Cal LB Mohamed Named Pac-10 Player of Week

Cal LB Mohamed Named Pac-10 Player of Week

Nov. 15, 2010COLLEGE PAGE CAL FOOTBALL

WALNUT CREEK -- Quarterback Jeff Tuel of WASHINGTON STATE, linebacker Mike Mohamed of CALIFORNIA and punt returner Cliff Harris of OREGON have been named Pac-10 Players of the Week in football.

Tuel, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., threw for 157 yards and rushed 18 times for a career-high 79 yards to lead the Cougars to a 31-14 upset at Oregon State. Tuels leadership helped WSU snap a 16-game conference winless streak dating back to the end of the 2008 season and also earned WSUs first road win since the end of the 2007 season. Tuel completed 10 of 15 passes for 157 yards and no interceptions, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to Marquess Wilson that put the Cougars ahead 21-0 early in the third quarter. WSU converted 10 of 17 opportunities on third down with Tuel accounting for seven of those, four on the ground and three through the air. He also engineered an offense that controlled the ball for more than 40 minutes during the contest.

Mohamed, a senior from Brawley, Calif., established a career-high with 16 tackles, while also adding a sack in the 15-13 loss to Oregon. He guided the Golden Bear defense in limiting the nations top offense to 15 points and 307 total yards, well below their nationally-leading averages of 54.7 points and 567.2 yards per game.

Harris, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to provide the Ducks a lead it would never relinquish in a 15-13 win at California. Harris returned two punts on the day for a 39.5-yard average as well as one kickoff for 10 yards. His fourth punt return for a score on the season ties a Pac-10 record first set by Californias DeSean Jackson in 2006.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were running back Shane Vereen of California, quarterback Andrew Luck of Stanford, and running back Marc Tyler of USC. Also nominated on defense were linebacker Oliver Aaron of Arizona State, linebacker Talmadge Jackson III of Oregon, linebacker Shayne Skov of Stanford, and cornerback Shareece Wright of USC. Also nominated on special teams was quarterback Mitch Mustain of USC.
Courtesy Pac-10 media services.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.