Then the Bears put a smile on his face with a 7-3 triumph against Texas A&M in an elimination game at the 2011 College World Series.
"Well, the whole day's been amazing," Esquer said. "You can't be a good coach without good players. … It's been a really, really gratifying and humbling to have both in one day."
Esquer has guided Cal to a 38-22 record this season and Tuesday's victory was the program's first at the CWS since 1981.
Texas messed with
Texas A&M was the second team bounced from the CWS this season, but the Aggies won't head back to Texas alone.
On Monday, A&M's in-state rival, the Texas Longhorns, lost their second game of the series to become the first team eliminated.
The ouster of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-champions marked the first time the first two teams knocked out in Omaha were from the same league since the SEC's Georgia and Arkansas went 0-2 in 2004.
The last time the first two teams bumped out were from the same state was 2006 when Georgia and Georgia Tech were 0-2.
"This doesn't determine the strength of any conference, I don't believe," Aggies third baseman Adam Smith said. "We didn't play our best baseball here in Omaha, unfortunately. We know what we're capable of. We know how we play."
- Cal won its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament elimination game, three of those against Big 12 foes (two against Baylor in the regional round).
- A&M right fielder Tyler Naquin singled in the ninth inning, his 104th hit this season. That's the fourth highest total in program history and is the most in the country this season.
- Bears pitchers have issued only two walks in the last 15 innings after giving up five free passes in the first three frames vs. Virginia in the CWS opener. Cal's staff has allowed runs in only four of 17 innings and never more than two.
- A&M pitcher Michael Wacha was roughed up for seven runs in 6.2 innings Tuesday. Coming in he had allowed only seven runs total in his five previous starts with an 0.89 in three previous NCAA Tournament starts.