"Riley v. Longshore seems so unimportant all of a sudden."
I hope all y'all had a great Memorial Day Weekend. Personally, I went camping up by Yosemite. Just to get away from it all. And I return on Monday to find my two favorite baseball teams going in different directions. The As had swept the most hated Boston Red Sox. The Duke had even nearly thrown a no-no. But over on the Cal side, things fared just a *bit* worse.
As OaktownMario alluded to , Cal almost got swept by the somewhat hated UCLA Bruins. In the first two games, Cal got shut out, 8-0 and 7-0. They managed to salvage a game when they won in extras on Sunday.
Even with this minor setback, Cal still made the post-season . And the strong final showing helped the apparently bubbleteam UCLA also make the post-season. Cal is in the Long Beach regional facing off this Friday against San Diego. The other two teams in this regional are Fresno State and Long Beach State. The Cal Bears site had this to say about the regional:
The Bears have a 6-0 record this season against the Long Beach Regional field. Cal defeated the University of San Diego, 5-0, on Mar. 2 in San Diego during the University of San Diego Tournament. The Bears are 2-0 against Fresno State, defeating the Bulldogs, 14-4, on Feb. 28 at the University of San Diego Tournament, and, 5-4, Apr. 2 at Evans Diamond. Also at Evans Diamond, Cal swept then No. 5-ranked Long Beach State - 6-1, 10-6, 4-3 - Mar. 28-30.
That certainly bodes well. But, although Cal has a strong baseball history, it does not have a lot of recent baseball post-season success:
The Bears, under head coach David Esquer and led by senior second baseman Josh Satin, junior first baseman David Cooper and junior right-hander Tyson Ross, among others, are making their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2001 when they went 1-2 at the Baton Rouge, La. Regional. This will be Cal's 10th regional appearance all-time where it owns a 22-11 record. The Bears have also qualified for the College World Series nine times, most recently in 1992 under coach Bob Milano. Cal captured the first CWS title in 1947 and also won the national championship in 1957.
Here is a link to the bracket over at ESPN. As Ragnarok mentioned, to get to Omaha, we'll most likely have to go through ASU, who apparently was almost the top seed in the entire bracket. A tough challenge. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!
Let's look at the Toreros. We'll also take a look later in the week at the other two teams in our bracket, but the most immediate opponent is USD, so let's focus on them first.
"No, it is U of SD, not SDState. I can't get you drugs."
They are our first and, for right now, foremost hurdle to success. They ended the season on a flat note, losing two games to another alma mater, USF. But those losses were rare as they had won 19 out of the last 20 before that. Further, they made up for those trangressions by destroying Pepperdine in the WCC Championship series by rather huge scores.
They are led by 10 year coach Rich Hill, who I reflexively hate for ruining my fantasy baseball team. Oh wait, not THAT Rich Hill.
"I don't know why Pinella sent him to the minors, stop asking me!"
Under his seasoned leadership, they've been all over the Top 25 and in the college post-season often. More than we can say about our Golden Bears. Here is some info on their best players.
Matusz becomes the first Torero to be named Pitcher of the Year since Ricky Barrett received the accolade in 2002. The junior continued his assault on the record book, striking out a conference-high 122 batters on the year and moving into fourth place on the WCC's all-time strikeout list with 378. The Cave Creek, Ariz. native was nothing short of dominant during conference play, posting a 6-1 mark in seven starts and notching a miniscule 1.89 ERA during league action. Matusz fanned 67 batters in WCC play, while logging 52.1 innings to rank second in the conference.
Certainly, a formidable pitcher. He even is on the short list for important pitching awards like the Dick Hoswer trophy and the Roger Clemens award. I can only assume that last one involves cheating on your wife repeatedly, even with minors . But, unfortunately, there's more. 10 of their players were named to the All-WCC team led by hitter James Meador:
Meador takes home his first All-WCC accolade after leading the team in hitting with a .380 overall batting average, a team-best 71 hits, 16 doubles, has two triples, five home runs and 49 RBI. In conference action, Meador was the catalyst for the offense as he led the team in hitting with a .442 average, while recording 38 hits, nine doubles, two triples, five home runs and 28 RBI.
So, Cal definitely has its work cut out for it. But really, let's throw out all the numbers, throw out the national rankings and the seedings. As the early 2000s A's showed us, in a short series, pretty much anything can happen. Baseball is a very luck-oriented game and in a few games (as we have here), the ball can bounce many different ways. Pray to Our Father Marshawn, that it bounces the Cal way this Friday at 2 PM.