No. 18 Cal Baseball Travels to University of Minnesota Tournament
March 6, 2008
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., Mar. 7 vs. Northern Iowa Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn. 1:00 p.m. CSTSat., Mar. 8 at Minnesota, Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn. 6:30 p.m. CSTSun., Mar. 9 vs. New Mexico, Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn. 11:00 a.m. CST
BEAR NOTES: No. 18-ranked California, 6-1-1, after winning three-of-four games against ranked opponents at the University of San Diego Tournament and topping Bay Area rival Stanford, 8-3, on Tuesday, travels to the Metrodome for three games at the University of Minnesota Tournament. On Friday, the Golden Bears play Northern Iowa (4-4) at 1 p.m.; on Saturday, Cal plays host Minnesota (2-4) at 6:30 p.m.; and on Sunday Cal plays New Mexico (7-3) at 11 a.m. The Bears feature last week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, Josh Satin. The senior second baseman helped the Bears go 3-1 against three nationally-ranked teams, defeating No. 24 Fresno State (14-4), No. 22 San Diego State (5-3) and No. 17 University of San Diego (5-0), as Satin was 10-for-19 (.526) with a double, two home runs and eight RBI. Against San Diego State, he had a clutch three-run homer in the seventh inning to overcome a 3-2 Aztec advantage and lead the Bears to their 5-3 victory. Against San Diego, Satin sealed the 5-0 shutout by hitting a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning. On the year, he is now 15-for-32 (.469) with a double, four home runs and 12 RBI. The Player of the Week honor is the first of Satin's career, and the 42nd such honor for California. It is the Bears' second conference honor this season as junior right-hander Tyson Ross was this year's first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week recipient on Feb. 26 after one-hitting Kansas State with seven strikeouts in the season-opener Feb. 22. Besides Ross, Cal has two other preseason All-Americans, junior right-hander Matt Gorgen, who is on the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List; and junior first-baseman David Cooper, who is batting .393 with five home runs (including a grand slam) and 15 RBI this season. The Bears also showcase junior left-hander Craig Bennigson, and sophomores Jeff Kobernus (third base) and Blake Smith (right field, right-handed pitcher) - all honorable mention All-Pac-10 selections in 2007. Bennigson is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA this season with victories over Utah Valley and San Diego State.
SERIES RECORD: Cal will be facing the Northern Iowa Panthers for the first time in school history. The Bears have a 5-1 record against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Bears last won, 9-3, May 26, 2001 in the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La. Cal has a 1-0 record against the New Mexico Lobos.
HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 42, is in his ninth season at Cal with a career record of 236-216-1 (.522). In 2001, he was Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a 34-25 mark and a berth to the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La. (1-2). Thirty nine Cal players have signed professional contracts since Esquer became coach, including first round picks Brandon Morrow (RHP, Seattle, fifth overall) in 2006 and Conor Jackson (INF., Arizona, 19th overall) in 2003. On June 10, 1999, Esquer became the 10th coach in Cal baseball history, which began in 1892. He came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99, and the No. 2 assistant at Stanford from 1991-96. A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, he was a starter on the 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo. Pos. Player 2008 stats31 DH Rich Gorman, So. .222, 2 RBI, 0 HR23 3B Jeff Kobernus, So. .324, 3 RBI, 1 HR18 1B David Cooper, Jr. .393, 15 RBI, 5 HR3 2B Josh Satin, Sr. .459, 12 RBI, 4 HR4 CF Brett Jackson, So. .333, 7 RBI, 1 HR33 C Dylan Tonneson, So. .364, 3 RBI, 0 HR37 RF Blake Smith, So. .333, 3 RBI, 0 HR5 LF Mark Canha, Fr. .455, 0 RBI, 0 HR26 SS Michael Brady, Jr. .292, 5 RBI, 0 HR36 LHP Chris Petrini, So. (Fri.) 1-0, 6.35 ERA27 LHP Craig Bennigson, Jr. (Sat.) 2-0, 2.40 ERA46 RHP Alex Rollin, Sr. (Sun.) 0-0, 6.75 ERA
