Cal Baseball Battles North Carolina in the NCAA Norman, Oklahoma Regional
June 2, 2010
Fri., June 4 vs. North Carolina L. Dale Mitchell Park, Norman, Okla. 7 p.m. CT
RADIO: KALX Radio (90.7 FM) is tentatively scheduled to broadcast the June 4 North Carolina-Cal game, plus additional NCAA regional action.
BEAR NOTES: The California baseball team (29-23) received an at-large berth into the 2010 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament and competes in the Norman, Okla. Regional, hosted June 4-7 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Golden Bears enter the regional as the No. 2-seeded team and will face No. 3-seeded North Carolina (36-20), Friday, June 4 at 7 p.m. CT. It is Cal's third NCAA regional berth since 2001 (2001, 2008, 2010) under head coach David Esquer, and it is the program's 11th NCAA regional berth all-time. The other teams in the Norman Regional are No. 1-seed Oklahoma (44-15) and No. 4-seed Oral Roberts (35-25), who will play at 1 p.m. June 4. After taking two-of-three last weekend from then-No. 21 Oregon, Cal put itself in position for its second NCAA regional berth in the last three years. Junior first baseman/outfielder Mark Canha is batting .323 with 11 doubles and nine home runs (including three grand slams), and leads the Pac-10 with 67 RBI. As a team, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in slugging percentage (.473) and third in batting average (.319) and triples (20). Other top hitters for the Bears include freshman designated hitter/third baseman Tony Renda (.365, 19-2B, 4-3B, 3-HR, 35 RBI), sophomore catcher Chadd Krist (.344, 15-2B, 3-3B, 10-HR, 43 RBI), sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien (.333, 17-28, 2-3B, 4-HR, 34 RBI) and junior second baseman Brian Guinn (.324, 12-2B, 4-3B, HR, 29 RBI). Cal pitchers have notched seven shutouts this year and feature Erik Johnson (6-3, 3.62 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 72.0 innings), Justin Jones and Dixon Anderson (5-3, 5.09 ERA). Freshman left-hander Jones, Friday's starter, is second in the Pac-10 with 10 wins (10-5, 3.77 ERA), fourth with 98.0 innings and fifth with 30 strikeouts looking. Jones has been a part of two shutouts and has thrown two complete games this season.
SERIES RECORD: The Bears have a 3-3 all-time record against North Carolina, including winning two-of-three (W 4-2, L 7-5, W 7-4) in the last meeting between the two schools, March 1-3, 2002, in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have qualified for the College World Series in each of the past four seasons.
HEAD COACH David Esquer: Esquer, 45, is in his 11th season at Cal (316-288-2, .523). 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 stats14 RF Tony Renda, Fr. .365, 35 RBI, 3 HR6 2B Brian Guinn, Jr. .324, 29 RBI, 1 HR5 1B Mark Canha, Jr. .323, 67 RBI, 9 HR27 C Chadd Krist, So. .344, 43 RBI, 10 HR33 DH Devin Rodriguez, Fr. .297, 21 RBI, 3 HR45 CF Chad Bunting, So. .317, 26 RBI, 3 HR19 RF Danny Oh, So. .307, 30 RBI, 2 HR15 SS Marcus Semien, So. .333, 34 RBI, 4 HR44 3B Mitch Delfino, Fr. .310, 10 RBI, 1 HR23 LHP Justin Jones, Fr. (Fri.) 10-5, 3.77 ERA
PAC-10 STANDINGS (AS OF JUNE 1) Conference Overall W L PCT GB W L T .PCTASU 20 7 .741 --- 47 8 0 .855UCLA 18 9 .667 2.0 43 13 0 .768WSU 15 12 .556 5.0 34 20 0 .630Stan 14 13 .519 6.0 31 23 0 .574Ore 13 14 .481 7.0 38 22 0 .633CAL 13 14 .481 7.0 29 23 0 .558Ariz 12 15 .444 8.0 33 22 0 .600OSU 12 15 .444 8.0 31 22 0 .585Wash 11 16 .407 9.0 28 28 0 .500USC 7 20 .259 13.0 28 32 0 .467
NOTING NORTH CAROLINA: The North Carolina Tar Heels, coached by Mike Fox (12th year at UNC, 536-228-1, .701), are 36-20, 14-16 in the ACC (did not qualify for the ACC Tournament) after sweeping then-No. 12 Virginia Tech (13-6, 5-3, 10-2) May 20-22 in Chapel Hill. Top hitters for the Tar Heels are sophomore third baseman Levi Michael (.355, 8 HR, 50 RBI), junior second baseman Dillon Hazlett (.342, 3 HR, 51 RBI) and senior shortstop Ryan Graepel (.318, 6 HR, 48 RBI). North Carolina's tentative Friday starter is junior right-hander Matt Harvey (7-3, 3.10 ERA). In 2009, the Tar Heels were 48-18 overall, 19-10 in the ACC (1st), 3-0 in the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, 2-0 in the NCAA Chapel Hill Super Regional and 0-2 in the College World Series.
