The improbable dream season for the Cal baseball team will continue.
The Golden Bears are headed to the College World Series for the first time since 1992 after completing a two-game sweep of Dallas Baptist with a 6-2 win Sunday in their NCAA Super Regional at Stephen Schott Stadium in Santa Clara.
A team that battled uncertainty for most of the year as budget cuts threatened to cancel the storied program will instead head to Omaha, Neb., in pursuit of its third CWS title.
"To be here today, I could not be prouder of a bunch of kids and a staff that have gone through what we have and come out the other side," Cal coach David Esquer said. "They'll never forget this the rest of their lives."
Cal, which learned April 8 that its program would remain intact, hasn't won a national championship since 1957. The Bears also won the inaugural CWS in 1947.
"This whole year has brought us closer together and is a huge reason why we're where we are today," said Cal's Tony Renda, who went 3 for 5 with an RBI on Sunday.
"We definitely played for each other," said Cal pitcher Erik Johnson, who earned the win with six innings of two-run, three-hit ball. "Hearing about the program being cut made us stronger and made us a tighter bunch."
Action in Omaha begins Saturday, and Cal joins Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Vanderbilt in the CWS. The final two of the eight spots will be determined Monday.
Cal took an
Dallas Baptist scored its first run of the series in the top of the second. Ryan Behmanesh led off with a walk and scored on Kenny Hatcher's one-out double to make it 2-1.
Cal got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Derek Campbell singled with two outs and Booker lined a double to the right-center field gap. It deflected off the glove of Patriots' center fielder Landon Anderson, and when he recovered, he threw wildly to the infield, allowing Campbell to score on the error.
Dallas Baptist got within a run again in the third, but Cal pushed across two more in the fourth. Chad Bunting and Campbell both doubled, and Campbell scored when Renda greeted Patriots reliever Michael Smith with an RBI single.
Cal tacked on one more run on an RBI single by Krist in the sixth inning.
Kevin Miller, Kyle Porter and Matt Flemer each threw an inning of scoreless relief to secure the victory. The final out came on a liner to Campbell, a freshman second baseman, and a dogpile ensued near the mound.
"I thought about so many different ways to celebrate that last out," Flemer said. "I didn't even know if he caught it or not, so I had to wait for the glove throw. I saw he caught it and threw it as far as I could and I looked at everyone in the stands. This is all for them."