PAC-10 RACE (AS OF Mar. 5) Conference Overall W L PCT GB W L T .PCTASU 0 0 .000 --- 9 0 0 1.000WSU 0 0 .000 --- 7 1 0 .875Ariz 0 0 .000 --- 7 1 0 .875CAL 0 0 .000 --- 6 1 1 .812Stan 0 0 .000 --- 6 3 0 .667UCLA 0 0 .000 --- 5 3 0 .625USC 0 0 .000 --- 6 4 0 .600OSU 0 0 .000 --- 4 3 0 .571Wash 0 0 .000 --- 3 4 0 .429
NOTING NORTHERN IOWA, MINNESOTA AND NEW MEXICO: The Northern Iowa Panthers, coached by Rick Heller (eighth year at NIU, 221-232-1, .488), are 4-4, last winning, 7-4, Mar. 3 at Arkansas-Little Rock. A top hitter for the Panthers is junior infielder Brandon Douglas (.514, 0 HR, 7 RBI). Northern Iowa's tentative pitcher versus Cal is junior left-hander Nick Kirk (1-1, 4.76 ERA). In 2007, the Panthers finished 23-28 overall, 8-16 (sixth tied) in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Minnesota Golden Gophers, coached by John Anderson (27th year at UM, 429-233, .648), are 2-4, last defeating Pepperdine, 5-2, Mar. 2 at the Metrodome. A top hitter for the Gophers is junior center fielder Matt Nohelty (.385, 0 HR, 6 RBI). Minnesota's tentative pitcher versus Cal is junior left-hander Kyle Carr (0-1, 12.79 ERA). In 2007, the Gophers finished 41-18 overall, 18-9 (second tie) in the Big Ten (1-2 in San Diego NCAA Regional). The New Mexico Lobos, coached by Ray Birmingham (first year at UNM), are 7-3, last falling, 10-1, Tuesday at Arizona State. A top hitter for the Lobos is freshman catcher Rafael Neda (.419, 2 HR, 11 RBI). New Mexico's tentative pitcher versus Cal is senior right-hander Stephen Smith (0-0, 9.00 ERA). In 2007, the Lobos finished 28-30 overall, 12-12 (fifth) in the Mountain West.
IMPRESSIVE ROSS: Junior team captain and 6-6 right-hander Tyson Ross - a 2008 preseason All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and Rivals.com; and a Golden Spikes and Wallace Award candidate - started the 2008 season on a high note by one-hitting Kansas State (5.0 innings, one hit, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts) to earn this season's first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award. He is coming off an outstanding 2007 summer season with the USA National Team, finishing 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA, striking out 39 batters with only seven walks in 43.2 innings. Ross picked up two victories against The Netherlands, a victory over the Dominican Republic at the PanAm Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and a victory over Japan. A first-team All-Pac-10 selection last spring, he finished 6-6 and was second in the league with a 2.49 ERA and third in the conference with 120 strikeouts in 115.2 innings. His 120 strikeouts were second on the Cal all-time single-season strikeout list and he threw at least 6.0 innings in 15 of his 17 starts, and 7.0 innings or more 11 times, including a complete game at Stanford. Ross was also named a semifinalist for the Golden Spike Award, and on Mar. 25, 2007, he was picked as the National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after striking out 16 batters (three away from the school record of 19 set by Larry Colton in 1963) with only one walk in 7.0 innings against Oral Roberts. Ross was noted for fielding as well, winning the Rawlings Gold Glove award as the nation's best fielding pitcher. For his career, Ross now has 212 strikeouts (eighth on Cal's career list) in 205.1 innings with a 2.76 career ERA.
