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Golden Medals: Cal Baseball seek to extend Stanford's worst Pac-12 start ever; Rugby Playoff Preview

Varsity Cup quarter-final is this weekend for the Golden Bears - Bears are in Austin to take on Texas Longhorns. Men's Gymnastics are in the NCAA Championship Team Final. Baseball take on Stanford.

Found this old picture (the good old day of the block C) from that magical CWS run in the SBNation available photos.
Found this old picture (the good old day of the block C) from that magical CWS run in the SBNation available photos.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Baseball (21-9, 8-4 in Pac-12)

It's time to make some history this afternoon, the kind of history that let us enjoy SchadenFurd (the special schadenfreude from the failure of Stanford).

Bears will look to keep perennial baseball powerhouse Stanford Cardinal (12-18, 0-9 in Pac-12) winless in Pac-12 play.

Fri., April 10 Stanford Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 3 p.m. Pac-12 Net., KALX 90.7 FM
Sat., April 11 Stanford Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 7:30 p.m. Pac-12 Net, KALX 90.7 FM
Sun., April 12 Stanford Evans Diamond, Berkeley, Calif. 2 p.m. Pac-12 Net, KALX 90.7 FM
PDF: Weekly Release
Cal Baseball Foundation, 2015 Baseball Promotions

All 3 games of this series are on Pac-12 Bay Area and KALX.

Bears are coming off a disappointing home series loss to Washington State last week. Bears did salvaged the rubber game of the series by a 6-2 result after falling by 4-2 and 4-0 results.

Time to hear from Head Coach David Esquer:

It's certainly a big rivalry game between the two schools, the games are also particularly personal for Cal's sophomore ace (Friday starter) Daulton Jefferies.

This is the tentative starting lineup for the Bears.

No.    Pos.    Player    2015 Stats
23    CF Aaron Knapp, So.      .348, 11 RBI, 0 HR
17    3B Lucas Erceg, So.    .353, 27 RBI, 8 HR
6    1B Chris Paul, Sr.    .355, 26 RBI, 6 HR
28    C Brett Cumberland, Fr.    .295, 26 RBI, 6 HR
30    LF Mitchell Kranson, Jr.    .288, 11 RBI, 2 HR
3    RF Brian Celsi, Jr.    .250, 20 RBI, 2 HR
19    DH Nick Halamandaris, Jr.    .158, 5 RBI, 1 HR
20    2B Robbie Tenerowicz, So.    .200, 2 RBI, 0 HR
9    SS Preston Grand Pre, Fr.    .284, 18 RBI, 1 HR
22    RHP Daulton Jefferies, So. (Fri.)    3-1, 2.20 ERA
42    RHP Ryan Mason, Jr. (Sat.)    4-1, 3.14 ERA
24    LHP Matt Ladrech, Fr. (Sun.)    5-3, 2.13 ERA

Jefferies is expected to be back to his starting role after relieving last week (freshman Jeff Bain started the Thursday game last week) while coming back from an injury.

Lucas Erceg and Chris Paul has finally cooled a bit and now bats under 0.400 for the season.

This week, freshman catcher Brett Cumberland is highlighted.

Certainly, MLB is also back now, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this Cal-Stanford series this weekend.


Cal Rugby (Varsity Cup playoff is underway!)

It's the Cal-Texas match that Cal fans have been waiting for. Long been seeking some unreasonable revenge against everything Texas since 2004, this may be the best chance for Cal to really dominate a Texas squad.

The Varsity Cup playoff has started and the Bears are in Austin this weekend for the quarter-final match against the Longhorns.

Here is the full bracket:

Given the huge advantage to the Bears in this one, Coach Clark will go with a mix team. From

Coach Clark characterized the selection process for the quarterfinal as “a balance we need to strike in our overall approach to the postseason, and this means we will select a mixed team. Anyone carrying a nagging injury goes to the shelf for a week and we spread the responsibility for a victory among some of our reserves. We need to win, but we also need to be fresh for the subsequent matches, which only escalate in difficulty.”

Should the Bears defeat Texas as expected, they will host the semi-final next week (one last home match for the seniors) against the winner of Clemson/Navy. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the matches will be streamed or broadcasted until the Varsity Cup final on the NBC Sports Network. All sign points to a repeat of Cal-BYU in the final, but hopefully with a different final result for once. The Bears have yet to win the Varsity Cup since the Cup's inception in 2013.

Cal Men's Gymnastics (Team to NCAA Team Finals tonight)

7th ranked Cal Men's Gymnastics have advanced to the 6 team NCAA Team Finals for the first time since 2012. Just like Cal Baseball, it has taken some time for the once slated to be cut program to return to prominence. Nevertheless, the Bears had an impressive day yesterday to advance to today's final.

The top 3 teams per session advanced to the team final.  The final 6 teams are: Cal, Stanford, Penn State, along with No.1 Oklahoma, Michigan, and Iowa. Coincidentally, the Bears' team score would only be good enough for 4th place in the evening session.