CAL SERIES RECORD VERSUS OKLAHOMA AND ORAL ROBERTS: The Bears have a 1-3 all-time record against Oklahoma, winning one-of-three in Norman, May 12-13 1990 (L 9-5, L 9-8, W 16-14) and falling 9-6 March 9, 2009 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Cal has a 5-4 all-time record versus Oral Roberts, including winning two-of-three (L 2-1, W 8-3, W 6-1) March 22-24, 2007 at Evans Diamond.
CAL AMONG THE TOP OF PAC IN STATS: As a result of the Bears' performances to date (seven wins against ranked opponents, including four-straight against teams in the Top 25 between April 1-5, three Pac-10 series sweeps), Cal is third the Pac-10 with a .319 team batting average. The Bears are also second in the conference in slugging percentage (.473) and third in triples (20). Individually, junior first baseman/right fielder Mark Canha is first in RBI (67), eighth in home runs (9); and ninth in hit by pitch (11). Sophomore catcher Chadd Krist is fifth in home runs (10) and slugging percentage (.618), eighth in total bases (115) and 10th in triples (3). Junior second baseman Brian Guinn is fifth in triples (4) and sixth in stolen bases (15). Freshman right fielder Tony Renda is fourth in doubles (19), fifth in batting average (.365) and triples (4), sixth in runs (52) and hits (76), seventh in stolen bases (13) and ninth in total bases (112); while sophomore shortstop Marcus Semien is sixth in doubles (17). Freshman left-hander Justin Jones is second in the league in wins (10-5), fourth in innings pitched (98.0) and fifth in strikeouts looking (30). Sophomore right-hander Matt Flemer is sixth in saves (4).
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE CANHA: Junior first baseman Mark Canha is batting .323 with 11 doubles, nine home runs and a Pac-10 best 67 RBI (with three grand slams, his 67 RBI is fourth on the Cal single-season list). Canha is ranked in the Top-10 in the conference in three offensive categories and paces the Bears with 18 multi-RBI games, including a seven-RBI game May 9 at Washington State. He was 8-for-15 (.533) with two doubles, two home runs, four RBI and 16 total bases in helping lead Cal to a 2-0 shutout of Stanford and a sweep at USC April 5-11. Last season Canha had a breakout 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 added a team-best 24 multiple hit and 11 multiple RBI games during the 2009 campaign. In Baseball America's 2010 College Preview, Canha was 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 league's top defensive first baseman by the national baseball publication.
A JEWEL IN JONES: Freshman left-hander Justin Jones has more than lived up to his preseason accolade as a seventh round pick of the Chicago White Sox. Jones threw 8.0 innings with nine hits, one run, two walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 victory at USC April 10, followed by 8.1 innings with 10 hits, one earned run, no walks and five strikeouts April 17 versus Washington. He is currently second in the Pac-10 in victories (10-5) and fourth in innings pitched (98.0). He also has 73 strikeouts in those 98.0 innings with a 3.77 ERA. Jones has been involved in two shutouts and has thrown two complete games this season as well. He had a complete game win March 12 at then-No. 9-ranked Rice (6-4, 9.0 innings, six hits, four runs, four walks, five strikeouts), threw 1.0 inning of relief March 17 versus Houston, before throwing another complete game win March 20 at Cal Poly (14-2, 9.0 innings six hits, one earned run, no walks, nine strikeouts). Other top games for Jones was 10 strikeouts in 7.0 innings Feb. 27 in a 5-4 win over Saint Mary's, and nine strikeouts and only one walk in 7.0 innings in his college debut Feb. 20 versus Southern Utah.