CLUTCH HITTING COOPER: Junior left-handed first baseman David Cooper is a Baseball America preseason All-American; and a 2008 Golden Spikes and Wallace Award candidate, as well. Cooper started the 2008 season on fire, going 4-for-10 with three home runs (including a grand slam) and 11 RBI in the first three games. Cal's top newcomer in 2007, he was a transfer from Cal State Fullerton, where he was a member of the 2006 College World Series All-Tournament team. An All-Pac-10 selection and team MVP in 2007 for the Bears, Cooper batted a team-leading .382 with a team-best 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 55 RBI. He also paced Cal with a .627 slugging percentage, 30 walks and had a .450 on-base percentage. Cooper was third in the Pac-10 in batting average, fifth in the league in slugging and on-base percentage, and seventh in the conference in home runs. In 2006, he flirted with a College World Series record with seven consecutive hits in Omaha, tying Terry Francona (1980) and one short of Dave Magadan (1983) and Barry Bonds (1984). Cooper led all players at the 2006 World Series with a .533 average (8-for-15) with five RBI.
STRIKEOUT CLOSER GORGEN: The Bears' other Louisville Slugger and Rivals.com preseason All-American, and third Wallace Award candidate, is hard-throwing junior closer Matt Gorgen. An honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection last season, Gorgen is one of 40 players on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List, having struck out 75 batters in 61.0 innings with a 2.51 ERA (third in the Pac-10). He also led the Pac-10 with 31 appearances, was sixth in the league with nine saves (second on the Cal all-time single season list), and 38 of his 75 strikeouts were called looking (second in the Pac-10). In 64 career appearances, Gorgen now has 112 strikeouts in 104.1 innings, and is eighth on Cal's career save list (12 saves). His twin brother, Scott, is a starting pitcher at UC Irvine.
SATIN'S STORY: Senior second baseman Josh Satin is primed for a stellar final season after back-to-back summers as a Cape Cod League All-Star. In the opening week of 2008, Satin was 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs and four RBI, and now owns a .299 career average with 32 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 113 RBI. He had one of the finest freshman seasons in school history in 2005, earning All-Pac-10 and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors. As a redshirt freshman, Satin hit .348 with 15 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 40 RBI. He also had 77 hits, 26 multiple-hit games, a 15-game hitting streak and a team-best .434 average with runners in scoring position. Satin was the first Cal freshman to earn Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 honors since Xavier Nady was National Freshman of the Year in 1998.
EMERGING BENNIGSON: Junior left-hander Craig Bennigson, a 2007 honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, had some of his best performances of his career at the end of last season, finishing 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA. Bennigson had the best outing of his college career May 6, shutting out UCLA, 16-0, and throwing a career-high 8.0 innings with five hits, two walks and a career-high six strikeouts. Bennigson also pitched well in a win versus Pac-10 champion Arizona State Apr. 29, throwing 6.0 innings with five hits, one earned run, one walk and four strikeouts. He is currently second in the Pac-10 with 15.0 innings pitched and fourth with 13 strikeouts.
JACKSON'S ACTIONS: Sophomore center fielder Brett Jackson has started the 2008 campaign on a high note, going 4-for-10 with two triples, a home run and a pair of RBI in the first three games. In game one of the doubleheader versus Utah Valley on Feb. 23, Jackson had a career day, hitting his first collegiate home run in the second inning, and hitting triples in both the fourth and seventh innings. Last Tuesday against Stanford, he had a key two-run single in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Jackson is tied for the Pac-10 lead with six stolen bases.
YOUNG PITCHERS IMPRESSIVE: The Bears got some great first-time performances from some of the newest members of their pitching staff. On Feb. 22 versus Kansas State, sophomore Daniel Wolford, a right-handed transfer from Long Beach State, helped Cal one-hit the Wildcats by throwing the final 4.0 innings with no hits, no runs, three walks and five strikeouts, earning his first save as a Bear. On Feb. 23 in the first game of the doubleheader versus Utah Valley, freshman right-hander Kevin Miller (Valley Christian High School, San Jose, Calif.) pitched the final two innings with no hits, no runs, no walks and three strikeouts in Cal's 12-1 victory. On Tuesday, Miller had his first college start against Stanford, threw 5.0 innings of shutout ball with one walk and four strikeouts. At the University of San Diego Tournament, three Cal pitchers - senior right-hander Alex Rollin, Wolford and Gorgen - combined to shut out No. 17-ranked San Diego, 5-0. After eight games, Cal's pitching staff is third in the Pac-10 with a 3.30 team ERA. Wolford currently leads the conference with an opposing batting average of .074 in 8.1 innings.
