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The preseason honors have already started to come in for the California baseball team, as junior second baseman Tony Renda and junior left-hander Justin Jones have been selected 2012 Preseason All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Renda was tabbed as a second-team preseason All-American and Jones was a third-team pick. The two players were instrumental in Cal enjoying its best season in 31 years, culminating in a fifth-place finish at the 2011 College World Series.
Renda was named 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year, only fourth player in Cal history to earn honor, and was a member of the Houston Regional All-Tournament Team. He finished last season batting .332 and a team-best .348 versus Pac-10 competition, with 14 doubles, two triples, three home runs and a team-leading 44 RBI. Renda also led the Pac-10 with 88 hits and was third in the conference with 115 total bases.
Jones was a 2011 honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection after earning Freshman All-America honors in 2010 along with Renda. In 2011, he was 9-6 with a 2.93 ERA, and had 81 strikeouts in a team-high 119.2 innings with three complete games. Jones earned one of the biggest wins in school history in a June 11 start versus Dallas Baptist at the Santa Clara Super Regional, throwing 6.0 innings with one hit, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts in a 7-0 shutout. He left prior to the seventh inning due to cramping in his left bicep, but still earned the win as the Bears won their first-ever Super Regional contest.
Cal, under the direction of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2011 National Coach of the Year David Esquer, finished the 2011 campaign 38-23 overall and advanced to NCAA postseason for the third time in the last four years.
The Bears captured the Houston Regional with a thrilling, 9-8, victory over Baylor with four runs in the bottom of the ninth, and swept through a best-of-three series with Dallas Baptist in the Super Regional, to advance to the College World Series. In the CWS, Cal dropped a close 4-1 decision to top-seeded Virginia before defeating Texas A&M, 7-3, for its first win in Omaha since 1980. The memorable season came to an end with an 8-1 loss to the Cavaliers June 23.
The Bears begin the 2012 campaign with a three-game series versus Pacific, Feb. 17-19, hosting the Tigers Feb. 17 (1:30 p.m.) and Feb. 19 (1 p.m.) at Evans Diamond, while traveling to Stockton Feb. 18 for a 1 p.m. game at Klein Family Field.