Bears were edged 3-2 yesterday with starting freshman righty Daulton Jefferies got pulled in the 5th inning. After falling behind 2-1 after Jefferies' inherited runner was allowed to score, the Bears fought back with a game tying RBI by Chris Paul in the bottom of the 7th. A two out RBI double by the defending NCAA champs, UCLA allowed the Bruins to put the game in their top closer, and the Bears were done in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
Eric Sorenson: First off, you've still got a couple of guys from that 2011 College World Series team around. How big is having those guys back?
Dave Esquer: It's huge. The fact that we've got Derek Campbell, Vince Bruno and Devon Rodriguez all back after redshirting last year and all of them are at the top of the order for us is a great luxury. They're all such great leaders and set a good example for our younger guys. These are guys who know what it takes to get to Omaha and set a great example on the field and in the locker room.
ES: But you guys are also really young in other areas, right?
DE: We pitched a freshman on Friday night, Daulton Jefferies. We've got Alex Martinez, a freshman, pitching on Saturdays right now and another freshman, Alex Schick, has started a few games for us, so we're still a little on the young side on the mound. We've also got Ryan Mason in the bullpen now; he was our Friday starter last year as a freshman. If he can stay there, it will give us a strong arm at the end of the game. But if I have to move him back to the starting role, then so be it. But that's how we're handling it.
Interesting news about how the Cal Baseball Classic last week taking place in Berkeley.
ES: I liked this past week where you brought in Arkansas, Tulane and San Francisco. Interesting field.
DE: I like the diversity of each of these tournaments we've played in. I want to give our guys new experiences by going on the road to new places and playing good teams. We played in a tournament at Auburn; we also went down to San Diego and played them and Baylor. And this tournament of ours was supposed to be played at AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco, but the Giants' people backed out of the deal. But [Arkansas] coach [Dave] Van Horn was really great about it. He just said, "Who cares? We'll come out and play out your place anyway."
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