BERKELEY -- The California baseball team is headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and on Monday, the Bears' first recruit to commit following the restoration of the program in June of 2011 -- senior first baseman Chris Paul -- spoke with BearTerritory following the team's return to Berkeley.
Coming into this season, Paul was a shortstop, with a career batting average of .236, but with the graduation of Devon Rodriguez, Paul found himself with another role. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder out of Aliso Viejo (Calif.) Laguna Beach was tasked with playing first base, steading an infield composed of sophomore third baseman Lucas Erceg, true freshman shortstop Preston GrandPre and sophomore second baseman Robbie Tenerowicz, and he's done quite a job, posting a fielding percentage of .994, with 25 assists.
[BACK FROM THE BRINK: Cal Back on National Stage After Resurrection]
Paul has also fulfilled the promise that prompted UC Santa Barbara head coach Andy Checketts to remark, upon releasing him from his Letter of Intent, that he'd just lost an All-American. At the dish, Paul is hitting .326, and ranks third in the Pac-12 with a .549 slugging percentage, seventh in the league with 42 RBIs and fourth with 8 home runs.
Paul and the Bears (34-19) enter the College Station, Tex., Regional as the No. 3 seed, and will square off with No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina at 10 a.m., Pacific (noon local), on Friday, May 29, televised on ESPNU at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.