Cal Baseball Hosts No. 17 Arkansas in Three-Game Series at Evans Diamond
March 3, 2010
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Fri., March 5 Arkansas Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1:30 p.m.Sat., March 6 Arkansas Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1 p.m.Sun., March 7 Arkansas Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 1 p.m.
KALX Radio (90.7 FM) will broadcast the March 5 and March 7 Arkansas-Cal games. Gametracker available on www.CalBears.com.
In an intriguing early season college baseball match-up, the 6-1 California baseball team hosts 6-1 and No. 17-ranked (Baseball America) Arkansas in a three-game non-conference series at Evans Diamond. Believed to be the first time an SEC team has played a series in Berkeley, the Golden Bears are looking to avenge a 1-2 series loss to the Razorbacks last season at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville. Coming into the series, Cal will be led by the impressive starting pitching rotation of sophomore right-hander Erik Johnson (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 Ks in 13.0 inn.), freshman left-hander Justin Jones (2-0, 1.29 ERA, 19 Ks in 14.0 inn.) and sophomore right-hander Dixon Anderson (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 15 Ks in 14.0 inn.). The trio has combined for a 6-0 record with 48 strikeouts in 41.0 innings and a 0.44 ERA this season. Offensively, the Bears have been led by the hitting prowess of sophomore catcher Chadd Krist, who is leading the Pac-10 with a .577 average (15-for-26) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 10 RBI. Cal also features sophomore left fielder Danny Oh, batting .452 with three doubles and a team-high 11 RBI, returning junior All-Pac-10 first baseman/outfielder Mark Canha and junior second baseman Brian Guinn. Last season, Canha led the team with a .366 average, 12 home runs and 43 RBI, while Guinn, hitting .364 this year, is a .321 career hitter. Also bolstering the Bears is the play is sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien (.462) and freshmen starters Tony Renda (3B .407), Devin Rodriguez (DH .381), Jimmy Bosco (RF .375) and Darrel Matthews (CF .333). Overall, Cal is leading the Pac-10 in both team ERA (1.60) and team batting average (.400).
Cal has a 2-2 all-time record versus Arkansas, defeating the Razorbacks, 7-1, in the 1980 NCAA Midwest Regional in Tulsa, Okla. Last season, the Bears won one-of-three (L 5-4 in 10 inn., W 12-6, L 13-3) March 7-8 in Fayetteville.
HEAD COACH David Esquer:
Esquer, 44, is in his 11th season at Cal with a career record of 293-266-2 (.524). He was the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after the Bears went 34-25 and played in the Baton Rouge Regional (1-2). In 2008, Cal was 33-21-2 and competed in the Long Beach Regional (0-2). Fifty two Bears have signed pro contracts under Esquer, including first round picks Brett Jackson (CF, Chicago Cubs, 31st overall), David Cooper (1B, Toronto, 17th overall) in 2008, Brandon Morrow (RHP, Seattle, fifth overall) in 2006 and Conor Jackson (INF., Arizona, 19th overall) in 2003. Esquer came to Cal after serving as top assistant at Pepperdine (1996-99), and No. 2 assistant at Stanford (1991-96). A shortstop at Stanford (1984-87), he started on the 1987 College World Series championship team, earning All-Tournament honors. Esquer played professionally for four seasons with Baltimore, California and Milwaukee.
