It's official -- Cal baseball will return for 2011-12

430717.jpg

It's official -- Cal baseball will return for 2011-12

April 8, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sign up for Breaking News Alerts and receive e-mail and text alerts when headlines happen.CSNBayArea.com is your up-to-the-minute news source.

BERKLEY (AP) -- California is keeping baseball after all.

Nearly two months after the university reinstated three other teams that were slated for elimination, the school said Friday that baseball would survive after a massive fundraising effort by alumni, former players, parents of current players and other team supporters.

Cal said financial commitments totaling 9 million were presented to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau on Thursday by former Golden Bears pitcher and fundraising leader Stu Gordon. The total was short of the initial 10 million goal so additional money is still needed in this effort but the Cal administration was confident enough to announce the program would be saved.

"It was a very trying time and an ordeal for us but what came out of it was a resolve led by our alumni," Bears coach Dave Esquer said. "I'm just so proud of that group that would not take no for an answer. It finally came through with a resolution we've all been waiting for."

Esquer received the news early Friday from athletic director Sandy Barbour, who lauded the efforts of former Cal players and alumni for helping to save the program.

"This is a good day for the Cal Athletics family," Barbour said. "By confronting adversity through cooperation, we are now in a much better position going forward. We have all learned important lessons that will serve us well in the future."

The Bears are in Tucson, Ariz., to begin a three-game series against the Wildcats. Esquer delivered the news to his players after calling them together for what was supposed to be a scouting report meeting. A loud cheer went up in the room after the coach spoke.

"He dropped the news on us and it was just a big chip off our shoulders," junior catcher Chadd Krist said. "We no longer have to really worry about our future. Our future is with Cal baseball and with the University of California."

In February, Birgeneau partially reversed a decision announced last September when he said that enough money had been raised to keep the men's rugby, women's lacrosse and women's gymnastics teams. The two women's teams had been slated for elimination, while men's rugby was going to be reclassified as a "varsity club sport."

Campus officials said they received between 12 million and 13 million in pledges to retain the programs with 8 million available to cover the costs of the three sports for seven to 10 years.

Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary said at the time that the pledges specifically for baseball and men's gymnastics were insufficient. In February, Cal said the baseball program had raised between 1.5 million and 2.5 million, which would have covered its costs for about two years but was still well short of that 10 million goal for long-term sustainability.

"I have been so impressed with the combined efforts of the alumni, parents, volunteers, friends and coaches who have not only expanded the Cal baseball family, but who have also strengthened it," Gordon said. "We are thankful that the chancellor has been supportive of our efforts to save Cal baseball through our fundraising efforts, and that the Cal athletic department has been working with us to support those efforts. I am confident that we will meet our fundraising goal of 10 million very shortly and am ecstatic that we can continue the storied Cal baseball tradition in the future."

The university also said that baseball supporters will work closely with the school to develop a strategic plan to raise significant additional annual resources beginning with the 2011-12 season through improved game-day revenue and annual gift and special event revenue.

The plan to cut the sports was part of a broader campaign to reduce UC Berkeley's annual support for intercollegiate athletics from more than 12 million to about 5 million in 2014 as a result of the state of California's reduced support of higher education.

Men's gymnastics is still short of its fundraising goal to be reinstated, having gathered just under half of the 4 million required to operate the team for the next seven to 10 years, but Barbour said she hopes the momentum from baseball will help the cause and lead to a successful outcome.

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The A’s got a sampling of what’s made Dallas Keuchel one of the majors’ top pitchers through the first month.

The Astros lefty pitched into the eighth and allowed just one Athletic to advance past first base as Oakland absorbed a 7-2 loss in the rubber game of this weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

After an off-year in 2016, Keuchel has regained his 2015 Cy Young-winning form, becoming the American League’s first five-game winner of 2017. He held the A’s to three hits over 7 2/3 innings, as the A’s fell to 1-5 so far on this three-city road trip. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs in five of their past seven games.

Jesse Hahn (1-2) turned in a quality start for the A’s, going six innings and giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits. The Astros got a run off him in the first when George Springer beat out an infield hit and scored from first on Carlos Correa’s double down the left-field line. Evan Gattis’ double off the top of the left field wall scored another run in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

Then a key play came in the fifth. Brian McCann hit a sharp bouncer toward first that took a big hop and got past Ryon Healy for a two-run single and a four-run cushion that Keuchel (5-0) wasn’t going to let slip away.

The A’s closed April with an 11-14 record and trail first-place Houston by five games

Starting pitching report

With Sonny Gray returning from the disabled list, Hahn is trying to prove he deserves to stick in the rotation moving forward. He was coming off an outstanding performance in Anaheim, when he held the Angels to one hit over eight innings. He wasn’t as sharp Sunday, but he wasn’t terrible either. The right-hander struck out six and didn’t issue a walk, but his command betrayed him a bit in the fourth. With one out, he hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch and then advanced him to second with a wild pitch. Hahn fell behind Gattis 3-1 when the A’s killer hit a run-scoring double to left that fell just a few feet short of being a home run. The Astros’ two-run rally in the fifth was aided by Josh Reddick reaching base on yet another catchers’ interference play. Stephen Vogt was called for the infraction twice Friday night with Reddick hitting. Josh Phegley was behind the plate Sunday.

Bullpen report

Any thoughts of an A’s ninth-inning comeback were dashed when Frankie Montas served up a three-run homer to Marwin Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth. Oakland’s bullpen has surrendered 16 runs in 15 2/3 innings against the Astros this season for a 9.19 ERA.

At the plate

The A’s offense got cranking too little too late. Trailing 4-0 in the eighth, Adam Rosales singled and eventually came around to score on Ryon Healy’s two-out single. Rosales aided the rally with a steal of second base, which snapped a string of eight games without a stolen base for Oakland. They’re expecting to welcome Rajai Davis back from the disabled list Tuesday, and his speed is certainly needed with the offense scuffling. Down 7-1 in the ninth, Josh Phegley doubled and scored on Chad Pinder’s single. The A’s loaded the bases with two outs, prompting Astros manager A.J. Hinch to call on closer Ken Giles to retire Yonder Alonso for the final out.

In the field

Phegley’s catchers’ interference call went down as the game’s only error.

Attendance

The turnout was 34,880.

Up next

The A’s wrap this nine-game road trip with three at Minnesota. They went 4-2 against the Twins last year. Sonny Gray will make his first start of the season in Tuesday’s 5:10 opener, opposed by Ervin Santana (4-0, 0.77). Wednesday — Kendall Graveman (2-1, 2.25) vs. lefty Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.43), 5:10 p.m. Thursday — Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06), 10:10 a.m.

Giants DFA RHP Neil Ramirez, call up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A

Giants DFA RHP Neil Ramirez, call up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A

The Giants designated right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez Sunday and purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Bryan Morris from Triple-A in a corresponding move, the team announced.  

Ramirez appeared in nine games for the Giants this season. In 10.1 innings pitched, he went 0-0 with a 13.06 ERA. 

Morris has spent time with both the San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats this season. Between the two levels, Morris is 1-0 with 0.00 ERA in five games. 

The 30-year-old fractured his right foot in spring training during a live batting practice drill. Over five years in the majors, Morris is 18-12 with a 2.80 ERA.