May 6, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The month of April brought a close to regular season play in both men's and women's tennis and men's and women's golf, while the baseball season continues through the end of May. All sports had stellar performances from individuals on teams all across the conference.
Below are the players that were selected as April's WCC Players of the Month:
Chris Dennis, Portland, RHP
Junior RHP Chris Dennis picked up six saves, went 2-0, struck out 14 in 13.0 innings, posted an ERA of 2.08 and held opposing hitters to a .208 average as the Pilots went 13-3 overall during the month and 11-1 in the West Coast Conference. Dennis also became Portland's all-time career saves leader and set a new mark for most saves in a single season. He had one stretch (April 20-25) where he saved four straight Portland wins as the Pilots won at Washington, ending an eight-game losing streak to the Huskies, and swept a three-game series at Pepperdine, where UP was previously 1-31 all-time. During the same week, he tied, then broke both the UP single-season and career saves records.
Dennis was named the WCC's Co-Pitcher of the Week (April 25) and College Baseball Insider's Regional Pitcher of the Week following his four saves in four games performance. He picked up his 10th save of the season during 8-6 win at Pepperdine on April 23 to set the new single-season mark, which had stood since 1987. Two games later, he registered his 12th save of the season and of his career during the 5-2 win at Pepperdine on April 24, becoming the all-time saves leader at Portland. Dennis ended the month tied for the second most saves in the country with 12, helped Portland register the fifth 30-win season in program history, and end the month riding an 10-game winning streak.
Kyle Blair, San Diego, RHP
Junior right-hander Kyle Blair has been lights out on the mound for the Toreros in April, as he posted a 4-1 record, 4-0 in the WCC, with an ERA of 1.99, while leading the team in strikeouts with 37. Blair had one of his most impressive performances of the month in a win against Gonzaga. After a rocky start to his outing, surrendering three unearned runs in the first two innings, Blair settled down and held the Gonzaga bats at bay. After surrendering a lead-off double in the top of the third inning, Blair settled down and proceeded to retire his next 15 batters, eight via the strikeout, over the next four innings before Mark Castellitto broke that streak with a single in the top of the eighth inning. Blair (5-3) picked up the win on the mound as he allowed four runs, one earned, while scattering six hits over 7.2 innings of work. Blair also looked impressive in the win over San Francisco this past weekend, as he turned in yet another dominating performance allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out eight in 8.0 innings of work.
C.J. Cullen, Portland, 1B
C.J. Cullen hit .429 (27-for-63) with a 17 RBI's, 18 runs scored, a homer, a triple and two doubles as the Pilots went 13-3 overall and 11-1 in the WCC. He also tallied a team-high .473 on-base percentage during the month. Cullen was UP's most clutch hitter as he hit .529 with runners in scoring position, batted .444 with two outs and eight of his 17 RBI's came with two outs. He also had two four-hit games, three three-hit games, and one game with four RBI's.
Cullen only committed one error in 155 chances for an impressive fielding percentage of .994 and was named the WCC's Co-Player of the Week (April 26) after the Pilots ended and eight-game losing streak to Washington and swept a three-game series at Pepperdine, where Portland was previously 1-31 all-time. Cullen recorded a .625 (10-for-16) against the Huskies and Waves and had a home run, a triple, six RBI's and four runs, was 4-for-5 with a double and four runs during 13-12 win over LMU at home on April 18, was 3-for-4 at UW, knocked in a run and scored twice, while falling a double shy of hitting for the cycle, and went 4-for-4 with two RBI's and a run during 8-4 win at Pepperdine on April 24.
James Meador, San Diego, OF
Senior outfielder James Meador has helped lead USD to a program-record 12-0 start in conference games, (10-0 in April), after leading the Toreros offense going 22-for-55 (.400) with seven doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI. Meador had his most productive week between April 19-25, as he went 10-for-17 (.769) with a double, two home runs and 10 RBI, en route to a WCC Player of the Week award. Meador had his most productive game in a win over Gonzaga on April 24, as he went 4-for-5 with four RBI and one home run. For the month, USD posted an impressive 10-4 overall record and climbed back into the top-25, while leading the WCC standings fro the get-go.
MEN'S TENNIS SINGLES
Bassam Beidas, Pepperdine
Senior Bassam Beidas went a perfect 8-0 in singles at the No. 1 singles position for the Waves in April and moved up to No. 32 in the ITA national rankings. He went 4-0 against WCC competition, including 2-0 at the WCC Championships as the Waves won the league title. His best win came against UCLA and its player ranked No. 43 in the country. Beidas only lost one set the entire month.
MEN'S TENNIS DOUBLES
Hugh Clarke/Finn Tearney, Pepperdine
Pepperdine's No. 2 doubles team of Hugh Clarke and Finn Tearney went a perfect 8-0 in April. They went 4-0 against WCC competition, including three wins at the WCC Championships as the Waves won the league title. Their best win came against the No. 76-ranked team from San Diego State, as well as teams from UCLA and Denver (although the doubles teams were not ranked, the schools were in the top 30).
WOMEN'S TENNIS SINGLES
Jennifer Heinser, San Francisco
Jennifer Heinser went 6-0 at the No. 1 singles spot, including three wins in the WCC Championship. She helped the Dons to a 3-3 record and a fifth place finish in the conference championships and was also named WCC Player of the Year after going undefeated in her entire career with the Dons in WCC competition.
CO-WOMEN'S TENNIS DOUBLES
Anamika Bhargava/Marie Zalameda, Pepperdine
Pepperdine's No. 1 doubles team of Anamika Bhargava and Marie Zalameda went a perfect 7-0 during the month of April and moved up to #72 in the ITA national rankings. In their only match against a ranked opponent, they defeated the #26 team from Cal Poly. They went 5-0 against WCC opponents, including a 2-0 record at the WCC Championships. The duo didn't lose more than five games in any match.
Anna Chikhikvishvili/Catherine Isip, Saint Mary's
The Saint Mary's duo of Anna Chikhikvishvili and Catherine Isip finished the month of April with a perfect 7-0 record at the No. 2 doubles position, helping the Gaels go undefeated (8-0) during the month. In the match at No. 54 Pepperdine (4/3), the pair defeated Colffer/Walters, 8-6. In matchup against No. 64 San Diego (4/10), they topped Raygada/Demidova, 8-3. and defeated Alawi/Dallara 8-4 in the upset win at No. 33 Long Beach State (4/11).
In the opening round of WCC Championships, the duo made quick work of Nixon/Morgan of LMU (4/23), 8-1 and in the WCC championship match against No. 44 Pepperdine (4/25), the duo topped Colffer/Walters for the second time this season, 8-4. Dating back to March 7, the duo is 14-1 in their last 15 matches and 4-0 against WCC opponents during the month of April.
Gunner Wiebe, San Diego
The Torero junior won both individual titles at the two golf tournaments USD competed in during the month of April. At the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, he played at Talking Stick Golf Course in Scottsdale, Arizona (April 5-6) and beat out 129 golfers to take home medalist honors with his 7-under par total of 203 (67-70-66). He finished first in birdies (13) and par-5 scoring (4.0) and was second in par-4 scoring (3.92). He followed that up two weeks later by winning the individual title at the 2010 West Coast Conference Championships (April 19-20) with his three-round even-par total of 216 (73-71-72) over the Hiddenbrooke course in Vallejo, California. Wiebe was selected to the 2010 WCC First Team., and his scoring average for the month was 69.83. As a team, the 27th-ranked Toreros placed second in both events.
Lisa McCloskey, Pepperdine
Sophomore Lisa McCloskey led Pepperdine at both April tournaments, including medalist honors at the WCC Championships. She won the league title by two strokes with a 9-over 225. She also tied for 29th at the PING/Arizona State Intercollegiate, an event that featured 38 of the nation's top 100 players. Her six-round scoring average for the month was 74.00 strokes. She moved up to #28 in the nation in both the Golfweek/Sagarin and Golfstat rankings systems.