Former Cal pitcher Erik Johnson set to make MLB debut tonight

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Most Berkeley students harbor dreams of reaching the pinnacle of their profession. For one former Bear, his moment arrives tonight.

Erik Johnson, who most recently pitched for Cal during their miracle run to the College World Series in 2011, is set to make his major league debut for the Chicago White Sox at 4:05 pm Pacific Standard Time. Johnson will receive the start for the Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York.

As a junior in 2011, Johnson was the Bears’ ace, compiling a 7-4 record with a 2.83 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 105 innings. After his outstanding junior season, Johnson opted for the draft, where he was drafted by the White Sox as the 80th overall pick.

Johnson wasn’t a highly touted prospect when he first entered the minors. But he quickly rose through the Chicago system, posting above-average strikeout rates and minuscule ERAs. After Fangraphs.com named him the 3rd best prospect in the White Sox system at the start of the 2013, Johnson broke out in a big way, hurling a 1.96 ERA over 24 starts in both AA and AAA.

On September 2, Johnson received the call he almost certainly dreamt about his entire life. Tonight, his dream will become reality in one of the most iconic settings in the sport.

Contact Michael Rosen at [email protected].