Tue May 08 09:29pm EDT
On Wednesday afternoon at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, second-year starter Tyson Ross will take the hill for the Athletics against his former teammate -- Toronto Blue Jays righty Brandon Morrow.
[Read more from BearTerritory.net: Ross, Boesch Reunite in Big Leagues]
Ross was selected with the 57th overall pick in the 2008 Major League First-Year Player Draft by his hometown club, while Morrow became the highest Bear ever picked in the yearly draft when he was taken fifth overall by the Seattle Mariners in 2006.
After an up-and-down career with the Mariners, spending time as both a starter and a closer, Morrow was dealt to the Blue Jays on Dec. 22, 2009.
Both former Bears aces shot through the minors on their way to the big leagues, with Ross making the Opening Day roster for the Athletics in 2010 -- just two years after donning the blue and gold -- while Morrow made the Mariners out of spring training in 2007 -- less than one year after he pitched his last college game.
[Read more from BearTerritory.net: Ross Makes Oakland Homecoming]
Adding to the Cal theme of Wednesday's game is the manager of the Athletics -- former Cal catcher Bob Melvin. A former college teammate of Ross's -- first baseman David Cooper -- is playing for the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
It won't just be the Bears that are well-represented at the Coliseum on Wednesday, but the rest of the Pac-12. In the dugout for the A's will be former USC pitchers Tommy Milone and Ryan Cook, Arizona State's Eric Sogard and former Stanford outfielder Michael Taylor. Across the diamond, the Blue Jays have UCLA's Casey Janssen and Ben Francisco.
Morrow was named first-team All-Pac-10 as a junior, going 7-4 with a 2.05 ERA and 97 strikeouts. During his career in Berkeley, Morrow developed from an explosive yet erratic reliever into a dependable starter, finishing up with 140 strikeouts in 151.1 innings and an 8-8 record over three seasons.
Ross was the Sunday starter during Morrow's junior season, and worked his way into the Friday role by the time he was finished, notching a 19-14 career record in 44 starts with a 3.20 ERA over 279.0 innings of work. Ross tossed two complete games for the Bears with 271 strikeouts to just 113 walks.