Feb. 6 vs. Long Beach State Evans Diamond 1:30 p.m.Feb. 7 vs. Long Beach State Evans Diamond 1:00 p.m.Feb. 8 vs. Long Beach State Evans Diamond 1:00 p.m.
BEAR NOTES: The No. 26 ranked California baseball team, fresh off a three-game sweep over BYU last week (11-1, 13-3, 7-4), will face a huge test as it takes on No. 9 ranked Long Beach State 49ers in a three-game series at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears will see one of the nation's top pitchers Friday in junior right-hander Jered Weaver, a first team preseason All-American who was 14-4 with a 1.96 ERA in 2003. One of Weaver's losses was to Cal, 6-3, Feb. 22, 2003 in Long Beach. Cal was extremely impressive in its season-opening series at home, outscoring BYU, 31-8, while hitting eight home runs and tallying 21 extra-base hits. The Bears were also solid on the mound, limiting the Cougars to 22 hits, striking out 30 BYU batters and finishing with a 2.67 team ERA. In game one, Cal's freshman left fielder Brennan Boesch hit a two-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat and finished the day 3-for-3 with another two-run homer in the eighth inning. Junior right-hander Mike Padgett earned the save with four strikeouts in 3.0 innings. In game two, freshman first baseman Chris Errecart hit a grand slam in the first inning and was 4-for-5 with five RBI on the day. Junior left fielder Justin Nelson was also hot at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run in the fourth. Junior starter Kyle Crist earned the win with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings. In game three, sophomore right-hander Adam Gold had a career-high 10 strikeouts in 5.0 innings for his first collegiate win and senior catcher Chris Grossman and sophomore third baseman Allen Craig homered for the Bears. Junior right-hander Jesse Ingram had three strikeouts in 3.7 innings for his 10th career save - eighth on the Cal all-time save list. Another player who shined against BYU was senior center fielder David Weiner, who was 5-for-9 with a double, triple, home run and a team-high six RBI in the series.
SERIES RECORD: Cal has a 21-21 overall series record against the Long Beach State 49ers. In the last meeting, the Bears won one-of-three games Feb. 21-23, 2003 at Blair Field in Long Beach (L 1-0, W 6-3, L 6-1).
HEAD COACH David Esquer: The 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Esquer, 38, is in his fifth season at Cal with a career record of 119-107 (.527). On June 10, 1999, he became only the 10th coach in the history of Cal baseball, which began in 1892. Esquer replaced longtime coach 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. Prior 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-UPNo. Pos. Player 2004 stats5 2B David Nicholson, Jr. .308, 1 RBI, 0 HR15 CF David Weiner, Sr. .556, 6 RBI, 1 HR24 RF Brian Horwitz, Sr. .182, 1 RBI, 1 HR35 C Chris Grossman, Sr. .455, 3 RBI, 1 HR32 DH Brennan Boesch, Fr. .500, 4 RBI, 2 HR22 1B Chris Errecart, Fr. .600, 5 RBI, 1 HR4 3B Allen Craig, So. .286, 3 RBI, 1 HR6 LF Justin Nelson, Jr. .625, 2 RBI, 1 HR9 SS Jeff Dragicevich, Sr. .200, 0 RBI, 0 HR30 RHP Matt Brown, Sr. (Fri.) 1-0, 1.50 ERA17 RHP Kyle Crist, Jr. (Sat.) 1-0, 1.80 ERA27 RHP Adam Gold, So. (Sun.) 1-0, 0.00 ERA
LONG BEACH STATE: The Long Beach State 49ers, coached by Mike Weathers (3rd year, 80-41, .661), open their 2004 season at Cal. Top returning hitters for the 49ers are sophomore left fielder John Bowker (.333, 7 HR, 33 RBI), junior catcher Brad Davis (.306, 3 HR, 26 RBI) and sophomore shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (.270, 5 HR, 44 RBI). LBS's tentative pitching rotation is junior right-hander Jered Weaver (14-4, 1.96 ERA), sophomore left-hander Cesar Ramos (6-4, 2.85 ERA) and junior left-hander Jason Vargas (Cypress JC). In 2003, the 49ers finished 41-20, 16-5 in the Big West, won the Big West Tournament, won the NCAA Regional in Long Beach and lost at Stanford (5-1, 4-2) in the NCAA Super Regional.
