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Cal Baseball Week/Season in Review

Baseball season ended this past Monday, at least the Bears ended it in style, via a 3-2 walkoff win over postseason bound Gonzaga in 12 innings.

Jed Jacobsohn

Cal Baseball ended the 2013 campaign with a 23-31 record, with 10-20 record in the very tough Pac-12 conference (good for 9th place out of 11 with Colorado not having a team).

Somewhat interestingly, the Pac-12 baseball season is actually not over yet. Cal is the only school that have completed the schedule while everyone else has 3 more games. So if USC gets swept by Arizona, then Cal would finish with a tie for 8th. On the flip side, if Wazzu can somehow sweep Oregon State, who are in the driver's seat for the conference title...nope, that's not going to happen.

Pac-12 Baseball Standings (almost final)

Oregon St.
Arizona St.
Washington St.

With pride on the line, the Bears hosted Furd for 3 games to close the conference season and then Gonzaga for one to end the season. While the results was less than desirable, the way that the Bears got to the 1-3 record for the week was a microcosm of the the season at large.

Bears fought hard and fought back against Furd in all 3 games, but only to fall short due to the lack of consistent pitching. Here is a quick recap of the action.

Friday May 17, 2013: Cal 8, Furd 9

This one hurts. Furd committed 4 errors (to the Bears' 2) but still managed to get a W in this one. Ryan Mason started the game for the Bears, giving up 3 runs in 4 innings while striking out none. Against the likely first overall pick in the MLB draft next month, the Bears managed to score 5 runs (4 earned) in 7 innings against Furd's Mark Appel (though Appel did have 11 K's). After Furd jumped out to a 3 run lead, the Bears tied it right away in the bottom of inning (4th). Bears actually went ahead when C Andrew Knapp hit a solo homer in the 5th. But a tired pen (including the usually reliable Logan Scott and Keaton Simokin) started to falter right away, giving up 6 runs in the last 4 innings. Furd taunted the Bears by playing some really crappy ball in the bottom of the 9th, allowing the Bears to just about tie up the game. Bears got the tying run on 3rd with one out but Celsi K'ed before Peterson flied out to end the game in agonizing fashion.

Saturday May 18, 2013: Cal 4, Furd 9

Trevor Hildenberger, who ended up leading the Bears in innings pitched this year, gave up 7 runs in 4.2 innings as the Bears trailed early and never got back in this one. Mitchell Kranson did hit his first homer of the year for the Bears.

Sunday May 19, 2013: Cal 3, Furd 7

The Sunday game started out quite competitive despite Furd drawing the first blood again with a run in the 3rd. They got another run in the 4th off Cal's starter Dylan Nelson. Bears tried to fight back but Furd got two more. Bears committing 3 errors in this one did not help the matter. Bears actually got 10 hits in this one but couldn't string enough together to score more runs.

Monday May 20, 2013: Cal 3, Gonzaga 2 (12)

Colin Monsour started this one for the Bears and gave up only an unearned run in 5 frames (lowering his ERA enough to be the team ERA leader). Bears got the lead in the 2nd but things were tied by the end of the 9th. When Gonzaga managed to go ahead in the 10th, the Bears did not quit. After two straight singles, the Bears benefited by scoring the tying run via a wild pitch. In the 12th, Mitchell Kranson hit a walk off single to end the year on a high note for the Bears. This was the Bears' 6th walk off victory of the year (including both the very first and last games of the year).

With this being my last Cal Baseball article for the season, it is time to award the Hitter and Pitcher of the Year. As well as the statistical leaders of the year.

Hitter of the Year:

Easily Catcher Andrew Knapp is the best hitter for the Bears this season. He posted a slash line (batting average / on base percentage / slugging percentage) of 0.350 / 0.434 / 0.544, team best by far in all three categories. In conference play, Knapp's numbers are even better with a line of 0.357 / 0.443 / 0.554. It would be interesting to see if Knapp would return for his senior year given his brother joining the team as a freshman next year. Knapp is projected to be a end of the first/second round talent in the draft next month. A pro team is probably willing to give him a nice bonus to forgo his senior year.

Knapp tied for the team lead in homeruns with 8 (with SS/3B Chris Paul) and got the edge in RBI with 41 (one more than the 40 of Devon Rodriguez). In runs, Knapp also lead the team with 34 and walks with 27. Knapp is first on the team in total bases with 112, Rodriguez is a distant second with 89. Knapp hit 16 doubles, no other Bear has more than 8.

Pitcher of the Year:

Though he does not lead the team in either ERA or total strikeouts, freshman Ryan Mason is the pitcher of the year for the Bears. Mason lead the team in games started (11) and tied for the lead in wins with 5. More importantly as the Friday starter for the Bears, Mason did his best in keeping the Bears in many games to set the tone for the series. Overall, Mason finished with an ERA of 3.76 (4.10 in conference play, still good for being the 3rd best on the team...Bears's conference ERA was 5.08 as a team).

Interesting Stats of the Years:

Team ERA in conference play: 5.08, opponent's ERA: 3.67. Guess why the Bears only won a third of the conference game.

In 54 games, the Bears sacrificed successfully 62 times. That number is not a surprise for anyone who knows Coach David Esquer's love to bunt, but is still rather astonishing. Not to mention, that number does not include all the failed bunt attempts.

Bears out hit their opponents in homers, 30 to 29. Team leaders in homers are Knapp and Paul with 8 apiece. Rodriguez is next with 7.

Bears has committed 62 errors in 54 games. Yeah, that is not a good thing. Bears' opponents has committed 59 errors, by the way. Lots of very sloppy games as bad fielding is apparently contagious.

Mike Reuvekamp lead the team with 11 HBP. Often leadoff hitter Devin Pearson is second with 10 HBP.

Trevor Hildenberger lead the team with 57.2 innings pitched. He also lead the team with 47 K's. Siomkin is second with 45. Mason is third with 43.

Year in Review:

Fiat Lux! Looking back at 2013, the season will probably be remembered for the improvements to Evans Diamond, with the addition of the lights, beer graden, and the new scoreboard. Andrew Knapp, who will likely make an impact in the next level, will probably also be remembered for his stellar season. Devon Rodriguez, the Cal hero from the CWS run, was back in action after an injury took out his last season. While he still posted decent overall numbers, he played most of the year hurt. His valiant effort and role as a team leader is also one of the highlight of the year.

Also, check out the photoessay of a College Baseball writer's trip to Evans Diamond.