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Sports shorts

Saturday April 13, 2002

Cal hoops signs big man Benson 


Cal basketball coach Ben Braun added some height to offset a rash of defections from his team on Friday, as forward Rod Benson signed a letter of intent to play for the Bears next season. 

Benson, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound power forward who propelled San Diego’s Torrey Pines High School to a 25-4 record and CIF sectional semifinal playoff appearance last season, signed on the dotted line after a late recruiting push by Braun. Braun has lost freshman forward Jamal Sampson to the NBA Draft and sophomore center Gabriel Hughes to a transfer since the end of the season. 

Benson, named first team All-Palomar League and second team All-CIF San Diego Section, averaged 14 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.8 blocks as a senior at Torrey Pines. Recruited by such national programs as UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Villanova and Pepperdine, the 17-year-old big man was rated as the No. 3 center on the West Coast by  

“We are really excited about Rod’s potential,” said Braun. “He has got some great intangibles-he is athletic, quick and very well coached-and brings a lot of positive qualities to our program. “Rod should have an excellent opportunity to contribute next year. He is also a very fine student.”  

In other recruiting news, Braun also announced today that Alabama’s 6-foot-7 forward Kennedy Winston would not attend Al. Citing family health reasons, the coach said that Cal has granted Winston’s request to release him from his signed national letter-of-intent.  

“It was important to respect the wishes of Kennedy and his family,” said Braun. “We wish him well and hope that he enjoys his college experience wherever he enrolls.”  


Golden Bears fall to Arizona 

The Cal baseball team lost to visiting Arizona, 8-4, Friday at Evans Diamond. The Bears fall to 22-17 and 5-5 in the conference. Arizona improves to 23-14 and 4-6 in the Pac-10.  

Cal struggled pretty much the entire game, falling behind 3-0 and only getting one hit through the first five innings. The Wildcats scored three runs off of Bear starter Trevor Hutchinson (7-4, eight hits, three runs, two walks, four strikeouts), a run off of reliever Travis Talbott in the eighth inning and four unearned runs off of reliever Jesse Ingram in the top of the ninth inning.  

However, Cal had a golden opportunity to get back into the game after scoring two runs in the seventh inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by junior catcher John Baker and freshman third baseman David Nicholson to make the score 4-2. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Bears had the bases loaded with no outs against Arizona reliever Wes Zlotoff. Zlotoff was able to get David Weiner to pop-up to first base, before center fielder Brian Anderson came in to pitch to Cal’s top hitter, Conor Jackson. With a full count, Anderson almost hit Jackson, and Jackson accidentally dribble to ball down the first base line for a pitcher to catcher to first double play to end the inning.  

Down 8-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Bears got within 8-4 on a two-run double by Brian Horwitz.  

Arizona’s winning pitcher was starter Sean Rierson (6-2, 7.0 innings, five hits, two runs, no walks, three strikeouts) and Anderson picked up his third save of the season (1.7 innings, four hits, two runs, two strikeouts).  

Anderson, John Hardy, Ken Riley and Justyn St. Clair had two hits apiece for the Wildcats, whose 13 hits on the day were all singles. Ben Conley, Carson White, Baker, Nicholson and Jeff Dragicevich had two hits apiece for the Bears.  

Cal will face Arizona in the second game of the three-game conference series Saturday at 1 p.m. at Evans Diamond.  


Women’s tennis drops another match  

The Cal women’s tennis team dropped its third Pac-10 match in four tries Friday, losing a 4-3 heartbreaker to the higher-ranked Arizona State squad at Hellman Tennis Center in Berkeley. With the loss, the 15th-ranked Bears drop to 11-7 (1-3 Pac-10), while the No. 9 Sun Devils improve to 13-5 (3-2).  

After being swept in doubles, Cal gave Arizona State a run for its money in the latter half of the afternoon. No. 73 Catherine Lynch got her first crack at the top singles court this afternoon, challenging the nation’s 20th-ranked Adria Engel. 

Engel ultimately got the best of Lynch, however, losing 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.  

Jieun Jacobs scored the first point for the Bears in her return from illness, sweeping Cindy Sureephong off of court four, 6-1, 6-3. Jody Scheldt followed with an impressive 7-6, 6-3 win over Lauren Colallio. After the Sun Devils wrapped up their match-clinching fourth point, team captain Christina Fusano hunkered down to put an end to Mhairi Brown’s rally at the third spot, taking a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win.  

Cal completes its 2002 regular season home slate at noon Saturday at Hellman, taking on the visiting Arizona Wildcat squad.  


Cal’s Joyce wins hammer at Brutus  


Cal senior Jennifer Joyce threw a season-best 206-0 to win the hammer competition on the first of two days of the Brutus Hamilton Memorial Invitational Friday at Edwards Stadium.  

Joyce’s best throw of the day came on her final throw of the afternoon and was only three inches shy of her school record of 206-3. She has now won the hammer in five of Cal’s six meets this season and posted a second-place finish at the Stanford Invitational. Stanford’s Jessica Pluth was Joyce’s nearest challenger at 182-6. Also for the Cal women, junior Sheni Russell took fifth with a mark of 172-2, and Tammy d’Artenay placed seventh with a PR of 154-9.