2004 CAL OUTLOOK: The 2004 Golden Bears will be led by seniors Matt Brown (right-handed pitcher), Brian Horwitz (right field) and Jeff Dragicevich (shortstop) - all four-year starters and members of Cal's 2001 NCAA Regional Squad. The Bears also return senior catcher Chris Grossman, a 2003 semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. Cal is predicted to be a NCAA Regional team by Baseball America and is selected to finish sixth in the Pac-10 Coaches Preseason Poll. Cal will be attempting to qualify for NCAA postseason for the 10th time in school history and the second time in David Esquer's five-year head coaching tenure with the Bears. Cal was ranked 26th in Baseball America's Preseason Top-50 Poll and features a freshman class that is rated the nation's fifth-best in Baseball America.
CAL PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brian Horwitz, right field, SR - 2003 Pac-10 Honorable Mention, batting .347 with team-high 47 RBI; school record holder for consecutive game hitting streak (23) and single-game RBI (eight)...Chris Grossman, catcher, SR - 2003 Pac-10 Honorable Mention, batting .341 with team-high hits (72), doubles (16) and total bases (112); 2003 semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top catcher...Jeff Dragicevich, shortstop, SR - 2003 Pac-10 Honorable Mention, batting .292 with a .326 Pac-10 average; three-year starter with career .300 Pac-10 batting average...Matt Brown, right-handed pitcher, SR - two-time Pac-10 Honorable Mention, leading the Bears in strikeouts (66) and innings pitched (86.7) in 2003; 2002 Cape Cod League All-Star; tied for fourth on the Cal all-time save list (14)...Jesse Ingram, right-handed pitcher, JR - in 2003 was 2-3 with eight saves, and had 49 strikeouts in 50.7 innings; was Apr. 8, 2003 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week; eight saves in 2003 was second on Cal's single-season save list...Mike Padgett, right-handed pitcher, JR - was 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 2003; limited opponents to .244 batting average; picked up Pac-10 wins over USC, Washington and Arizona.
Brennan Boesch, outfield/first base, FR - Harvard-Westlake HS (Los Angeles, CA) - 2003 All-CIF Southern Section; 2003 All-Los Angeles Times; 2003 Pacific Palisades Post Athlete of the Year; batted .490 with seven home runs...Garrett Bussiere, catcher, FR - Northglenn HS (Thornton, CO) - drafted in 14th round by the Milwaukee Brewers; 2003 first team All-State; batted .471 with six home runs and 26 RBI; Junior Olympic Team member in 2001 and 2002...Chris Errecart, outfield, FR - Lincoln HS (Stockton, CA) - 2003 first team all-league, all-area MVP, all-state and Collegiate Baseball All-American; batted .531 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI and 20 stolen bases...Brandon Morrow, right-handed pitcher, FR - Rancho Cotate HS (Rohnert Park, CA) - 2003 first team all-league and first team All-North Coast Section; was 9-2 with a 0.61 ERA and had 84 strikeouts in 63.0 innings as a senior; drafted in the 40th round by the Anaheim Angles.
CAL INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
Brennan Boesch, FR., OF: Is batting .500 (3-for-6) with two home runs and 4 RBI...hit a two-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat, and had another two-run homer in the eighth inning, Jan. 29 vs. BYU...finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI...is hitting .333 (1-for-3) with runners in scoring position...
Matt Brown, SR., RHP: Is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA...earned win in Jan. 29 season-opener versus BYU, pitching 6.0 innings with five hits, one run, one walk and one strikeout...has 12 career wins, 14 career saves (fourth on the Cal all-time list) and 176 career strikeouts...is slated to start Friday for the Bears...
Allen Craig, SO., INF.: Is batting .286 (2-for-7) with a double, a home run and three RBI...was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer Jan. 31 versus BYU...had a sacrifice fly Jan. 30 versus the Cougars...
Kyle Crist, JR., RHP: Is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA...earned win Jan. 30 versus BYU, pitching 5.0 innings with four hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts...opponents are batting .222 against him...is slated to start Saturday for the Bears...
Chris Errecart, FR., 1B/OF.: Is batting .600 (6-for-10) with a double, a home run and five RBI...was 4-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI Jan. 30 versus BYU...hit a double in his first collegiate at-bat Jan. 29 versus the Cougars...is hitting 1.000 (3-for-3) with runners in scoring position...
Adam Gold, SO., RHP: Is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA...earned his first collegiate victory, pitching 5.0 innings with three hits, no runs, one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts Jan. 31 versus BYU...opponents are batting .167 against him...has a career ERA of 2.79 in 29.0 innings...is slated to start Sunday for the Bears...
Chris Grossman, SR., C: Is batting .455 (5-for-11) with a team-high three doubles, a home run and three RBI...is also tied for the team lead with 11 total bases...was 2-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBI Jan. 31 versus BYU...went 2-for-3 with a double Jan. 30, and 1-for-4 with a RBI Jan. 29, versus the Cougars...is hitting .333 (2-for-6) with runners in scoring position...
