Three Named Louisville Freshman All-Americans

Jeff Bain, Brett Cumberland and Matt Ladrech are recognized as Freshman All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball, after making huge impacts for the Bears as they surged back into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Following its exit from the NCAA Tournament on Monday, the California baseball team had three of its biggest contributors this year honored, as right-handed pitcher Jeff Bain, left-handed pitcher Matt Ladrech and catcher Brett Cumberland were named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball.

The trio become the first Bears since left-handed pitcher Kyle Porter in 2011 to earn the honor.

Bain was crucial to Cal’s early-season success, starting the first four Friday nights of the Pac-12 season, when first-team All-Pac-12 pitcher Daulton Jefferies could not start against then-No. 8 Oregon at home, then-13-7 Washington on the road, Utah on the road and Washington State at home. Bain went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA as the Bears went 3-1 over that span, going on to sweep both the Ducks and the Huskies to get off to a 6-0 start in conference play.

The 6-foot-4 hurler also came out of the bullpen for the Bears, doing so three times during the College Station Regional, throwing 5.0 innings, allowing five hits and one earned run, walking two and striking out one.

Bain finished the season with a 6-2 record and 2.52 ERA in 17 appearances, eight of which were starts. Bain pitched 64.1 innings in 2015 with 31 strikeouts to just 13 walks.

Opponents hit just .215 (allowing only 49 hits) off of Bain, which ranked fifth in the Pac-12. He allowed 21 runs, 18 of which were earned, ranking him fourth in both categories in the conference. His ERA was ninth best, while his walk total ranked him fifth. He also allowed just one home run all season; which was tied for second best in the conference behind junior teammate Ryan Mason.

Over the first 16 games of his college career, Cumberland was exceptional at the plate, hitting .313 with 13 RBIs and three home runs. While his final numbers slipped a bit –due in part to a stretch where he hit .042 over his final eight games of the regular season -- he did go 4-for-11 in the Regional as a designated hitter.

Cumberland spent much of the year behind the dish, though, and was a very capable defender. It’s at the plate, though, where the switch-hitter showed immense promise, even after the sliding batting average.

He finished the year batting .254 with seven home runs and 32 RBI in 56 appearances (55 starts), ranking third on the team in both long balls (tied for eighth in the conference) and runs driven in. His patient approach at the plate drew 33 walks, which was best on the Bears and eighth best in the Pac-12. He also led the team in hit-by-pitch, reaching base 14 times in that manner, which was third-most in the conference. Defensively behind the plate, Cumberland cut down 11 attempted base stealers and caught one of the best pitching staffs in the Pac-12, who posted a 3.03 ERA, fourth best in the conference.

The southpaw Ladrech, out of Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo, finished his 2015 campaign with a 7-4 record and 2.67 ERA. The soft-tossing lefty appeared in 16 games, all starts for the Bears, working 87.2 innings and striking out 28 opposing hitters, utilizing his defense to great effect and pitching to contact.

Ladrech started the Bears’ third game of the College Station Regional against host and eventual regional champion, Texas A&M, going 5.0 innings and allowing one run on four hits.

Ladrech ranked tied for ninth in the conference in wins, and tied for first with Mason in starts, with 16. Ladrech also tied for sixth in fewest home runs allowed; two.

Cal had its most successful season since the 2011 team reached the College World Series, finishing 2015 with a 36-21 record and tied for third place in the Pac-12. The conference placed six teams in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship field of 64; second most amongst all conferences in the country, though none advanced to the Super Regional round. Cal’s third-place finish ties for the Bears’ best conference finish since 1985.

The Bears’ 36 wins were the second most in head coach David Esquer’s 16-year tenure (38 in 2011), and second most for the program since Bob Milano’s 1991 team won 37.


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