TENTATIVE CALIFORNIA LINE-UPNo. Pos. Player 2010 stats6 2B Brian Guinn, Jr. .364, 4 RBI, 0 HR19 LF Danny Oh, So. .452, 11 RBI, 0 HR14 3B Tony Renda, Fr. .407, 2 RBI, 0 HR5 1B Mark Canha, Jr. .318, 8 RBI, 0 HR27 C Chadd Krist, So. .577, 10 RBI, 3 HR33 DH Devin Rodriguez, Fr. .381, 7 RBI, 1 HR25 RF Jimmy Bosco, Fr. .375, 3 RBI, 0 HR15 SS Marcus Semien, So. .462, 2 RBI, 0 HR2 CF Darrel Matthews, Fr. .333, 6 RBI, 0 HR35 RHP Erik Johnson, So. (Fri.) 2-0, 0.00 ERA23 LHP Justin Jones, Fr. (Sat.) 2-0, 1.29 ERA48 RHP Dixon Anderson, So. (Sun.) 2-0, 0.00 ERA
PAC-10 RACE (AS OF MARCH 2) Conference Overall W L PCT GB W L T .PCTASU 0 0 .000 --- 7 0 0 1.000UCLA 0 0 .000 --- 6 0 0 1.000WSU 0 0 .000 --- 6 0 0 1.000CAL 0 0 .000 --- 6 1 0 .857OSU 0 0 .000 --- 5 2 0 .714Stan 0 0 .000 --- 4 3 0 .571Ore 0 0 .000 --- 5 4 0 .556USC 0 0 .000 --- 4 4 0 .500Ariz 0 0 .000 --- 3 3 0 .500Wash 0 0 .000 --- 3 4 0 .429
The No. 17 (Baseball America, No. 19 Collegiate Baseball) Arkansas Razorbacks, coached by Dave Van Horn (eighth year at UA, 282-159, .639), are 6-1 (all home games at Baum Stadium) after topping Kansas, 15-3, Tuesday (March 2) in Fayetteville. Top hitters for the Razorbacks are junior first baseman Andy Wilkins (.435, 3 HR, 13 RBI), sophomore left fielder Collin Kuhn (.381, 0 HR, 2 RBI) and sophomore third baseman Zack Cox (.357, 1 HR, 9 RBI). Arkansas' tentative rotation is senior right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-0, 2.00 ERA), sophomore left-hander Drew Smyly (0-0, 4.50 ERA) and junior right-hander Brett Eibner (2-0, 1.50 ERA). In 2009, the Razorbacks were 41-24 overall, 14-15 in the SEC Western Division (fourth), fourth in the SEC Tournament, 3-0 in the NCAA Norman (Okla.) Regional, 2-0 in the NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Super Regional and 2-2 in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
CAL AMONG THE TOP OF PAC IN STATS:
As a result of the Bears' impressive performance against Southern Utah and at the Cal State Bakersfield Tournament, Cal leads the Pac-10 in both team ERA (1.60) and team batting average (.400). The Bears also pace the conference in hits (108) and doubles (27). Individually, sophomore catcher Chadd Krist is first in batting average (.577) and slugging percentage (1.154); and second in hits (15), on-base percentage (.621), doubles (4), home runs (3) and total bases (30). Sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien is currently fourth in the Pac-10 in hits (12) and eighth in batting average (.462) and on-base percentage (.533). Junior second baseman Brian Guinn is second in the conference in doubles (4) and runs scored (10), while sophomore left fielder Danny Oh is second in RBI (11) and third in hits (14). On the mound, freshman left-hander Justin Jones is second in strikeouts (19) and strikeouts looking (7), and seventh in opposing batting average (.180). Sophomore right-hander Dixon Anderson is first in innings pitched (14.0), fourth in strikeouts (15) and eighth in opposing batting average (.184). Sophomore right-hander Erik Johnson is sixth in the conference in innings pitched (13.0) and strikeouts (14).
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE CANHA:
Junior Mark Canha had a breakout season last year, leading the Bears with a .366 average (fifth in the Pac-10) and finishing with 17 doubles, 75 hits, 130 total bases and a .634 slugging percentage. He also hit 12 home runs with 43 RBI and a .444 on-base percentage. Canha was the March 3 Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 9-for-20 (.450) with seven runs, two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in Cal's wins over Vanderbilt (4-3), at Santa Clara (12-2) and three-game sweep at Long Beach State (11-8, 9-6, 6-3). He added a team-best 24 multiple hit and 11 multiple RBI games during the 2009 campaign. In Baseball America's 2010 College Preview, Canha is predicted to be the Pac-10 Player of the Year and first-team All-Pac-10. He is also considered the Pac-10's best pure hitter and the top defensive first baseman.
