Feb. 29, 2008


Around the Bases

Bears batter Bulldogs

By Chris Hadorn

After spotting Fresno State three runs in the top of the first, California battled back with an offensive fury to win 14-4 at Cunningham Stadium on the University of San Diego campus on Thursday afternoon.

The Golden Bears took the first game of the University of San Diego Tournament, improving their record to 3-0-1.

“They are a regional team,”  California head coach David Esquer said. “We beat a team that’s going to be in the playoffs, and that’s big for us.” 

The Bulldogs pitching staff allowed 30 batters to reach base: 16 by hit, 11 by walk and three by hit batsmen. The loss dropped Fresno to 2-3.

Golden Bears first baseman David Cooper (pictured right, photo by Chris Hadorn) highlighted the barrage by going 2 for 3 with four runs and an opposite-field two-run homer off southpaw Justin Wilson in the third – his fourth in as many games. Through four contests, the 2007 first team All-Pac-10 standout is hitting .462 (6 for 13) with 13 RBI. Cooper, on both the Golden Spikes and Wallace Watch list, has jumped out of the gates as one of the early favorites for both awards with his torrid hitting.

“I don’t necessarily feel like he’s on fire,” Esquer said. “He’s just doing what he does in the real games. We see that all the time.” 

Fresno State started the game on a roll as its first five batters reach base against Chris Petrini. Steve Susdorf, the 2007 All-WAC left-fielder, drove in Erik Wetzel from second on a RBI double to left-center. Clean-up hitter Alan Ahmady followed with a two-run single to right to score Todd Sandell and Susdorf to make it 3-0. Petrini hit the next batter, Tommy Mendonca, and eventually loaded the bases before getting out of the inning with no further damage.

Petrini, a sophomore southpaw, wound up pitching 6.2 innings and allowed only one more run. He finished with four earned runs, four hits, five walks and three strikeouts.

“Game 1 of a four-game series, you don’t need to be taking out your starter in the first inning,” Esquer said. “I’m glad he settled down, got us into sixth.  Big for us, big for our pitching staff.”

The Golden Bears responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first off Wilson. Josh Satin and Dylan Tonneson had RBI singles to make it 3-2. Cal took the lead at 4-3 on Cooper’s blast in the bottom of the third. Wilson surrendered five earned runs, nine hits and three walks in 4.1 innings. 

California added on in the fifth, with Tonneson swiping home on a double steal. With the Bears leading 6-4 entering the sixth, the wheels came off for the Bulldogs. After getting the first two outs, Fresno allowed five runs on two hits, four walks and two hit batter. Ten hitters came up to bat as head coach Mike Batesole used four pitchers in the frame. Leading 11-4 after six, the Bears tagged on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead.

In addition to Cooper‘s efforts, Jeff Kobernus (3 for 6), Blake Smith (2 for 4), Satin (3 for 4) and Tonneson (3 for 3)  enjoyed multi-hit games for Cal. Smith led the Bears with three RBI and Satin contributed three runs.