James Holder, JR., 1B/DH: Is batting .375 (3-for-8) with two doubles and three RBI...went 1-for-4 with a two-run single Jan. 31 versus BYU...was 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI in the season-opener Jan. 29 versus the Cougars...is hitting .667 (2-for-3) with runners in scoring position...
Jesse Ingram, JR., RHP: Is 0-0 with a save and a 4.91 ERA...earned the save Jan. 31 versus BYU, pitching 3.7 innings with five hits, two runs, one walk and three strikeouts...earned his 10th career save, eighth on the Cal all-time career save list...
Justin Nelson, JR., OF: Is batting a team-leading .625 (5-for-8) with a double, a home run and two RBI...is also 2-for-2 in stolen bases...went 1-for-3 with double Jan. 31 and 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI Jan. 30 versus BYU...is hitting .500 (1-for-2) with runners in scoring position...
David Nicholson, JR., INF: Is batting .308 (4-for-13) with a RBI and is 2-for-2 in stolen bases...is currently on a career-high 10-game hitting streak carrying over from May 3 of last season (19-for-45, .422, 2-2B, 3B, 2 RBI)...went 2-for-5 in the Jan. 29 season-opener versus BYU...
Mike Padgett, JR., RHP: Is 0-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA...earned his first collegiate save Jan. 29 versus BYU, pitching 3.0 innings with no hits, no runs, no walks and a career-high four strikeouts...has a career ERA of 3.21 in 47.7 innings at Cal...
David Weiner, SR., OF: Is batting .556 (5-for-9) with a double, a triple, a home run and a team-leading six RBI...was 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBI Jan. 30 versus BYU...went 2-for-4 with a double, a two-run homer and three RBI in the season-opener Jan. 29 versus the Cougars...is hitting .500 (2-for-4) with runners in scoring position...
IMPORTANT HOME DATES
Feb. 27-29 vs. StanfordThe Golden Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford - the 2003 national runners-up - in non-conference series at Evans Diamond.
Apr. 30-May 2 vs. ArizonaCal faces the No. 16 preseason ranked Arizona Wildcats in the final 2004 Pac-10 Conference series at Evans Diamond.
Cal did not qualify for a NCAA Regional in 2003 with an 28-27 overall record (10-14, seventh in the Pac-10), but had junior first baseman/third baseman Conor Jackson earn first team All-Pac-10 honors and three players - Brian Horwitz, Chris Grossman and Jeff Dragicevich - named Pac-10 Honorable Mention. Jackson was the Arizona Diamondbacks' first round draft pick and the 19th pick overall in the 2003 June Major League Amateur Draft. He concluded his Cal career last spring batting .388 with 14 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 44 RBI and a Pac-10-leading .538 on-base percentage. Jackson was selected a third team All-American by Baseball America and earned All-Pac-10 honors for the second year in-a-row. He was the first Cal baseball player to be drafted in the first round since right-handed pitcher Dave Masters was selected by the Chicago Cubs and was the 24th pick overall in 1985. Besides Jackson, the Bears had three other players drafted in the Major League Amateur Draft. Junior right-hander Brian Montalbo was picked in the seventh round by the Milwaukee Brewers and was the 189th pick overall. Montalbo signed after finishing the 2003 season 4-3 with a 5.61 ERA, and had 43 strikeouts in 61.0 innings. Horwitz was selected in the 26th round by the Oakland A's, and Brown was picked in the 29th round by the Chicago Cubs.
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).
*Cal is the 14th winningest Division I baseball program in the nation with 2,145 wins in 122 seasons.
*Senior outfielder David Weiner's uncle is USA Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz. Freshman infielder/outfielder Mike Van Winden's great, great uncle is the late Cal football Hall of Famer Vic Bottari.
*The No. 5 national ranking of Cal's 2004 freshman class is the highest in school history and is the second highest ranking among Pac-10 schools, trailing only Arizona State (No. 3) and ahead of Arizona (No. 9) and Stanford (No. 11).
*Junior left-fielder Justin Nelson hit three home runs in a single game last season at Oregon State, including an inside the park home run. Nelson is now one of four players in Bear history to have hit three home runs in a game, joining Kevin Maas (versus Arizona State, Apr. 26, 1986), Matt Luke (versus George Mason, May 23, 1992 at NCAA Regional in Gainesville, Fla.) and Jon Zuber (versus George Mason, May 23, 1992 at NCAA Regional.)
*As a freshman, sophomore infielder Allen Craig hit a home run in his first collegiate at bat - Jan. 31, 2003 versus UNLV - and started the 2003 campaign with a 12-game hitting streak.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive