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WCC Baseball Recaps - 5/7

May 7, 2006

Pepperdine - 10
Gonzaga - 4

Spokane, Wash. - Senior right hander James Johnson struck out a career-high nine batters in 8.2 innings and No. 21 Pepperdine collected a season-high tying 16 hits as the Waves registered a series-clinching 10-4 victory over Gonzaga in the finale of a three-game West Coast Conference (WCC) series Sunday afternoon at Avista Stadium.

The win enabled Pepperdine (33-17, 12-6) to remain in a first-place tie with San Francisco (32-19, 12-6), which completed a three-game sweep of Saint Mary's with a 7-6 victory on Sunday.

Both the Waves and Dons have three conference games remaining as they close out WCC play next weekend. Pepperdine travels to Saint Mary's while San Francisco hosts Loyola Marymount. The Dons hold the tie-breaker over the Waves for the right to host the WCC Championship Series should both teams tie for first place by virtue of their series win over Pepperdine earlier in the year.

San Diego (30-20, 11-7) is one game behind Pepperdine and San Francisco and concludes WCC play next weekend at home against Gonzaga. Loyola Marymount (21-27, 8-7) is still in contention to earn a berth in the WCC Championship Series as the Lions have six conference games remaining. Following next weekend's series at San Francisco, LMU closes WCC play at Portland in two weeks.

For the second time this season, Johnson (5-1) came within an out of a complete game before needing relief help from sophomore Brian Ozols, who recorded the final out. Johnson was working on a three-hit shutout entering the ninth before allowing six hits and four runs in the inning.

The senior right hander received plenty of run support as Pepperdine broke open a 1-0 game with a five-run fourth inning sending nine batters to the plate against Bulldogs starter Jay Bryner (0-1) and reliever Brandon Harmon.

Sophomore Donald Brown had the big hit of the inning as he singled to left-center field to drive in two runs and give Pepperdine a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Matt Aidem also had an RBI single in the inning. The Waves added two more runs in the fifth and scored twice in the seventh inning to take a 10-0 lead.

For the fifth time this season and second game in a row, the Waves hammered out a season-high tying 16 hits. It also marked the eighth straight game that Pepperdine has reached double-digits in hits.

Senior David Uribes, sophomore Adrian Ortiz, senior Nick Kliebert, sophomore Danny Worth, freshman Chase d'Arnaud and Brown all had two hits apiece for the Waves.

Pepperdine returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts UC Riverside in a non-conference game at Eddy D. Field Stadium beginning at 3 p.m.

San Diego - 4
Santa Clara - 1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A four-run eighth inning rally lifted the University of San Diego baseball team to a 4-1 come-from-behind West Coast Conference win against visiting Santa Clara University Sunday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium to give USD a three-game sweep of the Broncos.

For the third consecutive day, the Toreros found themselves in a one-run hole heading into the late innings, as USD trailed SCU 1-0 heading into the bottom eighth inning. USD, like the previous two days, did not panic and were able to explode for four runs in the eighth on four hits to lift them to victory. Justin Snyder got things rolling with his stand-up double to right center field. USD then registered back-to-back ground rule doubles by Steve Singleton and Keoni Ruth to give USD a 2-1 lead. After Jordan Abruzzo walked, SCU changed pitchers and walked the very next batter, Ryan Lilly. With the bases loaded and one out, the SCU relief pitcher threw a wild pitch which pushed across the third Torero run of the inning. Kevin Hansen then pushed across the final run of the inning on a single to the shortstop to put the game at its final of 4-1.

Freshman hurler Josh Romanski (4-4) picked up his third win of the week for the Toreros, as he came into the game in relief of Anthony Slama in the eighth inning to shut down the Broncos bats not allowing a single SCU batter to register a hit or walk, as he retired all four batters he faced in 1.1 innings of work.

With the win, the Toreros improve to 30-20 overall and move to 11-7 in the WCC which places them in sole possession of second place, one game back of both Pepperdine University and the University of San Francisco, and two games ahead of Saint Mary's College. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 26-22 overall and 7-11 in the WCC.

The Broncos broke into the scoring column first as they were able to register one run on two hits in the top of the eighth inning. Santa Clara's run came when Michael Lange hit a run-scoring double to left field to score Eric Newton, who had singled, to give SCU a brief 1-0 lead.

Offensively for the Toreros, Singleton led the way going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one double in the game.

The Broncos second pitcher on the day, Justin Kuehn (2-6), was charged with the loss allowing four runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work.

The Toreros will look to extend their current five-game winning streak on Tuesday as they travel to play Cal State Northridge. USD will then conclude their conference portion of the season at Cunningham Stadium this upcoming weekend as they play host to the Bulldogs of Gonzaga University in what will be a pivotal WCC series for the Toreros.

San Francisco - 7
Saint Mary's - 6

Moraga, CA - USF earned the West Coast Conference series sweep over Bay Area rival Saint Mary's with a 7-6 win at Louis Guisto Field on Sunday afternoon. With the win over the Gaels (24-20, 9-8 WCC), the Dons (32-19, 12-6 WCC) remain in a first place tie with Pepperdine.

SMC took an early lead, plating one in the second and three in the fourth. With the bases loaded, senior first baseman Orben Frederick hit a single up the middle, scoring two and senior center fielder Sam Carter singled in the third run of the inning.

USF scored one in the fourth on junior outfielder Scott Cousins RBI single and took the lead in the sixth. After freshman infielder George Lujan reached on an error and moved to second on sophomore third baseman Joey Railey's single, senior shortstop Andrew Smith singled to right. Both Lujan and Railey scored on the play. Smith scored on Cousins groundout to shortstop and the final run of the inning came on senior right fielder Stefan Gartrell's second homer of the series.

The Gaels tied it in the seventh, but the Dons regained the lead in the eighth when Cousins reached base on a bunt single and advanced to second on an error. Gartrell singled him in, earning his second RBI of the game and 56th of the season. He now holds third place in the Dons record books for runs batted in with 125. Arnie Sambel (1987-90) is in second with 152.

USF added an insurance run in the ninth, which would prove beneficial as the Gaels scored a run of their own in the bottom of the frame.

Sophomore right-hander Brian Anderson (5-0) got the win in relief, throwing 1.2 innings allowing one run on three hits and striking out two Gaels. Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan earned his fourth save of the season, striking out both batters he faced in the ninth. McGuigan earned saves in all three games versus the Gaels.

Senior Ian Farmer (1-10) took the loss for Saint Mary's allowing six runs (four earned) on ten hits, three walks and had three strikeouts in seven innings of work. Senior right fielder Preston Young homered and sophomore catcher Ian Gordon stroked two doubles for the Gaels.

USF returns to WCC action next Friday, May 12 at Benedetti Diamond versus Loyola Marymout. First pitch is set for 3:00 PM.