TONNESON'S TIME: Sophomore catcher Dylan Tonneson has done a notable job replacing injured junior captain Charlie Cutler (broken little finger of right hand sliding into first base in the second game of the year versus Utah Valley). Tonneson is 8-for-22 on the year (.364) with three RBI, including a career-best 3-for-3 with two RBI in the Bears' 14-4 victory over then-No. 24 Fresno State. He had three hits in Cal's 5-3 victory over No. 22 San Diego State as well. Tonneson is currently third in the Pac-10 with a .519 on-base percentage and leads the conference with four hit-by-pitches.
ROLLIN RACKING UP THE WINS: For someone who entered the 2007 season without a college victory, senior right-hander Alex Rollin gathered up the wins last season, going 8-5 with a 4.91 ERA. Rollin's eight wins were the 10th-most in the Pac-10, with victories over UC Irvine, Portland, UC Santa Barbara, Indiana State, Rhode Island, Oral Roberts, Oregon State and USC. His victory against the defending national champion Beavers was his most impressive, limiting OSU to four hits and no runs in 6.0 innings. Combined with Bennigson and Gorgen, Rollin and the Bears shut out a Beaver team at home for the first time since Apr. 28, 2002.
CAL AMONG PAC-10 STAT LEADERS: Although it is early in the season, Cal already has some impressive numbers. The pitching staff is third in the conference with a 3.30 team ERA and has an opponent batting average of .204. The Bears are also third in the league with a .306 team batting average and are third with a .974 team fielding percentage. Offensively, Cooper leads the conference with 15 RBI, five home runs and 12 runs scored. He is also second in the league with a 1.000 slugging percentage and eight walks. Satin is first in the Pac-10 with 28 total bases, second with 15 hits, fourth with a .469 batting average and fourth with 12 RBI. Kobernus is second in the league with four doubles.
BEARS PICKED FIFTH IN PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL: The Bears were tabbed fifth in the 2008 Pac-10 preseason poll behind Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and two-time defending national champion Oregon State; and ahead of Stanford, USC, Washington State and Washington. Arizona was the No. 1-ranked team in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll, and UCLA was the No. 1-ranked team in Baseball America's preseason poll. The Bears barely missed the NCAA tournament in 2007, finishing 29-26 overall and were alone in fourth place in the Pac-10 with a 12-12 record. Cal won six of their last eight games, including sweeping USC at Evans Diamond, and earlier won series against World Series qualifiers UC Irvine and Arizona State. The Bears also shut out two-time defending national champion Oregon State, 4-0, in Corvallis. Cal was the only team in the conference to win two-of-three games over Pac-10 champion ASU when the Bears upset the then-No. 7-ranked Sun Devils at Evans Diamond. In the final league stats, Cal was third with a .974 fielding percentage, fourth with a 4.48 team ERA and fifth with a .303 team batting average.
ADDITIONAL CAL NOTES: Cal is currently ranked 18th in Baseball America and 26th in Collegiate Baseball...the last time the Bears played in the Metrodome was Mar. 6-8, 1998 when they captured the Hormel Foods Classic, defeating Connecticut, 22-8; Minnesota, 9-7; and Rutgers, 11-5...standout catcher Mike Tonis was named the tournament's Outstanding Player...seven of the Bears' opponents this season were 2007 NCAA Regional participants, including Fresno State, Missouri, San Diego and two-time defending national champion Oregon State, who will visit Evans Diamond Apr. 4-6, 2008...former Bear catcher Bob Melvin (1980), manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was named the 2007 National League Manager of the Year...former Cal standout Conor Jackson is a first baseman for the Diamondbacks...the 2008 Bears have two infielders, redshirt freshman Austin Booker and true freshman Brian Guinn, who are sons of former Cal standouts and professional ballplayers Rod Booker (1979-80) and Brian Guinn, Sr. (1981-83)...video of junior right-hander Tyson Ross pitching for Team USA this summer is available on the left sidebar on the baseball page of calbears.com...other videos are available, including Cal baseball players and coaches, Dan Hubbs and Jon Zuber, featured on KQED's Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball.
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). 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.
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