Cooper, Satin Play Long Ball as Bears Get Weekend Sweep

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The clocks leaped ahead early Sunday morning, but while the Cal baseball team may have lost an hour of sleep before its morning tilt against New Mexico, the No. 18 Bears (9-1-1) certainly didn't miss a beat.

Cal completed a three-game sweep in Minneapolis, Minn., in the University of Minnesota Tournament, defeating the Lobos 12-2 to win its sixth straight game.

"It was a tough turnaround," head coach David Esquer said. "We had a night game (Saturday) night that went fairly late, the time changed by an hour, we had to be up early and play at 11, and we didn't complain at all about it, didn't use it as a crutch."

The Dynamic Duo of senior Josh Satin and junior David Cooper went batty again on Sunday, going a combined 5-for-10 on the day with one home run and three RBI apiece in the Metrodome, home of the MLB's Minnesota Twins. The four-baggers were the sixth of the year for Cooper and the fifth for Satin.

"To do anything that (Cooper) does, you're going to be successful," Satin said. "I'm not really trying to keep up with him, I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help us, and if that means hitting as many home runs as him, then we'll be helping out."

Trying to clear the Metrodome fences during batting practice the first two days, Satin said, caused the Bears' bats to go quiet for the first two games because players were trying to see what they could do on a big league field. An 11-3 Friday win over Northern Iowa was deceptive, as it featured as many walks (seven) to Cal hitters as they had hits, and five Bears reached base the hard way-being hit by a pitch.

But by the third game of the weekend against New Mexico, Cal settled back into its offensive routine.

"(Sunday) we tried to revamp our approach and try to get hits and find a really good offensive approach, and that led to a few bombs," Satin said.

Starting pitcher Alex Rollin had his first solid outing of the season, after getting shelled in his first start of the year against Utah Valley State (three innings, six runs on five hits.) The senior right-hander tossed 5 2/3 solid innings against New Mexico, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and just one walk.

"He hadn't quite started as well as he would have liked, but today was big," Esquer said. "He really had his secondary pitches going really well You can't live on your fastball and you have to be able to create outs with your secondary pitches, and he did that today."

Rollin wasn't the only hurler who strutted his stuff this weekend for the Bears. Junior Craig Bennigson was shouldered with a lackluster offensive performance by the Cal hitters on Saturday (seven hits and five runners left on base), but that only helped the lefty to toss his second gem in as many starts.

Working close throughout the game, Bennigson stepped up and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out a career-high 10 batters in a 4-1 win over host Minnesota.

"He's kind of picked up where he left off last year for us, which is just exciting to see because he hasn't missed a beat," Esquer said. "He's finished strong and he's started strong. He's been big for us in Tyson Ross's absence."

Bears pitchers have all had to step up in the absence of junior ace Ross, who spent his second weekend off of the mound. However, Esquer expects the 6-foot-5 righty to be back on the hill this weekend for the four-game home series against Loyola Marymount.

"He'll pitch for us next weekend," Esquer said. "It's not a shoulder (injury), it's not an elbow (injury), just a little muscle strain, a little tightness. He'll do fine and we expect him to take his turn next Friday."


Contact Ryan Gorcey at [email protected]

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