NCAA has live coverage of the finals, starting at 5pm PT. You can find the coverage here. A separate stream exists for each of the 6 rotations.

Cal Women's Gymnastics (Toni-Ann Williams to NCAA Championships)

Berkeley was one of the host for a NCAA Women's Gymnastics Regional last weekend. Just like when the Bears hosted the Pac-12 Championships the year ago, the home gym advantage was big for the Bears who wear seeking a berth in the NCAA Championships.

Unfortunately, the Bears as a team fell a bit short, finishing a close 3rd when only the top 2 teams advances. The higher ranked Utah and Georgia squads were able to fend the upstarting Bears off.

While the score comparison to other teams is obviously important in any sporting events, the Bears should take a lot of pride in posting the highest team score in program history at a NCAA Regional.

Bears will have a representative at the NCAA though, as freshman phenom Toni-Ann Williams qualified as an individual and will compete all-around at the NCAA.

Cal Women's Tennis (16-3, 7-1 in Pac-12)

Against the weaker schools in the conference, the Bears rested a few players, including No.1 singles star in Meagan Manasse while still easily defeated Washington and Oregon. The 3rd ranked Bears host Washington State and San Francisco in two separate dual meets on Sunday.

USC currently are the lone undefeated team in conference play. They have also ascended to the No.1 ranking in the country after edging the Bears few weeks ago.

Cal Men's Tennis (16-5, 4-0 in Pac-12)

27th ranked Cal men also had no problem against Washington and Oregon last week. They will close out the home regular season play (one more match after this weekend at Stanford next week) when the LA schools come to town this weekend. No.5 USC face the Bears at 3 pm today while No.15 UCLA plays the Bears at 3 pm on Saturday.

Cal Softball (28-9, 5-7 in Pac-12)

Have you vote for Cal senior Cheyenne Cordes for the Senior CLASS Award yet today? Vote early and vote often!

The Bears take a break from Pac-12 play this weekend when they host UNLV for 3 (a doubleheader tomorrow) and then Santa Clara on Tuesday.

After dropping 2 of 3 to Utah (Bears salvaged the last game of the series), the Bears bounced back by beating St. Mary's 8-1 on Wednesday.

Cal Women's Water Polo (16-5, 2-2 in MPSF)

No.4 Bears fought hard but could not hold a 4-2 lead on No.3 USC to lose 6-5 at home last weekend. Sophomore Madeline Trabucco had a standout game at the net for the Bears. Fellow scorers in this game for the Bears were also all sophomores as the team is still looking to breakthrough against one of USC, UCLA, and Stanford.

No. 3 USC 6, No. 4 Cal 5

USC 1 1 1 3 – 6

Cal 1 2 1 1 – 5

USC Goals: Monica Vavic 4, Brianna Daboub, Jayde Appel.

Cal Goals: Dora Antal 2, Roser Tarrago 2, Anna Illes

USC Saves: Victoria Chamorro 7.

Cal Saves: Madeline Trabucco 6.

Bears hosts ASU at noon on Sunday. That match is on the Pac-12 Networks. The following week is the Big Splash, with an odd time of 5 pm on Thursday. That match will also be on the Pac-12 Networks.

Congratulations are in order for Cal women's water polo head coach Rich Corso. Corso was just voted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame (I think this is more prestigious than the CGB Hall of Fame). While the Cal Women's Water Polo program is still the clear weakest link of the stellar Cal Aquatics program (not counting diving as a separate thing here, of course), the program is at a better place under Corso than before (the NCAA field being expanded does help tremendously with the NCAA berth).

"I am deeply honored to have been selected to the Hall of Fame," Corso said. "I am mindful that the primary reason why I have been selected is because of my mentors, colleagues, and most importantly, the student-athletes I have had the opportunity to teach in this great Olympic sport."

Corso is one of the most respected and successful water polo coaches in the world, and is well-known for his focus on sports science, sports psychology and video analysis. He served as the U.S. Men’s National Team Coach from 1992-96, leading the Americans to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He also led the United States to the Gold Medal at the 1995 Pan-Am Games.

For 20 years, Corso was the head coach at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, considered the premier prep program in America. He won two CIF championships and was named CIF Coach of the Year four times.

Corso took over Cal’s women’s water program in 2006. He led the Bears to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships in 2010 and they have now been to the postseason three of the past five seasons. At 16-5 and ranked No. 4 nationally, Cal appears well on its way to making it four of the past six years in 2015.

Haas Renovation

Want to watch Cal head coaches Lindsay Gottlieb (women's basketball), Cuonzo Martin (men's basketball), Rich Feller (volleyball), and Justin Howell (women's gymnastics) swing the sledgehammer? I don't know where the money is coming from, but Haas Pavilion is getting a new scoreboard (among other things) to improve the gameday experiences for the fans.