CAL POWER PITCHING DUO ANDERSON AND JOHNSON:
Sophomore right-handers Dixon Anderson and Erik Johnson both had successful summers pitching in the Northwoods League and were named the league's second and sixth top prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Anderson played for Green Bay (Wisc.) and was 3-2 with a 1.61 ERA and seven saves, recording 56 strikeouts in 56.0 innings over 23 appearances (five starts). He was selected to the South All-Star Team that competed in the Northwoods All-Star Game at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Last spring as a redshirt freshman, Anderson was 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA and three saves in 20 appearances (one start), recording 37 strikeouts in 43.0 innings. He was the May 11 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after notching a win and two saves (8.2 innings, eight hits, one run, eight strikeouts, 1.04 ERA) in a week. Anderson earned saves versus UC Davis May 5 and at UCLA May 8, forcing the Bruins into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth. He then picked up the win in relief May 10 at UCLA, throwing 6.2 innings with seven hits, one run, two walks and seven strikeouts. Anderson was a 2009 first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection as well. Johnson, the sixth-top prospect in the Northwoods League, was 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA, and 49 strikeouts in 59.0 innings as a starter for Alexandria (Minn.). Last season he was 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA and four saves (ninth in the Pac-10) in 19 appearances and nine starts as a true freshman. Johnson had 55 strikeouts in 67.1 innings and threw a complete game in his final outing May 22 versus USC. Other top appearances included a career-high seven strikeouts versus College World Series participant Arizona State, a April 17 win over Oregon (8.0 innings, six hits, one run, one walk, six strikeouts) and a March 29 victory over Washington State (6.0 innings, six hits, one earned run, no walks, four strikeouts). Starting the 2009 campaign as Cal's closer, he earned two saves at Long Beach State and a save in the season-opener versus UC Riverside.
BEARS' YOUTH PARADE:
Cal's baseball program's 2009 recruiting class has been selected the 24th best in the nation, and third-best in the Pac-10, by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Besides left-hander Justin Jones, slated as the Bears' Saturday starter as a true freshman, four other Cal newcomers - third baseman Tony Renda, designated hitter Devin Rodriguez, right fielder Jimmy Bosco and center fielder Darrel Matthews - are likely starters. Jones, a seventh round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, was 10-1 with 118 strikeouts and a 0.42 ERA as a senior at Oakdale (Calif.) High School, after going 12-0 with 124 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA as a junior. He was a two-time Cal Hi Sports All-State honoree and the 2009 Modesto Bee Player of the Year. Renda was a 2009 High School All-American and both San Mateo County and West Catholic Athletic Player of the Year. He ended his high school career as the Serra High School record-holder for career hits (152). Left-handed hitting Rodriguez batted .402 with 14 doubles, eight homer runs and 34 RBI last spring for William Hart High School. He set a school record with a 21-game hitting streak as a junior when he hit .384 with 13 doubles and 24 RBI. Bosco set a Jesuit High School batting record as a junior when he hit .505, earning Delta River League MVP and first-team All-Sac-Metro honors. Left-handed hitting center fielder Matthews, coached by former Arizona standout and Cal assistant Bob Ralston, was two-time first-team All-Bay Valley Athletic League and a 2009 MaxPreps second-team all-state selection, batting .440 with 10 doubles, eight triples and nine stolen bases as a senior.
ADDITIONAL BEAR NOTES:
Former head coach Bob Milano, who guided Cal from 1978-1999 and led the Bears to three College World Series (third place finish in 1980), was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame Jan. 8, 2010...he joins Clint Evans and George Wolfman as Cal coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame...Evans led the Bears to the first-ever CWS title in 1947 and Wolfman guided Cal to the 1957 NCAA championship...the Bears have two junior infielders, Austin Booker and Brian Guinn, who are sons of former Cal standouts and pro players Rod Booker (1979-80) and Brian Guinn, Sr. (1981-83), while sophomore infielder Marcus Semien is the son of former Cal wide receiver Damian Semien (1990-93)...Guinn, drafted in the 10th round by the Chicago White Sox out of high school, is a .319 career hitter and is listed as the fastest runner in the Pac-10 by Baseball America...sophomore left fielder Danny Oh is another top returner for Cal...as a freshman Oh hit a home run in his first collegiate at-bat and went on to bat .303 with seven home runs and 35 RBI...he is the Pac-10's seventh top prospect for the 2011 draft by Baseball America...
*Cal won the inaugural College World Series title in 1947, defeating former President George Bush's Yale team, 8-7, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
*In 2009 the Bears had three players - CF Brett Jackson (first round Chicago Cubs), 2B Jeff Kobernus (first pick of the second round Washington Nationals), OF Blake Smith (second round Los Angeles Dodgers) - selected in the first two rounds of the Major League Amateur Draft.
*Five former Cal players who competed under head coach David Esquer have been invited to Major League Spring Training Camp this spring - 1B Allen Craig (2003-06) and C Charlie Cutler (2007-08) with the St. Louis Cardinals, OF Brennan Boesch (2005-06) with the Detroit Tigers, RHP Tyson Ross (2006-08) with the Oakland A's and OF Brett Jackson (2007-09) with the Chicago Cubs.
*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.