DURHAM, N.C. -- California junior second baseman Tony Renda, who as a sophomore was the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year and helped the Golden Bears to the College World Series, has been selected for another preseason honor. Renda - who was tabbed as a first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America and a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers -- has now been picked as one of 50 athletes on USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Watch list as the nation's top amateur baseball player.
Last season, Renda was instrumental in Cal enjoying its best season in 31 years, culminating in a fifth-place finish at the 2011 College World Series. He became only the fourth player in Cal baseball history to earn conference player of the year honors, and was a member of the Houston Regional All-Tournament Team. Renda finished the 2011 campaign 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. He also led the Pac-10 with 88 hits and was third in the conference with 115 total bases.
Following the release of a second, 60-player watch list on Tuesday, May 1, USA Baseball officials will announce the 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 29. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.
Fan voting also will be a part of the Golden Spikes Award. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist on Tuesday, May 29 on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of the selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of 30 names. On Tuesday, June 5, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day. The award winner will be announced in New York during MLB All-Star Week (July 9-13). Renda is one of nine players from the Pac-12 to be on the Golden Spikes Award Watch list.
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, capped by Devon Rodriguez's game-winning two-run single. Cal then 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 Friday, Feb. 17 (1:30 p.m.) and Sunday, Feb. 19 (1 p.m.) at Evans Diamond, while traveling to Stockton Feb. 18 for a 1 p.m. game at Klein Family Field.