For Commit Wolger, Cal is a Family Matter

Big lefty Jack Wolger talks about his commitment to Cal, and what he's learned from his uncle, who still holds a single-season record ...

Despite the fact that California pitching coach Mike Neu took the head coaching gig at nearby Pacific, the Golden Bears’ latest pitching commit -- Jack Wolger, who pledged to the Bears on July 5 – remains committed, according to sources, after having spoken with new pitching coach Thomas Eager, who, though he has yet to be officially announced, has assumed his duties, which naturally include shoring up the 2016 commits.

The big lefty had more going into his commitment, though, than a coach, although initially Neu was a big part of his pledge. The underpinnings of that commitment were in his veins. Blue and gold run in the family.

The Carmichael (Calif.) Jesuit hurler’s uncle -- Mike Wolger -- still holds the single-season batting record at Cal (.432 in 1995), and spent two years at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to Berkeley for the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

“He went to UCSB for two years, and then he transferred to Cal, because he liked coach [Bob] Milano,” Wolger says of his uncle. “He really enjoyed that. He really liked him as a coach, and that was a big reason why he transferred there. There were a few road trip stories that he told me, the ones they went on.”

Of course, his uncle Mike wasn’t the only influence on Wolger.

“I had a teammate this year – Tanner Dodson – and we’re pretty good friends. He always talked about it, and how much he’s enjoyed it, and my uncle, as well, talked about how much he enjoyed it,” Wolger says of the 2015 signee who eschewed a 31st-round pick by the New York Mets in the MLB Draft to stay true to his Cal National Letter of Intent. “When I actually went down and checked it out, I saw for myself, and I loved it there. It felt pretty good.”

Wolger tripped out to Berkeley at the end of May. By the end of June, the Bears had offered. It took him about a week before he decided he wanted to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

“He was pretty happy that I’m going to the school that he went to. He knows what it’s about, and everything to do there,” Wolger says.

At 6-foot-4, 195, Wolger already throws an 84-86 four-seam fastball, and is said to have more velocity in him than he’s shown so far, and a very projectable frame. He also features a two-seam fastball, change up, slider and curve. His best secondary pitch is his change up, which tumbles down and in to lefties.

“There’s a lot I need to improve on. I don’t think there’s anything that I don’t need to improve on,” says Wolger, who won’t take his foot off the gas now that he’s committed.

“It makes me work harder now, since everyone’s gunning for me, I guess you could say,” Wolger says. “It’s a lot less stress about thinking where I’m going to go, but I’m still not going to not work. I’m going to keep working and do what I have to do.”

Academically, Wolger has a 3.9 GPA. Before he committed to the Bears, Wolger had offers from UC Santa Barbara and Sacramento State, while Long Beach State was close to offering (wanting to see him one more time), Cal State Northridge had expressed interest and Loyola Marymount was also in communication.


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