RENDA'S RECOGNITION: After a phenomenal final Pac-10 series last weekend at Oregon in which he went 8-for-12 with three doubles as the lead-off hitter, freshman right fielder Tony Renda has burst on the conference Top-10 list in seven different categories - doubles (fourth 19), batting average (fifth .365), triples (fifth 4), hits (sixth 76), runs (sixth 52), stolen bases (seventh 13) and total bases (ninth 112). Arguably to most valuable offensive player as a freshman for Cal since Xavier Nady was the National Freshman of the Year in 1998, Renda has thrived as the Bears' lead-off hitter after batting anywhere from third to fifth to clean-up earlier in the season.
KRIST'S CONTRIBUTIONS: One of the biggest keys to the Bears' success has been the play of sophomore catcher Chadd Krist (.344, 15-2B, 3-3B, 10-HR, 43 RBI). After seeing action in 27 games last year and starting the second half of the season (.197, 4-2B, 2-HR, 10 RBI), Krist started off the 2010 campaign going 12-for-19 (.632) in his first five games with three doubles, a triple,three home runs (including a grand slam) and nine RBI. He has not slowed down, producing 21 multiple hit games, including going 4-for-5 with a triple, home run and two RBI April 16 versus Washington. Krist is ranked in the Top-10 in the Pac-10 in four offensive categories - fifth in home runs (10), fifth in slugging percentage (.618), eighth in total bases (115) and 10th in triples (3).
CAL POWER PITCHING DUO ANDERSON AND JOHNSON: Sophomore right-handers Dixon Anderson and Erik Johnson both had successful summers 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, 2009 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 vs. UC Davis and UCLA) in a week. Anderson was a 2009 first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection as well. Johnson 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. 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. Johnson could again be used as a closer during the 2010 postseason as he picked up a save in the Bears' 5-4 win May 28 at Oregon.
BEARS' YOUTH PARADE: Cal's baseball program's 2009 recruiting class was 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' Friday starter as a true freshman, four other Cal newcomers - right fielder/designated hitter/third baseman Tony Renda, third baseman Mitch Delfino, right fielder Jimmy Bosco and center fielder Darrel Matthews - have been frequent 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). Delfino was a 2009 MaxPreps Small Schools first-team All-American and Cal Hi Sports Division V Male Athlete of the Year, batting .591 with five home runs and 35 RBI. 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: When Cal completed its second straight Pac-10 sweep April 11 at USC (16-9, 7-1, 4-3), it was the first time Cal had swept the Trojans at Dedeaux Field since the Pac-10 went to a three-game format in 1972...the Bears' eight straight consecutive wins was the most since they won nine-straight during the 2008 campaign...it was Cal's first Pac-10 road sweep since winning three-straight at Washington State (5-1, 5-4, 6-5 in 10 innings) March 22-25, 2002 in Lewiston, Idaho...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) under Milano, 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 (144-for-451) and is listed as the fastest runner in the Pac-10 by Baseball America...on April 25 at Stanford, Guinn tagged up and scored from second base on sacrifice fly to center field...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...on May 8 Semien was named to the Brooks Wallace Award semifinal list as one of the nation's 25 top shortstops...
*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 were 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 (Ross featured in the March 26 San Francisco Chronicle), OF Brett Jackson (2007-09) with the Chicago Cubs. Both Craig and Ross made their respective Major League clubs to start the year, and Boesch was called up, to give Cal nine players in the majors this year.
*Cal's nine Major Leaguers for the 2010 season is believe to be the most current Major Leaguers of any college program in the nation this year.
*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.
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