May 14, 2006
(San Francisco, CA) - With the 10-1 victory over Loyola Marymount (21-31, 8-10 WCC) on Sunday, the University of San Francisco (36-19, 15-6 WCC) earned its first ever West Coast Conference Championship. They share the title with Pepperdine, who also finished the regular season with a 15-6 conference record. The Dons were runner-up to the WCC Champ Waves in 2005.
By beating the Waves two-out-of-three in Malibu earlier this season, USF earned the tie-breaker and will host the WCC Championship Series at Benedetti Diamond on May 26-28. The winner of the series will get an automatic bid into an NCAA Regional. The games Friday and Saturday are slated for a 1:00 PM first pitch, while Sunday will be a 2:00 PM start. All games can be seen on Fox Sports Net Bay Area.
On senior night, Patrick McGuigan (11-2) made his final start of the regular season and didn't disappoint. The right-hander pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just one run and struck out three Lions. The win moves him into a first place tie on the single-season victory list with USF Hall-of-Famer Dana Hendershott (1971). With 21 career victories, McGuigan is only one away from Hendershott's (1968-71) all-time record.
Senior right fielder Stefan Gartrell added RBI number 58 to his team and WCC leading total on a three-for-five night which included his 15th double of the season. Gartrell is now third place on the career RBI chart with 127 and 10th on the career doubles chart with 35.
Senior short stop Andrew Smith was 2-for-4 on the day and recorded his first triple of the season, a shot into right field. Senior first baseman Jacob Abramson, getting his 13th start of the year, earned a walk and scored a run in the second on Smith's sacrifice fly.
USF would get the only runs they would need in the first inning. With two outs, junior left fielder Scott Cousins doubled down the right field line. Gartrell followed with an RBI double to left and scored on sophomore designated hitter Luke Sommer's double to center. The Dons would score two more in the second and three runs in both the fifth and sixth to secure the win.
Cousins had a monster day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and his team leading 20th stolen base. Junior catcher Jonathan Norfolk also had three hits on the afternoon, including his first career triple, a two-RBI shot to center in the sixth. Sophomore third baseman Joey Railey increased his team leading hits total to 74 with a single to center in the second. Sophomore infielder Mitchell Bialosky added his seventh double of the season.
USF concludes the regular season on Tuesday, May 16 at Benedetti Diamond. The Dons will host the No. 25 Hawai'i Rainbows at 3:00 PM.