Cal's storybook season comes to an end in Omaha


Cal's storybook season comes to an end in Omaha

June 23, 2011

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- After its roller-coaster season, California is thankful to have next year.

The Bears began the season under the impression there would be no next year for their program. There will be, however, thanks to alumni and boosters and others who raised the money necessary to keep it going.

That is especially comforting to coaches and players of California after its 8-1 loss to Virginia at the College World Series on Thursday night.

The Bears couldn't get their bats going against Virginia starter Tyler Wilson, and their three errors proved costly.

"Obviously, it's disappointing the way (we) went out. Very uncharacteristic of us," Chadd Krist said. "We made it to Omaha a lot of people can't say they've done that and we did it with our best buds. We're disappointed, but celebrate the season a little bit, too."

Cal (38-23) learned during fall practice that its administration planned to cut the program for budgetary reasons in 2012. A number of players started looking for new schools. Many stayed and held out hope.

In April, the players found out that a 9 million fundraising effort had saved the program.

Coach David Esquer called it a "crazy year."

"I think our program and our players proved a lot to themselves that they can take with them the rest of their lives," he said. "They've learned a lot of lessons about perseverance and strength and it's going to help them be better husbands and fathers. It's been a year that has really taught them, as well as myself, a whole lot about human spirit."

The Bears made the NCAA tournament after a sixth-place finish in the Pac-10, and they came back from a six-run deficit in the sixth inning to beat Baylor in a regional final.

But they couldn't get past Wilson, an unbeaten senior who allowed five hits and carried a shutout into the eighth inning.

"All yearlong, whenever we've needed a great outing, maybe after a difficult loss, he's responded every time for his team," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "He was the right guy to give the ball to tonight. He went out there and charged the mound and gave us everything that he had."

Virginia (56-11) will face defending national champion South Carolina in the Bracket 2 final. The Cavs, who lost 7-1 to the Gamecocks on Tuesday, would need to beat them on Friday and again Saturday to reach next week's best-of-three championship round.

Wilson (10-0) held the Bears to two hits through five innings and retired 11 in a row from the second to sixth. He matched his career high of 7 2-3 innings, striking out five and walking none.

Cal starter Dixon Anderson (4-4) took the loss, failing to get past the third inning for the third time in five starts.

Virginia broke open the game with a four-run sixth that started when Kenny Swab singled into center field and kept running until he got home after the ball got past center fielder Darrel Matthews.

Matthews misplayed the bounce on Swab's hard drive and the ball rolled to the wall, bringing the overflow crowd of 25,833 to its feet. It was Matthews' first error in 50 games this season.

"I saw him kind of trying to make a short-hop catch on it, and it went by, so I just started running as hard as I could," Swab said.

Anderson hit Taylor with the first pitch of the game. His wild pitch in the third let Jared King score the first run. Anderson's throw to first on Werman's sacrifice bunt pulled Devon Rodriguez off the bag, and Werman scored on a sacrifice fly.

Wilson left in the eighth after Cal put two runners on base. Cody Winiarski relieved, and Tony Renda ended the shutout with an RBI single. That was it for the Bears.

"One of the first things I thought was, 'Is it really over?' I couldn't really believe it," Pac-10 player of the year Renda said. "The second thought was, 'Let's win it next year.'"

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday


Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

Tyler Beede stepped on the hill at Raley Field in Sacramento on Tuesday night one year older and came away with one more win after the River Cats defeated the Memphis Redbirds, 6-2. 

Beede, now 24 years old, didn’t churn out his most impressive or dominant performance, but he limited hits and found a way to earn his third win of the year. On the night, he completed 5 1/3 innings pitched and only allowed four hits and two earned runs. He did, however, walk more batters (3) than strikeouts (2), which is his lowest strikeout total in a game this season. 

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising when looking at Beede’s trends this season on the mound. In his nine starts for the River Cats, he is walking slightly more batters than last year when he was in Double-A Richmond, and he’s significantly striking out less batters. Through 49 innings pitched, which leads the River Cats, Beede is issuing 3.31 walks per nine innings (3.24 BB/9 in 2016) while only striking out 5.88 batters per nine, compared to 8.25 K/9 last year. 

Instead, the Giants’ top pitching prospect is turning to ground balls, setting him up smarter for the future. After forcing seven groundouts to three flyouts on Tuesday, he is now rolling ground balls 56.5 percent of the time, an increase from 47.9 percent last season. 

Sacramento plays in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. All teams outside of the River Cats, who are last in the league with a team batting average of .238, are averaging just over five runs per game and almost one homer every game. Beede, isn’t letting the ball fly through air and has only allowed three homers off of him this season. This plays well for his and the Giants’ future. 

Whenever Beede finds his way to San Francisco, he doesn’t need to rely on his mid-90s fastball to get outs. The strikeouts will come, but life will be much easier watching a Gold Glove infield scoop up grounders for years to come. 

While Beede waits his turn to join the bigs, he’s showing maturity on the hill and stayed undefeated at home on a birthday night to remember. 

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ top power prospect, Chris Shaw, has been called up from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento. Shaw, 23, played only first base in the minors before this season, but has transitioned to left field. He played 18 games at first and 18 games at left for the Flying Squirrels, registering no errors in the outfield. 

— Kelby Tomlinson is working in center field while with the River Cats. Insider Alex Pavlovic spoke to Bruce Bochy about the move

— Bryan Reynolds, the Giants’ top pick in 2016, finished a home run short of the cycle on Sunday. He went 5-for-6 with four RBI in the San Jose Giants’ win. On the season, Reynolds now has 14 multi-hit games in 38 games played. Here’s the breakdown: Six two-hit games, seven three-hit games and one five-hit game. 

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

The Warriors led the NBA in offensive rating (113.2) during the regular season.

The Warriors are second in the league in offensive rating (115.8) in the playoffs.

Scoring is not an issue.

But will we see the Warriors run more pick-and-roll in the NBA Finals, specifically the Steph Curry-Kevin Durant combination?

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," interim head coach Mike Brown told ESPN's Zach Lowe. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does.

"But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Mr. Kerr -- your response?

"Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr told ESPN. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

During the regular season, the Warriors ranked last in pick-and-roll possessions per game -- both when the ball-handler ended the possession, or when the roll/pop man ended the possession.

Steph Curry averaged 6.1 pick-and-roll possessions per game -- 28th in the NBA.

That number is up to 7.5 per game in the playoffs.

“I think we’re still at our best when we’re simple about what we’re doing,” Curry recently told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “Whether it’s pick-and-roll and you’ve got everybody spaced. You’ve got shooters where they need to be. You’ve got the dive man where he needs to be with space to put pressure on the rim. 

"You’ve got a ball-handler playmaker with it that can come off and shoot it, get a bucket. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be more complex than that. We’ve got the awareness that, that needs to happen.”