May 2011 Archives

One Game Will Decide 2011 WCC Champion

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Well, it all comes down to this.  20 of 21 West Coast Conference games have been played, and San Francisco and Gonzaga sit atop the WCC standings - each with a 15-5 mark.  The WCC is unique in Division I baseball, as one of just three of the 31 DI conferences not to have a post-season tournament.  In the WCC, the regular season means everything. 


Through the first 20 conference games, the Dons and Bulldogs are neck-and-neck.  It just so happens - by luck, honest - that the two teams are going head-to-head this weekend at Gonzaga's Patterson Baseball Complex.  San Francisco struck first in the three-game series, knocking off the Zags by a 4-2 score on a chilly Friday night.


A USF victory on Saturday would give the Dons the WCC title and the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.  The weather was warmer - but not hot (it is Spokane, after all), and the Dons came out strong against Gonzaga freshman Marco Gonzales.  USF put a three-spot on the board in the top of the second, taking a three-nothing lead before most of the spirited crowd had settled in. 

San Francisco built a 4-2 lead into the seventh, despite a strong effort from Gonzales - who had been the Bulldogs' number three starter, but was moved up to pitch in this elimination game. 


In the bottom of the seventh, the Zags bats came to life.  Gonzaga ripped seven consecutive hits and scored five runs to storm ahead, 7-4.  But the Dons weren't done.  Gonzales was removed after pitching 8.2 innings, and throwing over 130 pitches.  USF scratched across a run off Gonzaga closer Cody Martin, but Martin shut the door, and the Bulldogs evened the series with a 7-5 triumph. 


"They're a resilient bunch," said Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf of San Francisco's ninth inning rally.  "We knew they weren't going away, and we know tomorrow's going to be a hard fought-game."


But what about Machtolf's squad?  Gonzales, the freshman, struck out a career-high 12 en route to his WCC-best 11th victory of the season.  The Bulldogs were down 4-2 with just nine outs left in their season, for all intents and purposes.  "Well," Machtolf smiled, "we're a pretty tough group, too.  There's no quit in this dugout, that's for sure." 


With that, Sunday's game is for all the so-called marbles.  Win or go home.  All of those clichés.  The winner of the game moves on to represent the West Coast Conference on the national stage next week.  Both teams have won 30+ games.  Both teams rank at the top of the league leaders in pitching and offense.  Both games in this series have been decided by two runs.


Sunday's forecast is gorgeous.  One game, winner-take-all?  That's pretty fantastic, too.  You see, in the WCC, the regular season means everything.


Should be a fun day at the ol' ballpark...


Questions?  Comments?  As always, I welcome your feedback.  Please contact me via the link below.


Director of Communications and New Media
West Coast Conference

We survived. Three Championships in 12 days, and every one of them a HUGE success. The competition was great---from golf to tennis to rowing. There was no shortage of excitement at any event, and the undeniable commitment of our student-athletes to their sport was amazing.


As always, our coaches and student-athletes competed at a high level, hoping to attain the coveted title of conference champion. But apart from the competition, what made those 12 days worth the lack of sleep, long hours, overload of deli sandwiches, and sunburn/windburn was the spirit of our membership.


At every one of our spring championships this year, there was something more than just a tournament. There was a spirit of giving back...and at each championship site, no matter how far from each team's campus, coaches and student-athletes throughout the conference demonstrated that coming together and working collectively towards a great cause achieves great results.


Below is how our coaches and student-athletes participated in community service at their respective championships, proving their commitment to others and truly representing the West Coast Conference.


GOLF: Coaches and student-athletes rallied together to donate over 300 golf clubs to The First Tee chapter of San Francisco, a national non-profit dedicated to providing youth of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values through their participation in the game of golf.


TENNIS: Players and coaches hosted the inaugural WCC Youth Tennis Festival, in partnership with Harper for Kids, an hour-long event on the day before the championship that was open to all kids from the San Diego area. Players and coaches taught kids about principles from Coach Wooden's "Pyramid of Success," such as hard work and cooperation, through interactive activities and exercises.


ROWING: Student-athletes from each competing institution partnered with local second-graders from Empire Oaks Elementary to culminate the first ever WCC Rowing Youth Day. Kids learned about the positives of rowing and fitness and had one-on-one lessons on how to use ergs for the first time.


To read more about these events or to watch WCCTV video recaps of the spring championships and the WCC's community service initiatives, make sure to visit WCCsports.com.

Stef Ordoveza

Associate Director, Marketing & Communications