As the Bears about to start Pac-12 Conference play (one of the toughest baseball conference in the country) this weekend at Utah (Bears' non-conference schedule is not quite completely done as there are still a few nonconference games sprinkled in among the conference games), let's take a look at what happened with Cal Baseball this past week.
Following the road trip to Houston where the Bears participated in the Astros College Classic and played an additional game at Rice, the Bears returned to Evans Diamond to play 4 games against the visiting Fresno State. Bears opened the season with a 3 game home sweep of Michigan with all 3 games coming via walk offs (and two in extra innings).
Thursday March 7, 2012: Cal Bears 5, Fresno State Bulldogs 4 (10)
The home walk off trend continued with yet another one as 2nd baseman Brendon Farney's Sac Fly gave the Bears the win. "Friday" starter for the Bears was Senior lefty Justin Jones, who had his best start by limiting the Bulldogs to 4 runs (3 earned runs) in 7 innings. Jones gave up 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5.
Friday March 8, 2012: Cal Bears 8, Fresno State Bulldogs 1
Bears started freshman Ryan Mason, who had been solid out of the pen, for the Friday game. Mason gave up just 1 unearned run in 5 inning while striking out 7. Chris Paul and Michael Theofanopoulos (playing 1B rather than pitching) went deep for the Bears. This non-walk off win showed that the Bears can win at home in a way more leisurely than a walkoff.
Saturday March 9, 2012: Cal Bears 4, Fresno State Bulldogs 3
Bears took the lead two whole innings earlier in this one, getting the go ahead run in the 7th via a Sac Fly from SS Mike Reuvekamp. Freshman righthander Colin Monsours, who proved to be the Bears' stopper in Houston by defeating Houston in his first career start, gave up 2 runs in 4.2 innings. He allowed 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Leadoff hitters for both school were the one who homered in this game. Bears' Devin Pearson hit his first collegiate homer leading off the bottom of the first.
Sunday March 10, 2012: Cal Bears 8, Fresno State Bulldogs 4
Bears went ahead again in the 7th on Sunday, but this time for 4 runs. Sunday starter Dylan Nelson only threw 2 innings (while giving up 2 runs), as the Bears wasted the 3 run lead that they got in the first inning. 3B Chris Paul hit an one out homer as a part of the Bears' 7th inning outburst. Bears improved to 7-0 at home. The 4 game sweep of Fresno State drop their record for the season to 3-12.
Tuesday March 12, 2012: Cal Bears 3, Santa Clara Broncos 1
Following the return to Rice's Reckling Park last Monday where the Bears won the Rice Regional during their magical Omaha run, the Bears returned to Santa Clara's Schott Stadium where the Bears "hosted" and won the Super-Regional that same year.
Here is the end of the game 1 of that Super Regional:
On Tuesday, the Bears started Michael Theofanopoulos, who went 3.2 innings while giving up 1 run (in the 1st). Justin Jones actually came in relief in this one. Bears took the lead with 3 runs in the 4th thanks to the RBI fielder's choice from pitcher/DH Theofanopoulos (he basically hit for himself but remained in the game as the DH even after he was done pitching) and a 2 run double from LF Brian Celsi.
To recap: The Bears went 5-0 in the last 6 days to improve their season record to 10-7.
Season Statistical Leaders (Cal Baseball Stats):
Hitting (min. 30 ABs):
Batting Average: 0.375 DH Devon Rodriguez and 1B/2B Brenden Farney
Slugging %: 0.500 OF Devin Pearson, 0.493 C Andrew Knapp
On Base %: 0.462 1B/2B Brenden Farney
Strikeouts: 13 Ryan Mason, 12 Trevor Hildenberger
IP: 19.1 Justin Jones
Wins: 3, Ryan Mason and Trevor Hildenberger
Saves: 2 Michael Lowden
Looking ahead: Now the competition gets a lot tougher with the start of conference play. Bears will start by heading to Utah for 3 games, the Saturday game is televised on the Pac-12 Networks. We will have open thread (and links to radio feed) for all 3 games. What will be the Bears' rotation for the weekend: freshmen Ryan Mason and Colin Monsours along with Justin Jones? The Bears will also play a Wednesday game at San Jose State before a 3 game series at UCLA starting on Friday.